Edward J. Waitzer: awarded June 7, 2018

The 2018 Corporate Knights Award of Distinction belongs to Edward J. Waitzer for his seminal work advancing the legal foundations for corporate and pension fund leaders to serve the public good.

In the classroom, boardroom and court room, for almost 40 years (and counting) Ed has been at the heart of a movement to re-define the role of business as a long-term force for good, including the landmark Supreme Court of Canada BCE buyout case, which held that board directors must take into account a broad range of stakeholders beyond a company’s immediate shareholders. A former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission and LCBO, Ed currently leads the corporate governance practice at Stikeman Elliott LLP, while serving as a director of Osgoode Hall Law School and York University’s Schulich School of Business Hennick Centre for Business and Law.

The common thread at the heart of his diverse body of work can be characterized as a sustained counteroffensive against what he has termed a “compliance mentality”: following the rules, or “doing things right,” at the expense of doing the right thing. Waitzer has spent much of his legal career advocating the kind of in-depth analysis that forces boards to consider more broadly for what and to whom they are accountable, as well as whether they sufficiently take into account their multiple stakeholders’ needs over the long term.

The above biography is modified from Serving the public good by Susan Goldberg.

Adèle Hurley: awarded June 6, 2017

The 2017 Corporate Knights Award of Distinction will be presenteAdele-Hurley-196x275d to Adèle Hurley for her long career as a fearless environmental champion and for having both the grace and grit necessary to forge the consensus that beat back acid rain in North America.

Adèle Hurley is the president of Hurley & Associates Inc. From 2001 to 2016 she directed the Program on Water Issues at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. In the 1980s, during the early days of the Reagan Administration, Adèle moved to Washington and co-founded the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain. For ten years she worked on a successful campaign that brought about amendments to the U.S. Clean Air Act, as well as regulations that reduced acid rain-causing pollutants from large Canadian emitters.

In the early 1990s, she was appointed to the board of Ontario Hydro. In 1995, she was appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office to serve as Canadian co-chair of the International Joint Commission, which oversees Canada/U.S. boundary water issues under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Adèle has served as a member of the Canadian federal government’s International Trade Advisory Committee–Task Force on Environment and Trade Policy, the board of the Ontario Power Authority, and the Water Advisory Board of the Columbia Basin Trust. She is a member of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Honourable Dalton McGuinty: awarded June 7, 2016

dalton1Burning coal for power accounts for 44 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Without The Honourable Dalton McGuinty’s leadership as Ontario’s 24th Premier, the phase-out of coal in Ontario, the single largest greenhouse gas reduction measure in North America (and one which also produced significant public health benefits) would not have occurred so rapidly.

For his courage in staring down fierce opposition to ending coal and his vision to make Ontario a leader in our clean energy future, Dalton McGuinty is the recipient of the 2016 Corporate Knights Award of Distinction.


Honourable Gordon Campbell: awarded June 3, 2015

GordonCampbell1The Honourable Gordon Campbell has packed a lot of public service into his professional life. Thirty-fifth Mayor of Vancouver for seven years. Thirty-fourth Premier of British Columbia for 10 years. At 67, he has never lost a personal election – even the one that happened right after he slapped the biggest tax on carbon the western hemisphere has so far seen.

Today, B.C.’s carbon tax has become a case study to the world for how to unlock the power of markets to deliver outcomes that are better for the environment and the economy.

Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner: awarded June 4, 2014

cavoukian_optCavoukian, who is unprecedented in holding her role as Commissioner for three five-year terms, is known for holding her ground when the fight is in the public interest, whether that means protecting the personal privacy of citizens or assuring access to information that is crucial to holding governments accountable. Blocking the retroactive disclosure of private adoption records and leading an investigation into the deletion of emails relating to Ontario’s cancelled gas plants are among her long list of high-profile wins.

But Cavoukian is not just a public watchdog. She has gone beyond the call of duty by proactively engaging and educating the business community about the benefits of building privacy into products, services and operational processes at the very earliest stages of development. She calls this Privacy by Design, and its foundational principles – translated into 36 languages — have become a global standard.

