Inaugural SME Round Table presented by the Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI)

Friday, October 27, 2023 10:00to17:00
Donald E. Armstrong Building Room 365/370, 3420 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 3L1, CA

The Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI) at McGill University is delighted to introduce the inaugural SME Round Table: "SMEs and the Road to Sustainability." SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) constitute a staggering 99.8% of all businesses in Canada, employing 88% of the total private labour force. Our event will explore the challenges that SMEs encounter on their journey toward sustainable transition and growth.


  • 10:00 – 10:15: Opening Remarks by Javad Nasiry, Professor of Operations Management, Director of McGill’s Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI)
  • 10:15 - 11:15: Keynote Speech: Anne-Josée Laquerre, Executive Director and co-founder of Québec Net Positif
    • The progress of Quebec SMEs as they navigate the path towards a low-carbon economy (Presentation in English)
  • 11:15 - 11:45: Daphne Ferguson, Directrice au développement industriel et durable, PME MTL
    • Canal de Lachine 4.0 : initiatives, défis et mesures proposées pour mobiliser et appuyer les PME dans leur transition écologique (Présentation en français)
  • 11:45 - 12:00: Jennie Coleman, President of Equifruit Inc.
    • Equifruit and Global Fairtrade Banana Domination: a Case Study
  • 12:00 – 13:00: Lunch
  • 13:00 – 13:50:
    • Dror Etzion, Professor of Management and Sustainability, University of Vermont Grossman School of Business, Steven Grossman Endowed Chair in Sustainable Business
      • Insights from social science to encourage SME climate action (Presentation in English)
    • Véronique Beaulieu-Fowler, Director of Philanthropic Development of Quebec Food Banks
      • Hunger for Change: Sustainable Innovations to Fight Food Insecurity (Presentation in English)
  • 13:50 – 15:00: Panel: Food Convergence Innovation: A Digital-Powered, Person-Centered, Ecosystem-Building Approach to Achieving Economically Viable Enterprise and Sector Sustainability
    • Laurette Dubé, Professor, James McGill Chair of Consumer and Lifestyle Psychology & Chair and Scientific Director, McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics
    • Mehmet Gumus, Professor at McGill University, Co-founder of Analytica
    • Jonathan L. Belanger, Founder and CEO of Maturin Inc.
    • Louis Frenette, President and CEO of Colabor
    • Felipe Almeida, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Education, Microsoft Green Design Lab Co-Lead
  • 15:00 – 15:15: Coffee break
  • 15:15 – 16:05:
    • Hamid Etemad, Professor of International Business and Marketing, McGill Desautels School of Management
      • Canadian SMEs and Challenges of Environment, Sustainability & Governance: Analysis and Implications (Presentation in English)
    • Francesca Bonetti, Assistant Professor of Marketing at HEC Montréal & Visiting Scholar at University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business
      • An Investigation into the Impacts of Brexit, COVID-19 and Climate Change/ Sustainability on the UK Fashion and Textile Industry
  • 16:05 – 17:00: Networking session

About Anne-Josée Laquerre, M.Sc., APR

As Executive Director and Co-founder of Québec Net Positif, Anne-Josée works to raise awareness, mobilize, and equip businesses to accelerate their transition to a low-carbon economy. Anne-Josée is the recipient of a 2020 Clean50 award that recognizes her as one of the 50 Canadians who have contributed the most to accelerating the country’s green economy. Anne-Josée co-founded Québec Net Positif and assumes its general management after having worked for over 25 years in corporate social responsibility and public relations with major companies: Aimia, Bombardier Aerospace, Merck Frosst, FPInnovations, Domtar and Noranda. She has also worked as a sustainable development consultant for Maillon Vert and Millani.

During her time as Director of Social Purpose, Aimia was twice recognized by Corporate Knights as one of the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada.

A Certified Public Relations Professional with a Master of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the École des Hautes Études Commerciales in Montreal, Anne-Josée completed Harvard University's Executive Program: 'Aligning Sustainability with Corporate Performance' and served on the Board of Directors of Montreal's Sustainable Finance Initiative. She was a recipient of the Directors College 'Diversity on Boards' Fellowship (2018), funded by McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada.

Parking located near McGill's downtown campus: The Montreal Parkopedia website provides information about parking near the downtown campus, including several private non-McGill parking lots and garages open to the public. The Parkopedia website is not maintained by McGill and is provided for informational purposes only.

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