MaRS cleantech leader Tom Rand recognized for environment-friendly business strategies

Toronto, May 16, 2013 – Tom Rand will be honoured with Earth Day Canada’s Outstanding Commitment to the Environment Award at its annual gala on June 12, 2013.

Rand is a clean energy champion who looks at the challenges of climate change through a pragmatic economic lens. He is a green entrepreneur, advocate, advisor, speaker, investor and author of Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World. Rand is Managing Partner of the MaRS Cleantech Fund, a privately backed venture fund targeting game-changing Canadian clean energy technology.

“A tireless champion of the environment, Tom Rand has tenaciously advanced the clean energy agenda both in Canada and abroad. He is passionately committed to making the world a better place, not only by actively promoting energy conservation, but also by ensuring the success of our most promising cleantech entrepreneurs,” said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District. “We celebrate him for this tremendous, well-deserved recognition.”

Rand began his career as a telecommunications entrepreneur, founding Voice Courier Inc. in 1991 and leading its expansion to over 100 employees in three countries. When it was sold in the spring of 2005 he began to focus on clean energy full-time as an angel investor, author and advisor. He is also co-developer of The Planet Traveler in downtown Toronto, billed as North America’s lowest-carbon hotel. In 2009 he joined MaRS Discovery District as its founding cleantech practice lead.

“Tom’s work in promoting solutions to address climate change is legendary,” said Jed Goldberg, President of Earth Day Canada. “He has facilitated the investment of tens of millions of dollars to those who have designed innovative technologies and processes that address the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges, and he has built a most impressive example of energy efficiency in his Planet Traveler hostel. Tom is an inspiration to those who care about our future and a most worthy recipient of the award.”

“Clean energy technology is racing ahead of the traditional energy sector. It’s like the microchip in the 1960s, only much bigger,” said Rand. “Along with being the smart choice for our environment, these green technologies also present an enormous business opportunity – an estimated $2-3 trillion market by 2020. Earth Day Canada is tuned into this pragmatic approach and I’m honoured to be the recipient of this award.”

Rand holds a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, an MSc in philosophy of science from the University of London / London School of Economics and an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto.

Rand’s upcoming book, with the working title Waking the Frog, is scheduled to be released in fall 2013.

The 2013 Earth Day Canada Gala is made possible through the support of Target Canada, Mill Street Brewery, Kruger Products, SodaStream, CN, DDB Canada, Sharp Electronics of Canada, Sony Canada, Sobeys Inc., TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Lifford Wine Agency and Warren’s Waterless Printing.

Environmental leaders who have received the award over the past ten years:

  • 2012 – Sophia Rabliauskas, member of the Poplar River First Nation, and leader in efforts to protect 8,000 square kilometres of untouched boreal forest.
  • 2011 – Laure Waridel, social and environmental activist and co-founder of Equiterre, a not-for-profit that advocates for fair trade, sustainable transportation, ecological agriculture and energy efficiency.
  • 2010 – Bruce Cockburn, a celebrated Canadian folk-rock musician and activist who uses his art as a podium to draw attention to important environmental issues such as oil spills and deforestation.
  • 2009 – Maude Barlow, a widely celebrated activist and author of 16 books who co-founded the Blue Planet Project, an organization that champions the human right to water.
  • 2008 – Clayton Ruby, a widely respected lawyer and prominent member of the environmental community, having chaired Earthroots and served as Honourary Director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.
  • 2007 – Michael Stadtländer, a world-renowned chef, culinary activist and co-founder of “Knives & Forks,” an organization uniting chefs with local organic farmers.
  • 2006 – Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit leader, environmental and human rights activist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
  • 2005 – Robert Schad, founder and chairman of The Schad Foundation and Earth Rangers, an organization that teaches children about the environment.
  • 2004 – Robert Bateman, an internationally renowned Canadian painter and naturalist who captures the breathtaking beauty of the natural world on canvas.

About Earth Day Canada

Earth Day Canada (@EarthDayCanada), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2004, it was recognized as the top environmental education organization in North America, for its innovative year-round programs and educational resources, by the Washington-based North American Association for Environmental Education, the world’s largest association of environmental educators. In 2008, it was chosen as Canada’s “Outstanding Non-profit Organization” by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. EDC regularly partners with thousands of organizations in all parts of Canada. To support Earth Day Canada, please visit .

About MaRS Cleantech Fund LP

MaRS Cleantech Fund LP is a private Canadian venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech investing. The Fund has a unique investment model through its partnership with MaRS Discovery District. Through MaRS, the Fund is able to provide strategic advisory services and introductions to global corporate partners. The fund is managed by Tom Rand (@tomrand) and Murray McCaig (@murraymccaig), two experienced entrepreneurs that bring a wealth of start-up experience to their portfolio companies.

About MaRS Discovery District

MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies. In the last three years, MaRS startup clients have raised over $500 million in capital, earned nearly $300 million in revenue and created over 2,600 new knowledge economy jobs.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Keith Treffry
Director of Communications and Development
Earth Day Canada
416.599.1991 ext. 107 |

Melissa Hughes
Media & Community Relations
MaRS Discovery District
416.673.8100 ext. 2710 |