The Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Centre (ZEIC) is an independent non-profit and pending charity that is part of the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) network established by the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). ZEIC’s mandate is to catalyze, accelerate and scale climate action innovation across Metro Vancouver related to green buildings, renewable energy and transportation through a combination of impact investing, granting, partnerships, research and capacity building.
The establishment of ZEIC has been made possible through a $21.7M endowment by the Government of Canada and the efforts of regional champions including the Renewable Cities at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University (SFU), City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia.
Our organization is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of Coast Salish Peoples, including the q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sɛmiˈɑːmuː (Semiahmoo), Stó:lō (Sto:lo), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen) Nations. To the Nations who have stewarded and cared for these lands since time immemorial, we offer acknowledgement, gratitude and our commitment to ongoing learning and respect.
About the Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Centre
The Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Centre (ZEIC) is an independent, non-profit organization whose establishment has been seeded by a $21.7M endowment by the Government of Canada to help catalyze and advance ambitious and innovative climate action in our region. The organization will be focused on working collaboratively across the public, private and non-profit sectors using tools such as impact investing, granting, partnerships and capacity building to advance climate action in green buildings, renewable energy and transportation sectors. In April 2021, ZEIC was officially incorporated as a non-profit and is currently seeking charitable status to support fund leveraging efforts and programs beginning in early 2022.
The Metro Vancouver ZEIC is part of a Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) network of organizations in seven of the country’s largest cities, supported by an $185 million federal investment. FCM serves as the secretariat for the LC3 Network and, in conjunction with each centre, will be developing a results-based management framework and a set of indicators, which the centres will report on annually.
Many organizations in the Metro Vancouver region have come together to support the creation of ZEIC, including our founding supporters SFU, the City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver. SFU’s Renewable Cities initiative at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue has been intimately involved in establishing the centre with an interdisciplinary team of experts (Lidstone & Company, Rhiza Capital and WCS Engagement + Planning). This start-up team has been working closely with the FCM to set up the organization, appoint a Board of Directors, carry out the recruitment process for an Executive Director and ready the organization to receive the endowment from the Federal Government.
The Zero Emissions Innovation Centre is expected to match the $21.7M endowment over ten years. With the climate action acumen, financial innovators and change-makers in public, private and non-profit sectors across the region and province, the Board is confident the matching requirement can be exceeded and that, together with our partners and industry, the Centre can progress climate actions benefiting and transforming construction sites, homes, businesses and transportation corridors across Metro Vancouver and beyond within the province.
Melina Scholefield, P. Eng.
Melina is a progressive, collaborative, creative and caring leader known for her ability to bring people together, lead transformation and translate vision into practical implementation. As a civil-environmental engineer with over two decades of public and private sector experience, Melina has a long-standing dedication to community-building, sustainability, innovation, leadership development and collaboration across sectors and disciplines. In the private sector, Melina worked as a green infrastructure instructor, green building project consultant and a Built Green certified residential builder with a special interest in passive house methods. In the public sector, Melina has held leadership roles with the City of Vancouver related to sustainability, climate mitigation and adaptation, green building policy, green Infrastructure planning and implementation and transportation planning. Most recently, Melina and her team led Vancouver's ambitious and multi-award-winning Rain City Strategy, a transformative, cross-departmental urban rainwater management initiative.
In 2020, Melina was named Water Steward of the Year by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association for her leadership and impact in the Canadian Water industry. In 2021, Melina received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Environmental Sustainability. Melina has a graduate certificate in Values-based Leadership from Royal Roads University and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership specializing in Executive Leadership and change management.
Dr. Peter Robinson (Chair)
Dr. Peter Robinson possesses diverse leadership experience spanning more than four decades in business, government, and the non-profit sectors. He was Chief Executive Officer of the David Suzuki Foundation from 2008 to 2017 and, from 2000 to 2008, was Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Equipment Co-op. From 1984 to 2000, Dr. Robinson held several positions with BC Housing, a government agency, including Chief Executive Officer from 1999 to 2000. He has been extensively involved in community and humanitarian work, including monitoring prisons with the International Red Cross in Rwanda, governor of the Canadian Red Cross Society from 2010 to 2012, and Chair of the Board of Governors and Chancellor of Royal Roads University from 2007 to 2010.
Dr. Robinson holds a Doctor of Social Sciences, a Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography. He has also received several honorary degrees and awards, including Honorary Doctor of Laws from Royal Roads University in 2014, Honorary Doctor of Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2010, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the Order of Red Cross from the Canadian Red Cross Society in 2005.