Munir Sheikh, Former Chief Statistician of Canada: awarded June 6th, 2013

msheikh_optMunir Sheikh began his career as a public servant 40 years ago when he became an economist with the Economic Council of Canada. During the 1980s and 90s he was an economist at the federal Department of Finance, where he became senior assistant deputy minister in 2000. He went on to hold senior positions with Health Canada, the Privy Council Office and Human Resources Development Canada until Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed him to the prestigious position of Chief Statistician of Canada in 2008. Sheikh made national headlines in 2010, however, when he abruptly stepped down.

His resignation took place in the context of the government’s decision to no longer require mandatory participation in Canada’s long-form census. The government misrepresented his views, stating publicly that he supported its decision. He told a House of Commons committee in July 2010: “The fact that in the media and in the public there is this perception that Statistics Canada is supporting a decision that no statistician would, it really casts doubt on the integrity of that agency.” He went on to add: “I, as head of that agency, cannot survive in that job.” After his resignation, Sheikh publicly argued it was a mistake to cancel the long-form census because a voluntary survey would compromise the quality of census data.

The truth did finally emerge that the cancellation of the long form census was wholly the government’s decision. Sheikh is now a distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In recognition of his years of dedicated and principled public service, Sheikh is the 2013 Corporate Knights Award of Distinction Honouree.

Avrim Lazar, Former President and CEO, FPAC: awarded June 6th, 2012

AvrimLazar2_optAvrim Lazar received the Corporate Knights Award of Distinction for his courage, vision and relentless bridge-building to make Canada a global leader in sustainable forestry. As Canada’s chief lumberjack for the past decade, Mr. Lazar played an instrumental role reinventing our forestry industry to be at the forefront of sustainable resource management and the bio-based economy. He led the unprecedented collaboration between civil society and industry in forging the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the largest conservation agreement in the world. It has committed Canadian industry to the highest environmental standards of forest management within an area twice the size of Germany.


Right Honourable Paul Martin: awarded October 28th, 2011

Martin_1The Right Honourable Paul Martin, the former 21st Prime Minister of Canada and long-time finance minister, received the Corporate Knights Award of Distinction for his visionary leadership in opening the way for Canada’s abundant natural capital wealth to be included in our core economic measurements.

Eleven years ago, then finance Minister Paul Martin commissioned the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy to develop environmental and sustainable development indicators in collaboration with Statistics Canada. In his presentation to Parliament at the time, he noted that “as we move to more fully integrate economic and environmental policy, we must come to grips with the fact that the current means of measuring progress are inadequate.” He went on to say that “in the years ahead, these environmental indicators could well have a greater impact on public policy than any other single measure we might introduce.”

Mr. Martin’s early clarion call for natural capital wealth to be integrated into the core economic indicators used by policymakers is viewed as a fundamental precondition for sustainable development, as you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Honourable Danny Williams: awarded on June 8th, 2011

Danny_Williams_optThe Honourable Danny Williams, the popular two-term Premier of Newfoundland who retired from provincial politics in 2011, oversaw his native province transformed throughout his time in office into a much more prosperous and self-confident entity. He received theCorporate Knights Award of Distinction for his moral courage and unrelenting drive to unleash Canada’s green energy-super-power potential.

A young Williams earned a Rhodes Scholarship in 1969, received a degree in arts in law from Oxford University in England, then returned to Canada to earn a bachelor of law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax. After a highly-successful career as a lawyer and a businessman, Williams was elected Premier in 2003.

Throughout his time in office he championed a number of clean energy and sustainability-minded initiatives, but his signature accomplishment was being the driving force behind the $6.2 billion Lower Churchill hydroelectric deal. In adding to Canada’s clean energy mix he became an advocate for a strong east-west Canadian power grid, despite the fierce opposition he faced from neighbouring Quebec.

Dr. Jim MacNeil: awarded on June 8th, 2010

macneill_optDr. Jim MacNeil pioneered the term “sustainable development,” in the 70’s and then spent four decades pushing and prodding it into action in the business and government realms.

Jim MacNeill, an internationally renowned giant in the field of sustainable development and environmental management, the recipient of numerous awards and honours including the City of Paris’ Silver Medal, the Merit Award of the Climate Institute, the WASA Environmental Award, the Candlelight Award for distinguished service to the United Nations, the Lifetime Achievement Award of Environment Canada and 4 honorary doctorates was born in Saskatchewan.

