Community-centred climate innovation

Working together, working better. As climate change intensifies, impacts will be felt and changes can be made at the community level. Simon Fraser University's unique approach to this is community-centred climate innovation, founded on community partnerships, innovation and a deep commitment to Indigenous knowledges and perspectives.  

community-centred climate innovation

As patterns of temperature and precipitation change over time, impacts are projected to grow in frequency and severity, resulting in climate hazards that will affect most Canadians. Communities will be challenged to adapt to the changing climate, while simultaneously reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in-line with the country’s net-zero emissions by 2050 targets.

SFU is leading the way in community-centred climate innovation (C3I). Different communities require different climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies and strategies. We take a community-first approach to co-develop and co-implement innovative solutions to address climate change. We are working with our local and global partners—and looking for new collaborators—to co-develop and successfully implement transformative policy solutions and cleantech innovations that meet the community-specific needs of people and their communities and enable economic opportunities.



Earth Sciences Professor and Chair Glyn Williams-Jones and his colleagues have studied major volcanoes and other natural hazards all over the world. His research supports climate change adaptation and resilience by helping Canadian communities understand and prepare for specific climate-related geological hazards. He is one of many SFU researchers working with partners on community-centred climate innovation. Recently, he and his team have been studying the potential hazards and green energy benefits of an active volcano close to home.

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Indigenous wellbeing as a foundation for caring about the places that sustain us

Professor of Indigenous Business Dara Kelly is from the Leq’á:mel First Nation, part of the Stó:lō Coast Salish. Kelly leads research on the concept of Indigenous wellbeing and quality of life, recognizing that human wellbeing is very much interconnected with the wellbeing of the places that sustain us. Respecting Indigenous knowledges, re-connecting to lands and territories and focusing on community-informed climate innovation is key to building a more sustainable world for future generations.  

Learn more about Professor Kelly

Helping Build More Sustainable and Just Cities

What are cities' roles in addressing climate justice and sustainability? SFU professor Andréanne Doyon is laying the groundwork for building more sustainable cities and communities—work that is urgently needed to address climate change while creating more just and equitable societies. When it comes to energy justice, she is interested in the benefits and burdens people experience related to energy systems. Her work seeks to investigate where injustices emerge, who is affected or ignored, and what processes exist for remediation to reveal and reduce injustices.

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Chemistry Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier I ) Steven Holdcroft has spent over 30 years researching and developing advanced materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage—materials that are vital to the creation of sustainable energy conversion technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers. He leads the Holdcroft Research Laboratory at SFU, where breakthrough discoveries have resulted in new and environmentally friendlier polymers offering clean energy solutions and technologies to help combat climate change. 

See the impact being made

Co-Creating With Communities

Three foundational approaches that inform our research are: community partnerships; innovation; and valuing of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives.

Our Canadian communities are being forever altered by climate change. Extreme flooding, devastating wildfires and droughts affecting many communities are recent examples. As a global leader in sustainability, SFU brings world-class research into close contact with community in order to support their climate adaptation, mitigation and long-term sustainability goals using a low carbon resiliency (LCR) lens.

SFU is recognized as a leader in global sustainability

SFU’s international sustainability strengths include:

  • Climate resiliency and adaptation research;
  • Sustainable policy development;
  • Clean energy innovation;
  • Informing net zero transition for industry; and
  • Community engagement with a deep commitment to Indigenous knowledges and practices.

How We Help

Community Focused

We are helping communities reduce their risks and vulnerabilities to climate change impacts over time, and move towards net-zero carbon goals, while advancing priorities such as equity, biodiversity, and socially and environmentally sustainable economic development.

Leverage SFU Expertise

Our community partners can leverage our expertise and capacities to develop climate change solutions that meet their specific needs. SFU is providing local communities with the expertise and capacity to develop bottom-up, community-based solutions and innovations to address the impacts of climate change.

Impactful Partners

While local communities are our main partners, SFU has an extensive list of national and international collaborators.

Partner With Us

With our expertise, strengths, capacity and collaborations, we can help Canada further establish itself as a global leader in climate action and achieve the net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Working together, working better. Through SFU’s integrated approach, we can make an impact on the climate crisis. Community-centred climate innovation will take us there.