Fresh out of completing her MBA, Jane McDonald began her career as an intern at International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). 25 years later, Jane is now the Executive Vice President of IISD– a full-circle moment.
“I was interested in looking for work that would put me in a position to help companies think about climate change and how to proactively mitigate the biggest impacts of climate,” smiled Jane. “IISD had an internship program run out of the office here in Winnipeg, but they sent me to Austin, Texas where I worked for companies that were trying to understand their own climate change. It was really interesting work.”
The internship proved to leave a mark on Jane’s career as she then went on to tackle climate change at a variety of organizations. Jane has over 20 years of Canadian and International experience working with governments, corporate executives, and major think tanks to advance sustainability.
“My previous roles really helped me understand multiple perspectives for an issue as complex as climate change,” said Jane.
“Back when I started out, working on sustainable development issues and climate change was new. Now, we’re at a different phase, where instead of helping people understand climate change, we’re much more focused on helping them figure out how to act on it. It’s become very practical and urgent in the last five years.”
As a member of The Winnipeg Chamber Board of Directors and as EVP of IISD, Jane sees the direct and obvious impacts climate change is having on business. Business and climate change are very much intertwined.
“There are multiple reasons why understanding climate change is really important to business, and multiple reasons why business is really important in the fight against climate change,” said Jane.
“In my experience, the vast majority of businesses do care and want to be part of the solution. These businesses are run by people who also live in the world and who have grandchildren who are facing a daunting future.”
Sitting on The Chamber board and hearing the different perspectives of Winnipeg businesses has been impactful on the work Jane and her team at IISD are spearheading.
“With the launch of The Chamber’s CODE (Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity) programming, we have felt encouraged to build a more diverse workforce,” said Jane.
“These things aren’t unrelated to climate. We know the worst impacts of climate change will hit our most vulnerable citizens the hardest. So when we talk about wanting to support the vulnerable in our community, we also need to talk about how we deal with climate change.”
The business case is clear and it all begins with a conversation and then we can begin to take action. Join us at our luncheon on April 28 with Jane for an in-depth and necessary conversation about climate change and how businesses of any size can contribute to the solution.
“So much of what we hear about climate change is a problem statement,” said Jane “I really want to talk about the solutions we can take action on now, and the role businesses can play in helping to make that happen.”
Register today for our luncheon with Jane McDonald on April 28.
Climate Change Conversations