Background of the organization
The Academy for Sustainable Innovation (ASI) is a multi-sectoral Canadian effort founded by three leaders in their respective fields: Gord Lambert, former Director of Sustainability at Suncor Energy, Ed Whittingham, former Executive Director of the Pembina Institute and David Wheeler, past-president of Cape Breton University. Working with colleges, universities and professional bodies, ASI develops curriculum for current students and working professionals to be certified as “sustainability experts”.
While there is widespread agreement about the need to transition to a low-carbon economy, we have not been able to take action at the necessary speed or scale. We remain mired in debates on how to achieve CO2 reduction targets that we are increasingly less likely to meet. In an effort to prepare students for sustainability-related careers in the public, private and non-profit sectors, many universities and colleges offer niche sustainability and corporate social responsibility programs, but no organization offers credentialing in transition to sustainability through a professional institute (as is the case with accounting or engineering). The Academy for Sustainable Innovation (ASI), a new Canadian initiative, addresses this gap by training and certifying current and future professionals to lead Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
A grant from the Foundation will help to establish ASI’s institutional infrastructure, including software platform development and a formal accreditation system. It will also support testing and evaluation of its interdisciplinary curriculum – including a unique set of theoretical and applied skills in socio-technical innovation.