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SDG Week Canada at Telfer

Text: Sustainable Development GoalsHaving pledged to embed sustainable development goals (SDG) across research, teaching and outreach activities, the Telfer School of Management participated in its first ever SDG Week Canada by organizing and hosting numerous activities for the university community, welcoming hundreds of students, faculty and staff during the week of March 6th to 10th, 2023. Ranging from the Better Canada National Youth Forum to the How to Be a Climate Optimist keynote address, the week’s events offered something for everyone.

In March 2023, Telfer and the University of Ottawa participated in SDG Week Canada, a national collaboration organized by the Sustainability Hub at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Colleges and Institutes Canada, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Canada at the University of Waterloo. The week-long collaboration is designed to increase awareness of, and engagement with, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across post-secondary institutions in Canada. The adoption of the 17 goals by all UN Member States in 2015 sounded a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. A part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs address many of the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

Under the leadership of Telfer professors Daina Mazutis, Sharon O’Sullivan, Darlene Himick and Sandra Schillo, and in collaboration with the faculties of Common Law, Arts, and Education, the Telfer School of Management orchestrated a series of workshops, panels, and interactive programming to highlight the SDGs at uOttawa:

Better Canada Youth Forum

The inaugural Better Canada Youth Forum was a hybrid event that connected business leaders with over 100 students from more than 30 universities across Canada, to discuss how to continue building a Better Canada and a better future. Students had the opportunity to hear from leaders such Telfer Dean Stéphane Brutus, the honorable Anne McLellan, Lisa Raitt, Robert Asselin (Business Council of Canada) and Justine Hendricks (Farm Credit Canada).

The event was a precursor to the launch of the Coalition for a Better Future scorecard; with Telfer as a research partner, the Coalition has developed a scorecard to track and monitor Canada’s performance toward long-term targets. The Coalition for a Better Future’s Scorecard measures progress in key areas such as economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.

Making Business Better

Telfer students were invited to drop in over the course of the day to watch a movie. Attendees could choose from a selection of over 15 films and documentaries dealing with business ethics and sustainability, ranging from critically acclaimed art films such as Manufactured Landscapes to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. The films selected were Anthropocene, This Changes Everything, and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

“SDG week was great as it was refreshing to focus on sustainability for a whole week. It gives hope to know that others are concerned about the same important issues as you are”.

Carolina Jiminez Peña, Telfer PhD Student

Zero-Waste Campus Walking Tour

The Office of Campus Sustainability led students and staff on a zero-waste walking tour of campus. Students asked tough questions and shared ideas while learning about the campus’ reuse and recycling programs.

The Anthropocene – What does it mean for You?

Chaired by Telfer professor Daina Mazutis, this workshop featured a talk by Vincent Mirza, Director of the Research Centre on the Future of Cities and Joint Research Chair on the Urban Anthropocene, and attracted 30 graduate students from Telfer School of Management, the Faculty of Engineering and the Institute for the Environment.

Green Careers for Management Students

Five specialists formed a panel to provide advice to management students on how to pursue a green career and contribute to environmental sustainability after they graduate. More than 50 students registered for this 75-minute panel which was followed by an opportunity to converse with some of the panelists in smaller groups in breakout rooms. Telfer professor Sharon O’Sullivan was joined by Cara MacMillan (Halcyon Consulting), Perla Habchi Natural Resources Canada), Jennifer Davis (Stratos and ERM), Mike Wilson (Smart Prosperity Institute) and Doug Spencer (Telfer Career Centre).

Telfer Research Seminar

Telfer professor Michael Mulvey invited consumer researcher Annetta Grant of Bucknell to share insights on how social and cultural contexts impact consumer behaviour in the context of the Telfer Research Seminar Series. She spoke to attendees about how animal and plant species contribute to transformative experiences in nature, leading to the development of a duty of care towards wild species and the environments in which they live.

How to Be a Climate Optimist

A group of seven panelists from the event standing in front of a black curtainIn collaboration with the Faculty of Law’s Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability, Telfer hosted award-winning journalist and best-selling author Chris Turner for a conference on his latest book “How to be a climate optimist”. Over 100 participants learned from Chris’ inspirational talk, which highlighted the many game-changing innovations that already exist in our arsenal and can be used in our collective efforts to tackle climate change. From cold-weather residential heat pumps and net-zero buildings to Ford’s new electric F-150 truck and the future of renewable energy, this session inspired attendees to believe that a better future is within reach.

Learn more about how Telfer is building a Greener Canada