Vancouver: Vision of a Green City
Planting a seed for a sustainable future in Guayaquil, Ecuador


On Thursday, September 8th, 2011, Vancouver: Vision of a Green City was held at the Convention Center of Guayaquil. The conference was opened by John Megson, the President of the Ecuadorian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce of Guayaquil,  with the presence of the Senior Trade Commissioner, Ms. Barbara Nadeau, from the Canadian Embassy, and Luzmila Nicolalde, the Vice-Prefecta of the Province of Guayas.  Mrs.Nicolalde addressed the audience by highlighting the Province’s commitment to improving the quality of life for its residents and preserving the natural environment. Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of building new relationships with other provinces and cities in the world such as Vancouver that share common values. To demonstrate this she presented an official letter to Mr. Mark Hartman, Green Buildings Program Manager from the City of Vancouver, with the intention of establishing closer relations with the Municipality of Vancouver.

The conference was led by six Sustainability experts from Vancouver, BC, representing different sectors including Green Business, Green Construction, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Tourism and Ports. Despite the diversity of these speakers, the presentations were all united by the common vision and goal of Vancouver, which is to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.

The Canadian guest-speakers included:
  • Mark Hartman - Green Buildings Manager, the City of Vancouver
  • Paul Vallee - Vicepresident, Tourism Vancouver
  • Darrell Desjardin - Sustainability Director, Port Metro Vancouver
  • Dave Waldron - Consultant, Synapse Strategies
  • James Miller - Director of Strategic Investments, Vancity Group, and Dockside Green
  • Boyd Cohen - Consultant, CO2IMPACT

Additionally, we had the pleasure of welcoming Alex Vargas, from AV Renewable Energy. Alex who has more than 25 years working in the Renewable Energy industry, was integral to the conversation on this day, as he was able to share some sustainability initiatives already implemented in Ecuador, as well as an Ecuadorian perspective on Sustainability.

These interesting and thought provoking presentations were met by an audience equally diverse, with representatives of the provincial government, businesses, and universities, including students, and professors. The audience was engaged and notably interested in learning more about the experience of Vancouver and how it can be applied to Guayaquil’s journey toward Sustainability.

Finally, the day was concluded with a round-table discussion led by Sustainability Consultant, Sonja Janousek, which allowed the speakers to give a collaborative perspective on Vancouver's Journey and interact with the audience. Topics such as how one can inspire change within a community or an organization were discussed. Dave Waldron, Sustainability Consultant, noted that the key lies in identifying "champions" in organizations: people who are committed to sustainability and inspiring change within the organization or the community.

To continue the dialogue, on the day following the conference, the Chamber invited businesses, non-governmental and governmental organizations to participate in business meetings with the guest-speakers. These meetings were important as they gave the participants and speakers the opportunity to make contacts, and create relationships to facilitate the creation of future sustainability initiatives.

It was an incredible opportunity to learn from the perspective of Vancouver, and most importantly, engage with multiple stakeholders throughout this event about the possibilities for sustainability initiatives, and sustainable development in Guayaquil, and the province of Guayas. Through the success of this two day event, the Ecuadorian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce of Guayaquil, not only raised awareness about the importance of Sustainability, but also planted a seed for a sustainable future for Guayaquil and long-term relationships with Vancouver. The Chamber plans to continue engaging with the various stakeholders in Ecuador and Canada, with whom relationships were developed through this event, to continue the process of sustainability for Guayaquil.

Mr. John Megson, President of the Ecuadorian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce of Guayaquil states that:
“The Chamber hopes that from this conference, we will be able to continue the dialogue between the two cities and foster the beginning of long term relationships in sustainability in many fields.”

Thank you to all our sponsors, collaborators, and supporters that helped make this event possible. A special thanks to Mark Hartman, Darryl Desjardin, Paul Vallee, Dave Waldron, James Miller, and Boyd Cohen for their fantastic presentations and for making the long trip from Vancouver, Canada, to Guayaquil, Ecuador. 

left to right: Sonja Janousek, Paul Vallee, James Miller, Alex Vargas, John Megson, Boyd Cohen, Darrell Desjardin, Mark Hartman, Dave Waldron

Platinum Sponsor


Bronze sponsors:




With the support of the Canadian Embassy in Ecuador


Special thanks to CIDA


Sonja Janousek, Sustainabile Development Consultant, and round-table facilitator of this event, shares the success of this event on her website:

"The conference was a real treat as it is rare to get an opportunity to hear how different sectors work together towards a common vision and goal.We heard from representatives of local government, the port authority, tourism, financial industry, and individual consultants. We learned that it is important to have clear environmental goals and indicators in areas such as construction, water and energy quality and consumption, waste management, transportation, food, business and community.

We learned about successful initiatives in Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler where residents are learning first hand what it means to live a low impact lifestyle. We learned how these examples are drawing tourists to the city and helping to replicate green buildings and communities around the world. We heard from all speakers that green projects are profitable and make investment sense.

And finally, we learned that sustainability/green living is a journey, that along with progress, mistakes will be made, but that they are necessary for learning. We heard about the importance of engaging stakeholders in creating a common vision and then developing pathways towards this vision.

For me, it is clear that progress and success are directly related to both individual and group commitment to a common vision and the journey it takes to get there."

Photos from Vancouver: Vision of a Green City