The Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo is pleased to announce that Sarah Burch, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Sustainability Governance and Innovation, has been named a Recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 TM for 2018.
Burch’s research focuses on governing responses to climate change (both adaptation and mitigation) in urban spaces. She also explores triggers of transitions toward more sustainable development pathways. Currently, her work has focused on acknowledging the contributions towards sustainability made by small and medium businesses, and how to radically transform organizations to be significantly more sustainable.
“I’m so honoured to be named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40TM. It’s especially gratifying to see this recognition of collaborative research that tackles complex environmental and social challenges. In particular, this award shines a light on the contribution that social scientists can make to charting a path forward on sustainability and will help me link up with creative minds from across the country.”
Most recently her work on the Governing and Accelerating Transformative Entrepreneurship (GATE) research project carried out one of the largest surveys exploring small businesses and sustainability in Canada. Her team’s findings directly challenge the common assumption that SMEs primarily see sustainability as a way to cut costs and explore the important role that small businesses play in the social fabric of our communities.
Having discovered that SMEs are powerfully motivated to pursue sustainability as a way to build a good reputation within their community and align their business operations with their values, she’s moving on to a new project to help these businesses advance the sustainability agenda. The project is called TRANSFORM: Accelerating sustainability entrepreneurship experiments in local spaces and is made possible by a $2.4 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant. Burch and her collaborators will work closely with SMEs in eight countries to give them the tools, guidance and partnerships they need to go beyond mere incremental changes towards sustainability, and fundamentally transform their business to become better for the planet and its people.
Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ is an annual recognition of the exceptional achievements of 40 outstanding Canadians under the age of 40. The Top 40 has recognized more than 680 outstanding Canadians and is the country’s most coveted award for young business leaders.
Burch and her peers were selected from over 800 nominees by an independent Advisory Board, comprising more than 20 business leaders from across Canada. Honourees were chosen on four key criteria: Vision & Innovation; Leadership; Impact & Influence; and, Social Responsibility.
Recipients will attend the Top 40 National Celebrations to be held in Toronto in November, and they will be honoured at the Top 40 Awards Night Gala to be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on the night of November 21, 2018.