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Tom Kineshanko

Environmental issues leave Canada no time to waste

May 29, 2008

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By Diane Luckow

The carbon market is coming and graduand Tom Kineshanko plans to play a leading role in it.           

Kineshanko spent his last semester planning the transition of his grandfather’s company, Habitat Enterprises, into a firm that specializes in carbon trading, consulting, and project development. The company develops and manages projects that create international-quality carbon-offset credits that can then be sold to companies wanting to be carbon-neutral.

It was during an international exchange semester in Singapore in 2007 that Kineshanko discovered the opportunities in carbon trading. Canada, he says, lags far behind the international market.

"What really drives me to do this in Canada is that I see a real need to push environmental innovation," he says. "It isn’t something we’ve done in Canada on any real scale, relative to Europe and even some parts of Asia. I want to help us catch up. I think we have a real opportunity — and a real risk if we don’t."

So Kineshanko returned home to complete his studies and start his new business. A final honours semester studying sustainability through the business administration program, he says, was particularly helpful in developing ideas and structure for the business.

In his five years at SFU, Kineshanko combined his keen interest in environmental issues with practical business knowledge by pursuing a joint-major in geography and business.

Participating in SFU’s Semester in Dialogue, he says, gave him a social perspective on environmental issues; the final honours semester in sustainable business added a critical business perspective.

Among his many volunteer activities, he was director of finance for Sustainable SFU and now sits on the board of the organization.

"My passion is using the power of business to create as much positive environmental change as possible in the shortest possible time," he says. "It is time we get serious about finding real solutions. I refuse to use my skills to create wealth that doesn’t have a positive environmental impact. I want to create wealth that matters."

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