About the 2020 Leading Change Forum

In partnership with:

The most recent edition of the Leading Change Forum was held on February 10, 2020 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  For the first time, Leading Change was integrated with the GLOBE Forum, North America’s largest and longest running sustainable business and innovation conference. Proceedings were held at the beautiful Vancouver Convention Centre West, a double LEED® Platinum certified facility. This partnership allowed youth delegates to hear from global sustainability experts and engage in nuanced discussions with senior-level decision-makers and executive leaders.

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Leading Change Forum Agenda

Monday, February 10, 2020

Vancouver Convention Centre W, Vancouver, BC, CAN


For the first time in its nearly two-decade history, Leading Change will be co-located with the GLOBE Forum at the beautiful Vancouver Convention Centre West. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for youth delegates to connect with global sustainability experts who will be onsite for GLOBE Exchange and the EXCEL Partnership meetings.

In this connection breakfast, Leading Change delegates will have the opportunity to sit with senior-level practitioners and executives to engage in inter-generational conversation while fueling up for the day’s activities. 

The 2020 Leading Change Forum will take place on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Watuth), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples. We are grateful to the Indigenous peoples who have cared for these lands and waters since time immemorial.

Living in a world that is sustainable and socially just includes acting in a de-colonial manner and building and sustaining relationships with Indigenous Peoples. One way we can live this commitment is by educating ourselves through the practice of land acknowledgements. As an organization that is future-focused and change-oriented, it is important that we understand the history of these lands and that Indigenous resistance and agency is at the forefront of the work that we do.  

We commit to continually engage in self-reflection and consistently work at being an ally through learning, acting in a de-colonial manner, and centering the voices of Indigenous Peoples. We recognize this work is ongoing and welcome feedback, suggestions, and critical comments to ensure we are living out our values. 

10:30 AM - 10:55 AM - Morning break and optional caucuses

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Youth-led break-out sessions

Achieving a circular economy in Canada requires a place-based approach that recognizes key issues and solutions relevant to each region. Hear the state of play on the circular economy from compelling local leaders. Then, break-out into interactive working groups exploring issues relevant to your region – from coast to coast to coast – and how circular models can be applied to solve pressing problems such as textile waste, food waste, plastics, and our built environment. Topics may include: 

  • What are the waste streams most critical in each region? 
  • How can we use the economy to change our waste streams in a positive way? 
  • Are circular economies necessarily local economies? 

In a world where energy information is dominated by polarized soundbites, accurate and unbiased information is essential for moving forward our discussion on Canada’s energy future. Student Energy is on a mission to empower the next generation of energy leaders who will accelerate our transition to a sustainable energy future. In this workshop, participants will explore the energy system, from source and production to distribution and use, and learn what levers for change exist in each of these areas. Key outcomes include: 

  • Who are the critical players in Canada’s energy system, today and in the future? 
  • Where are the biggest barriers and opportunities for change? 
  • How can young people across Canada use our energy system to drive meaningful change? 

Despite the political rhetoric trumpeting the importance of youth policies and action, the deployment of climate finance lacks a critical understanding of its impacts on, and obligations to, youth. As youth are disproportionately affected by climate change – and have some of the most innovative approaches – we explore youth-for-youth approach to climate finance. Join in a Policy Jam facilitated by Youth Climate Lab to generate insights  and develop appropriate, actionable and specific policy recommendations on topics such as: 

  • How can climate-designed grants and financial instruments better consider youth? 
  • How can youth-led climate initiatives access critical funding from government, non-profit, and for-profit sources? 
  • How can we accelerate the deployment of international climate finance? 

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Lunch

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM - Inter-generational collaboration and relationship building break-out sessions

In order for the natural resource workforce to reflect Canada’s diverse population, further efforts are required to advance gender equality, diversity and inclusion for underrepresented groups such as women, indigenous peoples, visible minorities, and new Canadians. While efforts have been made to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups, a big challenge remains in retention. This consultation session from Natural Resources Canada invites youth explore EDI in the natural resource sector, and address key gaps in knowledge:  

  • What do youth and other workers from underrepresented groups need in order to feel included, welcome, and valued? 
  • What do employers need to build into their workplace and corporate culture in order to meet those needs? What role should the Government of Canada play in supporting employers to create truly inclusive workplaces that enable the retention of diverse, innovative and motivated workers? 

The climate crisis has real, measurable effects on Canadians all across the country, yet we still have difficulty discussing this issue at our workplace, our dining room tables, our town halls or in the media. Many struggle to maintain hope while living in a time of climate anxiety and a sense of paralysis by the magnitude of the issue. In this action-oriented workshop, we will explore:

  • What are our non-traditional spheres of influence where we can push the dial on climate action?
  • Who is and isn’t being reached by current climate narratives?
  • What are the barriers to breaking through the climate crisis gridlock?
  • What is the role of language in depolarizing the national narrative around the climate crisis to create opportunity for productive steps forward?
  • How can our narratives inspire workplaces, cities and others to declare and act on Climate Emergencies?
  • How do we personally avoid burnout and maintain our own personal well-being in a time of climate anxiety

Through the workshop, participants will:

  • Learn about wise practices, tactics and social science research around what climate narratives are effective
  • Identify their current and desired spheres of influence (e.g. workplace, municipal government, social network)
  • Identify ways that their current work and roles (within and beyond the workplace) can reach different, “unusual suspects”
  • Explore what it means to declare a climate emergency, both for society and for ourselves and individuals in the movement

In our Mentor Connect session, all Leading Change delegates will have the opportunity to make connections with experienced practitioners from the public, social, and private sectors. Programming will be a mix of group and one-on-one curated connections, and will include both Leading Change alumni and experienced professionals from the GLOBE Forum. 

During the afternoon of the Forum, there will be opportunities for Leading Change delegates to connect with potential investors and future employers as part of GLOBE Exchange

In Capital Connect, young clean-tech entrepreneurs from within the Leading Change delegation will be matched with potential investors for the capital to scale their ideas. 

In Talent Connect, Leading Change delegates who are interested in summer, internship, or full-time positions have the opportunity to meet with potential employers who are looking for talent. 

3:00 - 3:30 PM - Afternoon break

The transformation required to curb greenhouse gas emissions to align with science-based targets requires a re-framing of old arguments. A compelling vision for climate action is needed, one that depicts a world of abundance and highlights the benefits of a cleaner, cooler, and equitable future. At the Forum’s close, Leading Change delegates will hear from the Sunrise Movement‘s co-founder and Executive Director, Varshini Prakash. This tenacious activist will inspire delegates to dream big, take bold action, and build strategically with partners to tackle climate action challenges. 

Nervous about rubbing elbows with executives and senior leaders? Our interactive network training will equip youth delegates with practical tips and strategies to navigate any room or conversation. 

Following the training, we’ll wrap up with some next steps to keep the conversations – and action – going beyond the Forum. 

All Leading Change delegates will have access to the GLOBE Forum Opening Reception.  

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