Inspired Future Brings Bigger Picture and Responsibility Into Focus

Author, economist and political adviser Jeremy Rifkin signs his book at An Inspired Future on June 5.

Inspired Future Brings Bigger Picture and Responsibility Into Focus

Third Industrial Revolution ‘will change the world’: Brookfield Johnson Controls Canada president

TORONTO - With buildings as a focal point in a “Third Industrial Revolution” (TIR) that is already taking hold in Europe and elsewhere, hundreds of business professionals were invited June 5 to help drive the transformation in Canada as well.

Renowned author and Foundation of Economic Trends president Jeremy Rifkin drew this bigger picture at An Inspired Future, an annual forum organized by integrated real-estate management services firm Brookfield Johnson Controls Canada (BJCC) to engage and energize financial and real estate leaders on action for a sustainable future.

 
  Brookfield Johnson Controls Canada president Gord Hicks engages suppliers at the first-ever supplier symposium, held as part of An Inspired Future.

BJCC president and CEO Gord Hicks says Rifkin’s vision provides a viable economic and social framework for a civilization that is at an environmental and economic crossroads with climate change. He says business must not only ask how it can create jobs, wealth and economic growth but also how it can ensure a viable planet for future generations.

“I wanted Jeremy to be able to share his vision with others in Canada and the industry here because I believe we can do better and I think having heard him, you believe we can do better,” Hicks told the gathering of approximately 450 in Toronto.

His question to the audience to take up Rifkin’s challenge and move the TIR forward in Canada met with solid applause.

Attendee John Appleton appreciated the opportunity to convene with others engaging in restorative and sustainable practices and be part of a larger conversation.

A regional vice-president of Bee-Clean Building Maintenance, one of Brookfield Johnson Controls Canada’s suppliers, Appleton says An Inspired Future aims “to encourage and support an environment where we’re all thinking bigger than we currently are, trying to pull us out of our own microcosm of what it is we’re doing and our blinders of our daily activities . . . (and) that theory that I’m responsible just for my piece of the pie.

“And the message very much today is that we’re all responsible for that pie and frankly, it’s overcooked. We either turn down the heat or we’re not going to have much left to work with,” Appleton says.

The forum focuses businesses on their global responsibility to better understand the consequences of their daily activities’ impact, he says.

 
  An Inspired Future participants each received a bag of items in appreciation for their attendance at the June 5 forum.

This understanding is reflected in Bee-Clean’s green cleaning program, which was one of the inaugural recipients of Brookfield Johnson Controls Canada’s supplier innovation awards. They were presented at the first-ever supplier symposium, held as part of An Inspired Future.

Appleton says the program is not a singular one designed for one challenge but a comprehensive effort to help all of Bee-Clean’s clients in various ways with their green goals.

“So we take the messages from today and internalize them and build them into our values and how we deliver service,” he says. “And if we’re not delivering those right values and the right services, what is it we need to change to reflect those values in our entire service offering? What is it we can do differently, do better, what is it we can do to have that positive contribution as a partner with BJCC, as a bigger partner to the global responsibility we have?”

The real estate industry plays a significant role in the TIR, which is unfolding in Europe under a long-term development plan enacted by various European Commission agencies and 27 member states. Rifkin drafted the plan, which was endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007, and it is now spreading to other countries on other continents.

Buildings are transforming into data centres, micro green power plants and transport/logistical hubs that can produce and share energy with the merger of Internet technology and renewable energy.  It’s a paradigm shift from the carbon-based, second industrial revolution born in the 1900s that is expiring and given rise to climate change and economic crisis, Rifkin says.

 
  Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C., shares his vision for a sustainable and prosperous future with hundreds of real estate and other business professionals at the third annual An Inspired Future in Toronto.

His presentation aligned with the focus on change at An Inspired Future. A panel that included Hicks and four others from inventive technology and energy enterprises looked at Canadian drivers for the next industrial revolution.

The supplier symposium, attended by about 100 people, saw several members of BJCC’s Strategic Sourcing team engage suppliers on innovating together for value-added solutions.

As well, An Inspired Future raised $10,000 for Climate Reality Project Canada, a non-profit organization for awareness and action on climate change. Hicks is on the project’s board of directors and a certified Canadian presenter of Al Gore’s The Climate Reality Project.

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