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Feature Writer
Brenda Bouw is a freelance writer and editor, as well as an author and ghostwriter based in Vancouver. She has more than 20 years of experience as a business reporter, including at the Globe and Mail, Canadian Press and the Financial Post.

Training tomorrow’s workforce

Canadian colleges are beginning to prepare students for a low-carbon job market, but more work is needed.

Canada’s clean technology industry is growing at four times the rate of the overall economy, putting increasing responsibility on educators to prepare workers for the transition to a low-carbon future.

When it comes to post-secondary education, colleges in particular are poised to provide the job-training skills required for everything from water and soil testing to home energy retrofits and stakeholder engagement.

Colleges across Canada are making changes to their curriculum and adding instructors with sustainability and cleantech industry expertise to help educate the next generation of workers. Still, experts say more can and needs to be done to embed sustainability across the entire educational system to help meet both growing skills demand in the workforce and society’s expectation of more environmentally friendly organizations.

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The future of mining

The mining industry has some catching up to do.

When mining financier Robert Friedland took the stage at the World Copper Conference in Chile earlier this year, he outlined the future of mining in a way that brings hope to an industry suffering from a collapse in commodity prices and a society looking for solutions to shift to a low-carbon economy.

His presentation included a slide showing the new Tesla Model 3, said to require about 65 kilograms of copper per car, or about three times that of a conventional vehicle.

“Copper is the king of metals,” Friedland told the industry audience. When it comes to solving the world’s environmental problems, he added, “every single solution drives you to copper – solar power, wind power, electric cars, you name it.”

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Top company profile: BMW

The iconic German brand leads the Global 100 pack with strong sustainability bona fides across the board.

The auto industry hasn’t had much to boast about lately when it comes to corporate social responsibility given the steady stream of high-profile product recalls and the global outrage surrounding Volkswagen’s emissions-testing scandal.

However, one company, BMW Group, has earned some sustainability bragging rights for a wide range of measures from energy, water and waste reduction to innovation and diversity. That has propelled the German-based automaker to the top spot on Corporate Knights’ annual Global 100, an index of the most sustainable corporations in the world.

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Greenest chief executive in Canada 2015

Gordon Hicks, head of Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions, drives environmental stewardship to a new level.

When a person sees a lawn dotted with dandelions, one of two thoughts likely comes to mind: the gardener is lazy or the property owner is an environmentalist.

For Gordon Hicks, it’s definitely the latter. In fact, lawns with weeds walloped by pesticides are a peeve. It’s just a small example of why Hicks, who leads Toronto-based real estate management services company Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions, is the winner of Corporate Knights’ Greenest Chief Executive in Canada Award for 2015.

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Building resilient businesses

By Brenda Bouw
Co-operatives have proven themselves durable during tough of times. Could this business model be the key to economic growth?

From its official beginnings in the mid-1800s, the modern-day cooperative movement has been driven by groups of individuals fed up with economic and social inequality, believing they had a better way of doing business.

The co-op model, where businesses are owned and run by and for their members, was born out of both disappointment and idealism, beginning with Britain’s Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, a group of labourers who banded together in 1844 to open their own, more affordable food store and share the profits.

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