Chih-Ting Lo (Vice-Chair)
Chih-Ting is a strategist, entrepreneur, and board member committed to making the global net-zero carbon future a reality targeting high-impact industries. A professional engineer with deep sectoral knowledge, expertise in environment, social, and governance (ESG) performance, and an innovation leader, Chih-Ting’s data driven approach uniquely compliments exercising governance best practices and overseeing risks. After years in research and commercialization on a novel hydrogen storage technology followed by consulting, she founded EELO Solutions in 2011, building bold strategies and supporting their implementation. With global experience in mining, marine, energy, and international financial institutions, she has enabled $100M+ private sector investments and raised $45M+ for innovation and decarbonization projects in recent years.
Chih-Ting is collaborative, deliberate, and authentic. She believes that technologies and investment in novel ideas are necessary to reach climate action targets. She is on the Advisory Board of clean tech companies and is an Executive in Residence in cleantech accelerators.
Outside of work, Chih-Ting enjoys everything outdoors, snowboarding, cycling, and growing her own food. She builds and lives in a certified passive house with her partner in the City of Vancouver.
Councillor Adriane Carr
City of Vancouver
Councillor Adriane Carr serves on the ZEIC Board as the appointed representative for the City of Vancouver. Born in Vancouver, Councillor Carr earned a master's degree in urban geography under David Ley and Walter Hardwick from UBC in 1980, writing her thesis on the role of citizen groups in building community spirit and shaping development in the neighbourhood of Kitsilano.
Councillor Carr taught for 12 years at Vancouver's Langara College, serving on the Langara Faculty Association Board and, for several years, as chair of the department of interdisciplinary studies. In 1989, she left teaching to join the executive team at Western Canada Wilderness Committee, a group founded by her husband, helping it grow into one of Canada's largest membership-based conservation groups. She is known for playing a pivotal role in helping resolve the conflict over old-growth logging in Clayoquot Sound, having been asked by the Central Region Chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council to be a liaison between them and the key environment groups engaged in the issue.
Councillor Carr is Vancouver’s first Green Party City Councillor. From 2000 to 2006 she served as BC Green Party Leader, a party she co-founded in 1983, and from 2006 to 2014 as Deputy Leader to federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May. For several years starting in 2009, she co-chaired the Canadian Women Voters' Congress non-partisan Women's Campaign School.
Councillor Carr has two adult children, two young grandchildren, and lives in Vancouver's West End with her husband Paul George.
Director Jen McCutcheon
Metro Vancouver, Electoral Area A
Dr. Jen McCutcheon serves on the ZEIC Board as the appointed director for the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD). Jen is the elected representative for Electoral Area A (all non-municipal areas of Metro Vancouver) on the MVRD Board of Directors and TransLink’s Mayors’ Council. In addition, she serves on the Metro Vancouver Climate Action Committee, EComm’s Board of Directors, the Ocean Watch Action Committee, as well as a number of other Boards and committees within the region.
Jen is passionate about the environment and about decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Her perspectives are guided by a commitment to a better world for her children and future generations, as well as her academic and professional background in public health. She holds a doctorate degree in global public health and has worked for a decade on strengthening health systems in low-income countries.
Jen approaches her decisions and policy making from a social justice and climate lens, and is passionate about issues such as climate action, affordability, reconciliation. She brings a regional perspective to the ZEIC Board, as well as her expertise in strategic thinking and facilitation.
New Market Funds
Andy is a managing director at New Market Funds, a fund management company raising and deploying capital that works to meet community needs and achieve risk-adjusted market returns that is jointly non-profit and employee-owned. His current duties include helping to launch and manage New Commons Development, a New Market Fund sponsored non-profit housing development corporation with offices in Vancouver and Toronto. From September 2010 through April 2018, Andy worked at Vancity in various community investment and impact investment roles, including leading the launch of VCIB, Canada’s first triple bottom line Schedule 1 bank.
Prior to moving to Canada, Andy worked for 14 years at Housing Vermont, a statewide non-profit development company, initially as head of development then serving as President. There he helped found Green Mountain Housing Equity Funds and Vermont Rural Ventures, a Community Development Financial Institution.
Seyem / Kwantlen First Nation Economic Development
Brenda Knights is an indigenous entrepreneur, with board experience, serving the indigenous people of Canada. She also has experience in a leadership role, advocating for social housing for indigenous people. Brenda lives by 7 traditional laws which have been around since time immemorial - health, happiness, humbleness, generations, generosity, forgiveness and understanding. Brenda is the Great, great, great granddaughter of Grand Chief Wattlekanium who met the Simon Fraser expedition in present day New Westminster.
