Vancouver has always been at the fore in protecting and preserving the environment. In early 2022, it embarked on a new chapter with the official launch of the Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Centre. More commonly known as the ZEIC, seeded by a $21.7 million endowment from the federal government, the Centre is an independent, not-for-profit organization that will accelerate and scale climate action innovation across the Metro Vancouver region.
The Centre’s mission is purpose-built: “to advance policy innovation, facilitate capacity building and collaboration, and catalyse market investments to accelerate zero emissions innovation in collaboration with local governments.”
Leading the ZEIC is Melina Scholefield. No stranger to advancing green initiatives, Melina joined the Centre as its first executive director after working in municipal government with the City of Vancouver for more than a decade. As Manager, Green Infrastructure Implementation, Melina and her team spearheaded an ambitious, cross-departmental green rainwater infrastructure and urban rainwater management initiative known as the Rain City Strategy. She also advanced key City sustainability goals under its bold Greenest City 2020 initiative, including championing urban climate protection, renewable energy, climate change adaptation and green-building programs. Beyond city government, Melina worked in the private sector as a green infrastructure instructor, a green building project consultant and a Built Green-certified residential builder focused on passive house design and construction methods. In 2020, she was named Water Steward of the Year by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association for her leadership and impact in the Canadian Water industry. In 2021, she received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Environmental Sustainability.
As a champion of green initiatives and sustainability, Melina is excited to be leading the ZEIC — an organization she views as vital to Vancouver and the region’s future.
“Going forward, in the years and decades ahead, the ZEIC will play a vital role in shaping how the city and the region mitigate the impact of climate change. This role is clearly set out in the Centre’s vision, ‘of achieving zero emissions by 2050 through mass, transformation innovations in buildings, transportation, energy supply and other GHG-intensive sectors.’”
On a personal note, Melina is thrilled to be working directly with the ZEIC’s founding supporters in British Columbia — the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Simon Fraser University (SFU), the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, and the Province of British Columbia. Beyond BC, that support network extends to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the six existing members of the greater LC3 Network in Calgary, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the Halifax Region, the Montreal Metropolitan Community and Ottawa.
“Meaningful change only happens when there is true collaboration,” says Melina. “As we ramp up our activities, we have trusted partners in British Columbia and across the country that will be partners in our journey to create renewable cities in the Metro Vancouver region.