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On May 12 the province of British Columbia announced a climate leadership team, with the goal of advising the government on its climate action plan – Sauder's Associate Professor James Tansey was named one of its 19 appointees. 

“I feel honoured to have been chosen and I’m glad to see they’ve put together a diverse team with diverse opinions,” said Tansey. "It’s rewarding, as an academic, to have the chance to have direct impact on public policy."

As the executive director of the Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (Sauder S3i) at the Sauder School of Business, Tansey’s experience makes him well suited for the appointment. His centre engages in research exploring the best methods of building the low carbon economy and investigates how to leverage the tools of business to advance social innovation and sustainability, through research, incubation, and application.

The team’s 19 members are chosen from six categories: government representatives, academics, business interests, community interests, environmental interests, and First Nations interests. Tansey anticipates playing an important role in helping these different groups achieve consensus, through “helping to bridge the various concerns of different groups on the leadership team to reach actionable solutions,” he said.

The team will recommend updates to the 2008 climate action plan and look at how to maintain greenhouse gas targets while encouraging economic growth. Included in the work will be an investigation of how to achieve greenhouse gas reductions in the industrial and transportation sectors, and built environment. Other priorities include furthering the province’s relationships with local governments and First Nations to find mutually beneficial climate solutions.

Tansey expects the team’s work to be a six-month process of sessions and meetings, with external experts brought in, as the appointees review the issues together to reach consensus. The recommendations will then be submitted by November 30, 2015. 

Tansey’s appointment is another example of the B.C. government turning to Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (Sauder S3i) for expertise. On May 12, Michelle Stilwell, Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation, visited Sauder S3i to meet the social ventures from the centre’s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub, an accelerator program that works with B.C. social entrepreneurs to help build their ventures. She also met with Sauder S3i to hear about its development of an impact investing program focused on creating a new source of capital support that meets the unique needs of social enterprises.

“The province is currently funding our research in surveying for-profits and non-profits in the province that have a strong social purpose,” said Tansey. “We have a government that tends to be quite entrepreneurial, and that’s something that’s going to drive more social innovation and entrepreneurship."

The full list and biographies of the team’s appointed members can be found here.