Indigenous teachings tell us that it takes 7 generations for change and Brenda's daughter represents the 7th generation since Grand Chief Wattlekanium. In addition to Brenda's work in indigenous economic development, she formerly worked for Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink, where she served in a variety of Management roles. She also volunteers on a board servicing underprivileged indigenous women and children.
Nexii Building Solutions
Over the twenty years, Colin Doylend has represented the interests of Indigenous communities, industry, and government towards building legacies of economic wealth that foster traditions, culture, and environmental stewardship. Colin is a former Chief of Staff to Provincial Ministers, senior communications advisor with BC Hydro, and has experience with modular construction during his time with Metric Modular and as a certified social housing manager (CertCIH). However, he is most proud of his work with the Yale First Nation, where they developed ten affordable housing units that were built to the Passive House construction standard - the most energy-efficient homes funded by either INAC or the CHMC for an Indigenous community in Canada.
Today, Colin is the Director of Corporate Development Nexii, which designs and manufactures innovative high-performance buildings and green building products that are sustainable, cost-efficient, and resilient in the face of climate change. Its building solutions have a lower carbon footprint with 20-33% less embodied carbon, use 33% less energy overall and 55% less heating energy.
Councillor Curtis Thomas
Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Warrior Plumbing
Curtis was born and raised in the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and is very proud to call it home. He is an elected councillor and active member of the TWN Community Climate Action Committee. He has been a mechanical contracting professional for nearly two decades. He is a Red Seal certified plumber and a “B” level certified gas fitter, gaining both certifications from BCIT.
He owns and operates Warrior Plumbing, providing mechanical services for new, multi-family residential developments for builders and Indigenous landowners, employing a dozen tradespeople.
Karen Tam Wu
Climate Policy Advisor
Karen Tam Wu is the former regional director of British Columbia at the Pembina Institute, Canada’s leading clean energy think tank. She is also a member of the B.C. government’s Climate Solutions Council.
Through research and collaboration with partners to advance policies that accelerate the switch to renewable energy and cut carbon pollution across sectors, Karen has worked broadly to build a resilient, low carbon economy and create a safe climate.
Karen has been named one of Business in Vancouver’s most influential business leaders in B.C. and a Georgia Straight Trailblazer. She was awarded the Foresight Industry Impact Award and Clean50 Project of the Year.
Previously, Karen worked for over a decade with Indigenous communities, governments, and multi-stakeholder initiatives on important conservation initiatives in B.C. and to implement sustainable forest management around the world.
Sacha Investments Ltd
Kira is committed to a practice that brings visionary, compassionate, and strategic leadership to the systems that drive how we own, steward, and develop land. In her current role as Chief Real Estate Investment Officer for Sacha Investments Ltd, she sources impact investment opportunities in Western Canada, focusing on social purpose real estate that delivers affordable housing, green buildings, sustainable agriculture, and forestry-based carbon sequestration.
From 2012 to 2021, Kira was the Senior Manager in Community Investment at Vancity Credit Union. There, she led a strong team of community investors who craft opportunities in affordable housing, reconciliation and Indigenous business development, and meaningful climate action in finance. She has a passion for finding creative ways to realise everyone’s fundamental right to flourish. Kira believes in the power of local economic development and is innovative in how she invests skills and resources to deliver high impact, scale-able enterprises. Prior to Vancity, Kira was an urban planner with the City of Vancouver in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods. She’s married to an entrepreneur who works with her to parent two teen-aged children. She loves downhill skiing and riding her bike to get around the city.
BC Government Observer / Ex-officio position
Chris has more than 19 years of experience holding progressively more senior roles in both the provincial and federal governments. He is currently the Executive Director of Climate Partnerships & Engagement within the Climate Action Secretariat in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy – joining in August 2018.
Since moving to B.C. in 2007, Chris worked in the economic development and jobs ministry until 2018. There he worked on files such as DM/Cabinet Policy Committee support, green economy; innovation policy; Federal/Provincial relations, industrial development and Indigenous Economic Development.
In Ottawa, he worked within the departments of Industry Canada and Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) providing advice on competitiveness, innovation, regional development, trade and investment, and workplace skills issues.
Chris holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration (UNB); a graduate degree in Development Economics (Dalhousie) and is a certified Economic Developer (Ec.D) (University of Waterloo).
Chris is married with two young daughters that keep him busy outside of work.
ZEIC Start-Up Team
SFU’s Renewable Cities, who was chosen to establish the Metro Vancouver ZEIC, assembled a team of top non-profit start-up, impact investment, governance and community climate action strategists. Advisors with the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, BC Government and private sector were also important in guiding the start-up process and in their support for the organization, read more HERE.
Our gratitude to the Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Centre start-up team: