Q: Can you share a real-world moment that highlights this type of action? How are some of the affected communities responding?
J: One excellent example of nature-based climate solutions is the Great Bear Rainforest project in British Columbia, where the coastal First Nations are involved in carbon offsetting. This project helps Frist Nation peoples contribute to climate change mitigation by getting into an atmospheric benefit -sharing agreement with the BC government. This is a new pathway for those communities that wish to be involved in adaptive forest management and creating a system to reinvest into environmental monitoring and oversight that protects biodiversity, cultural values and traditional ways of life.
Q: The report briefly addresses the Seventh Generation principle. Can you elaborate a bit about this school of thought, and how it could help decision-making in the Canadian industries that are negatively impacting the climate?
J: This concept is about protecting the land, water, air, wildlife, and ecosystem by thinking through how any decision impacts the next seven generations. Many industry leaders make decisions based on a business case that is profit driven. The regulatory and environmental impact assessments often fail to address long-term or cumulative impacts of development. Integrating a long-term view and Indigenous traditional knowledge into decision making will help these leaders consider the short, medium, and long-term impact. Generational thinking will go a long way to limiting our footprint on Mother Earth.
Q: The report makes it clear that advancing reconciliation and reducing climate change must be done in tandem. But if I’m a Canadian business leader, where do I start my journey to achieve both?
J: Education and awareness of Indigenous peoples, communities, traditions, culture, customs, history, and legacy will be critical. Developing strategies for the company and individuals to learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Calls to Action, the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women inquiry, the residential school system policy, Indian Act legislation, impacts of colonialism, treaties, and cultural sensitivity and bias will be key. We are all treaty people, and we all have a role to play.
Q: What makes working with Deloitte on reconciliation and climate action unique?
J: Like all organizations, Deloitte is on a journey. We're trying to impact both areas—climate action and reconciliation—as they are aligned and non-partisan. Both issues are important to our network, clients, suppliers, and employees. We view our role as an integrator, helping the government, Indigenous peoples, and corporate Canada advance decision-making on these key issues.
Q: What are the areas of investment and innovation that organizations might be most interested in?
J: There are many—carbon offset accounting, decarbonizing industries, developing clean energy infrastructure, developing sustainable fuel, sustainability planning, goal setting for Indigenous relations and ESG consideration, renewable energy development.
Q: What’s the most important thing you hope people take away from reading this report?
J: Working together to take sustainable action is the way forward. It’s going to take 1,000 cups of tea—a concept I’ve learned from First Nation elders. The 1,000 cups of tea represent the time businesses need to commit to discussion and collaboration with Indigenous communities if they want to build a strong lasting relationship. So, let’s get started.
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