During an illustrious career which saw him serve on some of the world’s most respected commissions and in some of its most important institutions including the OECD in Paris, as Secretary General of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission, where he was lead author of its landmark report Our Common Future ) as Senior Advisor to the President of the International Development Research Center (IDRC), as member and Chairman of the World Bank’s Inspection Panel, as Senior Advisor to the Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (where he carried through a fundamental reorganization of UNDP’s work on environment and sustainable development) and latterly as a member on the Board of Directors of Ontario Hydro, then the largest electrical power utility in North America, he worked tirelessly to promote responsible environmental management.

Dr. Frank Frantisak: awarded on June 25, 2008

Frantisak_1Dr. Frantisak has played a catalytic role moving matters of the environment from the fringes of corporate awareness and decision-making to the heart of company boardrooms.

In 1990, as the Head of Environment for Noranda, one of Canada’s dominant natural resource firms active in forestry and mining, Dr. Frantisak published Noranda’s—and Canada’s—first Annual Corporate Environmental Report, and he affected the formation of the Environmental Committee of the Board of Directors (at a time when such Boards did not exist).

Today, almost two decades later, such committees and reporting are commonplace with the majority of large global companies doing both.

Aside from his pioneering endeavours at Noranda, Dr. Frantisak has long been an ardent advocate on the national and international stage for transforming the relationship between the business sector and the environment to an intercourse that is of a more symbiotic nature.

In Canada, Dr. Frantisak co-founded the Conference Board of Canada’s Environmental Program, as well as having lead efforts that resulted in the establishment of Canada’s ARET Program, and Canada’s Climate Change and Voluntary Challenge & Registry.

Internationally, Dr. Frantisak headed the Canadian Delegation to ISO Technical Committee on the Environment, which lead to establishment of the ISO 14001 standard; chaired the Environmental Committee of the Canadian Council for International Business; chaired the Canada/US Relations Subcommittee on Environment; and led the Environmental Business/Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.

Dr. Maurice Strong: awarded on June 4, 2003

mauricestrong_optMaurice Strong, the world’s leading environmentalist, has played a unique and critical role in globalizing the environmental movement and bringing businesses on board.

As President of Power Corporation and director on several corporate boards, Strong made his view clear that Canada’s foreign policy should concentrate on being a friend of the developing world. This brought him to the attention of the Minister of External Affairs, Paul Martin Senior, and Prime Minister Lester Pearson. Strong became a Deputy Minister of External Aid in Pearson’s cabinet and led the creation of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Strong’s work with CIDA gave him new insights into the complexities of development. He was troubled by the environmental and social disruption caused by major infrastructure projects, which CIDA supported, and he became involved with environmental politics.

Strong became Secretary General of both the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which launched the world environment movement. In 1976, at the request of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Strong returned to Canada to head the newly-created Petro-Canada. He then became Chairman of the Canada Development Investment Corporation and later became Chairman of AZL Resources Incorporated.

Strong’s role in leading the UN’s famine relief program in Africa was the first in a series of UN advisory assignments, including reform and his appointment as Secretary General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, or the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. This was a landmark event attended by more heads of government than had ever met together before, as well as more media and non-governmental representatives.

After the Earth Summit, Strong continued to take a leading role in implementing the results of Rio through establishment of the Earth Council, the Earth Charter movement, his Chairmanship of the World Resources Institute, Membership on the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the African-American Institute, the Institute of Ecology in Indonesia, the Beijer Institute of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and others. Strong was a longtime Foundation Director of the World Economic Forum, a Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank, a Member of the International Advisory of Toyota Motor Corporation, the Advisory Council for the Center for International Development of Harvard University, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund, Resources for the Future, and the Eisenhower Fellowships.

From December 1992 through 1995, Strong served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Hydro, then North America’s largest electric power utility. During this period, the company made the transition from the largest loss in its history and rising rates to its largest ever profit, which allowed lower rates to be established and major programs for efficiency and sustainability to be undertaken.

In 1999, at the request of then UN Secretary-General, Perez de Cuelar, Strong took on the task of trying to restore the viability of the University for Peace, headquartered in Costa Rica. As Chairman of its governing body, the Council, and initially as Rector, Strong led the process of revitalizing the University for Peace and helped to rebuild its programs and leadership. He retired from the Council in the spring of 2007.

Strong now spends most of his time in China and is active as an advisor in the environment, energy, and technology sectors. His principal activities are centered at Peking University, where he is an active Honorary Professor, as well as Honorary Chairman of its Environmental Foundation and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Research on Security and Sustainability for Northeast Asia.

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