Built Environment

7 Billion Reasons for Preserving and Growing Toronto’s Trees (full report)

tdbank1TD Bank showcases it’s leadership by releasing a unique report valuing Toronto’s Urban Forest at 7 Billion.

This spring TD Economics released a special report on the economic value of the environmental and social benefits provided by Toronto’s 10 million trees.  The report drew a surprising amount of interest, and not just among those working in the urban forestry and environment sector but from the public at large, which tells us there’s a thirst for information that defines the economic value of the benefits provided by the natural environment. And it’s easy to see why – it makes the business case for preserving and growing our forests and other “natural capital.”

I’m often asked why TD Economics would pursue what is a somewhat unconventional area of study for a big bank. The answer is fairly simple. There’s a strong link between the environment and the economy. TD has made a commitment to be an environmental leader, and part of that means providing thought leadership that can help drive the important conversations we need to have about the environment.

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Also posted in Leadership, Social Impact, Sustainability Metrics | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

WBCSD’s Urban Infrastructure Initiative: Strategic Collaboration Between Cities and Business


New models developed to help urban planners engage business on sustainability.

Addressing the complex problems of the 21st century requires a new solutions toolbox. Innovation will be absolutely essential and business will lead the way – not just in technology, but also in building new models of collaboration that harness leadership and collective problem-solving to drive effective action.

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Also posted in Behaviour Change, Business and Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

A City Within a Forest: The Evolution of Green Building

Vertical-Forest-by-Stefano-Boeri-Architetti06Visually stunning and environmentally progressive condo buildings and office towers are appearing in Europe and Asia in recent years, including the Bosco Verticale in Milan, Hearst Tower in New York, and Urban Cactus in Rotterdam. Corporations and condo developers take note … whoever construct the first of this type of building in Canada can really make a statement. I talk to Andrew McAllan of Oxford Properties to see when that might happen.

The next generation of consumers increasingly demand sustainable practices. Combining environmental initiatives with stunning design, builders worldwide are thinking outside the box. In Milan, the Bosco Verticale is a vertical forest, housing 400 residential units and 900 trees of three to six meters tall. Architect Stefano Boeri anticipates a 5% increase to construction costs for the additional structure required to support the plants.

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Next Crisis Brought to you by Extreme Weather: Canada’s Unisurable Housing Market

Residents of Elbow Park struggle against the rushing flood waters in Calgary on June 22, 2013. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Residents of Elbow Park struggle against the rushing flood waters in Calgary on June 22, 2013. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Over the past three years, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney (now Governor of the Bank of England), tightened mortgage lending in an effort to avert a housing crisis that might otherwise result when interest rates rise.

While their efforts were laudable, they missed an equally great threat that is now on the landscape: The potential of extreme weather to render large sectors of the Canadian housing market uninsurable, which in turn could impact the mortgage market (without home insurance, you cannot qualify for a mortgage).

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Also posted in Climate change, Energy, Cities and Climate Change, Leadership, Social and Environmental Impacts, sustainability trends, The Hub | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

VIDEO: Mayors Miller and Farbridge share thoughts on cities and climate change after recent TSSS event

Please enjoy this short highlight video from our event last month on “Cities and Climate Change” with Past Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, Guelph Mayor, Karen Farbridge and expert moderator Dr. Blair Feltmate.

The biggest misconception of climate change is that we can’t solve the problem – but we can – if you solve your environmental challenges the right way you will create significant numbers of  jobs…and there are examples from leading cities all around the world.
Past Mayor of Toronto, David Miller

Environmental sustainability and economic prosperity go hand in hand – they’re not two separate things – one doesn’t happen at the expense of the other – and I think once you get your head around that thinking, all kinds of things are possible.
Mayor of Guelph, Karen Farbridge

Also posted in Climate change, Culture Change, Interviews, Leadership, Thought Leader, TSSS Event Video, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed
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