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McGill’s Sustainable Growth Initiative answers the call for businesses transitioning toward a sustainable economy

Partnerships pave the way toward a brighter and greener future

McGill Sustainable Growth Initiative

Left to right: Michael Keroullé, Kim Thomassin, Yolande Chan and Olivier Desmarais

Photo Credit: Owen Egan

McGill University is proud to announce the launch of the Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI), a new hub dedicated to providing businesses with actionable solutions for building a more sustainable economy. In collaboration with academia, industry partners and policy makers, the cross-faculty venture will help businesses that aim for profitability while having a positive social and environmental impact achieve sustainable growth. Through research-to-action projects, engagement workshops, global student competitions, thought leadership and education, it will address some of the key challenges businesses face every day.

“In a post-pandemic landscape, the SGI will bring together academics, students, industry, and policy leaders to lead the charge at McGill on research, engagement, and education, and create practical solutions for businesses,” said Javad Nasiry, incoming SGI Director and Associate Professor of Operations Management at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management.

“The goal is to align academic initiatives on sustainable growth with the priorities of industry leaders,” added Sebastien Betermier, SGI founding member and Associate Professor of Finance at Desautels. 

The initiative will benefit from over $1.4 million in initial support from its founding partners: global alternative asset manager Power Sustainable, international management and holding company Power Corporation of Canada, institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and global smart and sustainable mobility solutions leader Alstom, as well as individual donors.

“Power Sustainable is pleased to be one of the SGI’s instigators and to foster a community that will help further the development of solutions to complex business challenges through peer collaboration,” stated Olivier Desmarais, Chairman and CEO of Power Sustainable. “As an investment manager dedicated to sustainable development, we know first-hand the great value of investing in meaningful, lasting growth, both on the social and environmental fronts.”

“The CDPQ is proud to be one of the founding partners of this new initiative, which places ESG at the heart of its research priorities,” said Kim Thomassin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Quebec for CDPQ. “I am convinced that this partnership between the business and academic communities will allow the development of innovative solutions to support companies in the implementation of sustainable growth strategies.”

“Responding to complex sustainability challenges such as urbanization, climate change or the increasing need for mobility requires collective sharing of knowledge on good practices, solid business models and latest available technologies,” said Michael Keroullé, President of Alstom Americas. “The SGI’s data-driven approach will allow for informed and comprehensive decisions by business and public decision makers on sustainable development in transportation. For Alstom, a globally recognized leader in sustainable mobility, it is a natural partnership.”

The financial contributions of Power Sustainable, Power Corporation of Canada, CDPQ and Alstom have catalyzed the SGI’s initial funding, opening it up to corporations and individuals who wish to support the initiative. 

“We are grateful for the ground-breaking contributions from our founding partners and look forward to using this solid foundation to build the SGI into a fully fledged institute,” affirmed Yolande Chan, Dean of McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management. “It is our hope that the SGI inspires even more thinkers and doers to join us in this collaborative effort toward a brighter and greener future.”

Any individuals or corporations interested in partnering with the SGI can  (for corporations) or (for individuals).