Toronto’s business and government leaders form new climate economy strategic council

TRBOT and MaRS CEOs, Jan De Silva and Yung Wu, co-chair to champion the region’s climate economy

TORONTO, March 30, 2022 – Today, the Climate Economy Strategic Council (“the Council”) held its first meeting in Toronto. With focus on helping businesses innovate and adopt local climate solutions with potential global impact, the Council will establish a roadmap to position the Toronto region and its businesses as climate economy champions, advancing the goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The Council will serve as a forum for advancing solutions that embrace ambitious pilot projects that demonstrate integrated climate solutions.

The Council will be co-chaired by Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and Yung Wu, CEO of Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District. As Canada’s largest economic zone and the fastest growing metropolitan region in the United States and Canada, the Toronto region is primed to lead in this critical space. Our region’s vibrant economy is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, world-leading universities and colleges and a network of global free trade connections. As North America’s second-largest financial centre, the region is well-placed to advance solutions that ensure Canada reaches net-zero by 2050.

“The urgency of climate change demands that every sector of the Canadian economy work in unison toward one common goal: reaching net-zero by 2050,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “By convening a diverse array of CEOs from the private and public sectors the Council is taking an unconventional approach to move the needle on the defining issue of our times.”

“Climate action has been a MaRS mission since before the pandemic. Through this Council, we’ll continue to drive bold policies and actions that will advance clean procurement and growth for the region,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “For Toronto – and ultimately Canada – to meet our aggressive net-zero targets and lead in the climate innovation economy, it’s going to take a collaborative effort from industry leaders, partners and trailblazers in the cleantech and fintech ecosystems.”

The Council’s objectives over the next two years include:

  • Positioning our climate innovators and our regional economy as a global leader in climate transition
  • Identifying and advocating for policies that encourage clean tech adoption at scale
  • Developing a roadmap to drive innovation adoption and address barriers to clean tech commercialization and growth
  • Monitoring and tapping into financial structures that advance the climate economy
  • Demonstrating the potential of collaboration between innovators and industry leaders to catalyze Canada’s climate economy

The GTHA was responsible for 47.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2020, equal to 44 per cent of carbon emissions in Ontario. The Council recognizes that solutions created by the region are best positioned to be adopted in the region. Transition to net zero will touch every aspect of our lives and have far-reaching impacts on industry and our economy. As a result, the climate economy will influence all future economic activity across the Toronto region.

The Council’s membership represents a cross-section of global thought leaders and practitioners with expert insights on climate action, financial markets and cleantech commercialization.

Council members include:

  • Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade (Co-Chair)
  • Yung Wu, CEO, MaRS Discovery District (Co-Chair)
  • Cherie Brant, Partner & National Leader, Indigenous Law, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Andrew Chisholm, Corporate Director, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Lisa Demarco, Senior Partner & CEO, Resilient LLP
  • Derek Dobson, CEO & Plan Manager, CAAT Pension Plan
  • Deborah Flint, President & CEO, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
  • Richard Florizone, President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development
  • Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto
  • Anthony Haines, President & CEO, Toronto Hydro Corporation
  • Michael Kelly, Chief Legal & Corporate Affairs Officer, OMERS
  • Catherine Luelo, Deputy Minister, Treasury Board Secretariat & Chief Information Officer of Canada
  • Chris Murray, City Manager, City of Toronto
  • Jad Shimaly, Chair & CEO, Ernst & Young Canada
  • Ken Tanenbaum, Founder & Chairman, Kilmer Developments
  • George Zegarac, CEO, Waterfront Toronto

Key facts:

  • The global cleantech market is expected to hit $2.5 trillion (U.S.) by 2022
  • Employment in the environmental and clean technology sectors was 322,972 jobs in 2020, up 28 per cent from 2010
  • Cleantech exports rose from $1.2 billion in 2015 to $7.1 billion in 2020

About the Toronto Region Board of Trade

The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic growth agenda. Backed by more than 11,500 members, we pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region, and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally. To learn about the Board’s economic recovery efforts and response to COVID-19, visit For more on making Toronto one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, visit and follow us at @TorontoRBOT.

About MaRS

MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in health, cleantech, fintech and other sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Andrew Perez
Media Relations Manager
Toronto Region Board of Trade

Andrew Yates
Media Relations Director
MaRS Discovery District