How COVID-19 innovation can teach us to build back greener

Diverse groups collaborated to develop vaccines. We should tackle the climate challenges the same way.

The launch of COVID-19 vaccines marks an unprecedented success for global health after many months of uncertainty and suffering. These vaccines were possible only through novel innovation – including new public-private partnerships and other global collaborative platforms – that underpinned their development. Although there is much to do before we exit the crisis, we can learn from the innovation models we’ve seen so far – and use them to bolster a greener recovery and address future crises.

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If you want a diverse workforce, you need diverse leadership

I never had a role model in senior management who looked like me – this needs to change

When I was young, all I wanted to be when I grew up was white. As a new Canadian living in Windsor, Ontario, I didn’t want to be seen as the “Filipino” kid. I wanted to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of adobo chicken on rice for lunch. I wanted to belong, like everyone else.

As I charged through youth and into adolescence, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily white that I wanted to be – I just wanted to be successful. But I never had a professional role model who looked like me. Sure, Filipino people are considered hard workers (something my parents never let me forget), but the positions I would see them occupy were low-skilled and service work – janitors, customer service, labourers. Always the nurse, but never the doctor. To be clear, these are honourable professions: my partner is a nurse, and in my humble opinion, she is the best that humanity has to offer. These are, after all, the workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

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