Why Sustainability Needs to Be Your New Economic Development Strategy

Watch the webinar on-demand above


Environmental sustainability has been wrapped in politics since the idea was born. Why else would there be resistance in so many places to the idea that people need clean air, clean water, clean soil and a climate that sustains their lives? 

But as politics and public perception have slowly evolved, technology has changed even faster. Just one example: a few years ago, limiting greenhouse gas emissions seemed politically impossible because of the hard choices it would force on us.  But huge progress in renewable energy and batteries now make it look almost easy to achieve a low-emission economy as people vote with their money electric vehicles and other innovations. 

Today, every community faces both opportunity and challenge.  The opportunity is to tap into one of the biggest growth markets in history, from electric vehicles and wind power to climate resilience and low-emission manufacturing processes.  The challenge is to successfully pivot your economic development strategy to attract innovators, support existing firms, engage investors and make sustainability a pillar of your strategy. In this webinar, ICF invites economic developers from its network of Intelligent Communities to take us inside their decision-making on the transition from “just being green” to making sustainability an integral part of economic strategy. 

Speakers include:

Héctor Cañas
Senior Consultant - Smart Cities
BABLE Smart Cities

Héctor Cañas is Senior Consultant at BABLE, a purpose-driven organisation dedicated to accelerating change for a better urban life. Héctor is a Civil Engineer and holds a Master of Science in Environmental Process Engineering from the University of Stuttgart. He has worked together with different Spanish cities and municipalities developing their Smart City agenda and investment roadmaps, and has led EU-funded research projects in smart and automated mobility, and Positive Energy Districts.


Steve Furness
Manager of Economic Development & Tourism
Grey County, Ontario, Canada

Steve Furness is the Manager of Economic Development and Tourism for Grey County and has been in municipal economic development over the last 20 years. Learning from past economic cycles and post covid, Steve sees numerous opportunities for growth and investment in traditional sectors as well as new ones. Steve is a graduate of Western University and the University of Waterloo, and was previously employed as an economist with Parks Canada.


Robert Bell
Intelligent Community Forum

Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research, analysis and content development activities. He directs the multi-stage analysis of communities for the annual Intelligent Community Awards program and authors the in-depth profiles of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities that are core to ICF's mission. Robert developed and leads the Intelligent Community Master Class and Community Accelerator programs, as well as ICF's advisory services for communities, and is a frequent speaker at municipal and telecom events.

Register Now

June 01, 2023 at 11:00am - 12:15pm | Eastern Time (US & Canada)