Session Information

Accelerating the Energy Transition

Date: Thursday, March 3

Time: 8:15am - 9:30am

Format: Mini Plenary

Join Michael Porter, one of the world’s most influential thinkers on management and competitiveness, as he shares his views on energy markets, the vital need for collaboration, and what has to happen in order to speed the transition to a cleaner-energy, lower-carbon future, and create a win-win plan for the economy and the environment while meeting the goals of industry, environmental stakeholders, and governments.  Following Michael’s keynote will be a dynamic discussion featuring Canada’s top energy CEOs and civil society leaders from Canada and the US.

Topic Speakers

Michael Porter is an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher. Throughout his career at Harvard Business School, he has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment, and health care. His extensive research is widely recognized in governments, corporations, NGOs, and academic circles around the globe. His research has received numerous awards, and he is the most cited scholar today in economics and business. While Michael Porter is, at the core, a scholar, his work has also achieved remarkable acceptance by practitioners across multiple fields.

Dr. Porter’s initial training was in aerospace engineering at Princeton University. He then earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard’s Department of Economics. His research approach—applying economic theory to complex systemic problems—reflects these multidisciplinary foundations. In 2000, Harvard Business School and Harvard University jointly established the Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness to provide a home for his research.
Research & Scholarship

Michael Porter’s early work was on industry competition and company strategy, where he was the pioneer in utilizing economic theory to develop a more rigorous understanding of industry competition and the choices companies make to compete. In addition to advancing his home field of industrial organization economics, Michael Porter’s work has defined the modern strategy field. His ideas, published in books and articles including Competitive Strategy (1980), Competitive Advantage (1985), and What is Strategy (1996) are taught in virtually every business school in the world as well as extensively in economics and other disciplines. He continues to write about competition and strategy today. His November 2014 article, How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition, addresses the role of information technology in strategy. Dr. Porter’s original work on industry structure, the value chain, and strategic positioning has informed much of his other research.

Dr. Porter next turned to economic development and competitiveness, where his work focused on the microeconomic underpinnings of national and regional economic development. His book The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990) was the initial foundation of this body of work. This large body of work includes numerous theoretical and empirical papers on the concept of clusters and their impact on economic performance. He also created the Cluster Mapping Project, which pioneered the rigorous measurement of economic geography and has become the standard in the U.S., Europe, and a growing number of other countries. His theories are widely applied by both government policymakers and economic development practitioners globally.

In environmental policy, Dr. Porter proposed the “Porter Hypothesis” in the early 1990s, which put forward the novel theory that strict environmental standards were not in conflict with company profitability or national competitiveness, but could enhance both. The Porter Hypothesis has given rise to several hundred scholarly articles in the literature on environmental economics.

Dr. Porter also developed a body of work on the role of corporations in society. His ideas have changed the way companies approach philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, and he introduced the concept of creating shared value in a 2011 paper with Mark Kramer that shows how capitalism itself can be the best route to real solutions to many social problems. Michael Porter has also led the development of the conceptual framework underlying the new Social Progress Index. First released in 2014 and covering 132 countries, the Index rigorously measures each country’s social progress across multiple dimensions to complement traditional measurement focused solely on economic performance and GDP per capita.

Finally, since the early 2000s, Michael Porter has devoted considerable attention to the economics of health care, with a focus on building the intellectual framework for realigning the delivery of health care to maximize value to patients (patient health outcomes achieved per dollar spent). First in Redefining Health Care (2006, with Elizabeth Teisberg), and through a series of articles including What is Value in Health Care (2010) and The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care (2013, with Thomas Lee), Dr. Porter has introduced the core concepts for reorganizing health care delivery organizations, measuring patient outcomes, understanding the actual cost of care by medical condition, designing value-based reimbursement models, and integrating multi-location health systems, among others. This work, collectively known as value-based health care delivery, is diffusing rapidly in the literature and among practitioners.

Other Activities & Honors
Michael Porter has taught generations of students at Harvard Business School and across the entire University, as well as business, government, and health care leaders from around the world. He serves as an advisor to business, government, and the social sector. He has been strategy advisor to leading U.S. and international companies, served on Fortune 500 public boards, and played an active role in U.S. economic policy at the federal and state levels. He has worked with heads of state from around the world on economic development strategy.

Michael Porter has founded or co-founded four non-profit organizations growing out of his scholarly work: The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, which addresses economic development in distressed urban communities; the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which creates rigorous tools for measuring foundation effectiveness; FSG, a leading non-profit strategy firm serving corporations, NGOs, and foundations in improving social value creation; and the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM), which develops global patient outcome standards and risk factors by medical condition and drives their adoption globally.

Michael Porter is the author of nineteen books and more than 125 articles. He has won many scholarly awards and honors including the Adam Smith Award of the National Association of Business Economists, the John Kenneth Galbraith Medal, the David A. Wells Prize in Economics from Harvard, and the Academy of Management’s highest award for scholarly contributions to management. He is also an unprecedented seven-time winner of the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year.

Professor Porter is the recipient of twenty-two honorary doctorates and several national and state honors. He received the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce for his contribution to economic development, and has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and other honorary societies. In 2000, he was named a University Professor by Harvard University, the highest recognition that can be awarded to a Harvard faculty member.
For further information, see the web site of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. ( 

Tzeporah Berman BA, MES, LLD (honoris causa) has been designing environmental campaigns and working on environmental policy in Canada and beyond for over twenty years.  She is an Adjunct Professor of York University Faculty of Environmental Studies and works as a strategic advisor to a number of First Nations, environmental organizations and philanthropic foundations on climate and energy issues.  She is the former co-director of Greenpeace International's Global Climate and Energy Program and Co-founder of ForestEthics.

Last year Tzeporah was appointed to the BC Government Climate Leadership Team tasked with making policy recommendations to meet BC legislated climate targets.  Also in 2015, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in British Columbia. Tzeporah was appointed by the Premier of British Columbia to the Green Energy Task Force in 2009 to design recommendations for the development of renewable energy in the region. Tzeporah was one of the experts in Leonardo Di Caprio's environmental documentary 11th Hour, was one of six Canadian nominees for the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has been profiled as one of 50 Visionaries Changing the World in Utne Reader and as "Canada's Queen of Green" in the cover story for Readers Digest.  She was honoured by inclusion into the BC Royal Museum permanent exhibit of one of 150 people who have changed the face of British Columbia.

In 2013, Tzeporah was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of British Columbia, Corporate Knights named her one of the Top Women in Sustainability (Canada), and she was nominated for Climate Woman of the Year by Responding to Climate Change. She is the Canadian Ambassador for World Future Council Global 100%RE, a fellow of the Broadbent Institute and Planet in Focus' 2014 Canada Eco-Hero.

Tzeporah was one of the creators and lead negotiators of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement and the Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative. Her work has contributed to the protection of over 40 million hectares of old growth forests.  More recently Tzeporah helped to design Greenpeace International's Arctic campaign, the Volkswagen campaign in Europe and the Clean Our Cloud campaign that led to Apple and Facebook becoming international leaders in using renewable energy for their data centers.

This year Tzeporah was listed as one of the 35 Most Influential Women in British Columbia by BC Business Magazine and awarded the Brescia Women’s College Lifetime Leadership Award.   Her first book, This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge was recently published by Knopf Canada. Twitter/Tzeporah.


Shawn McCarthy is the global energy reporter for The Globe and Mail, working in the paper’s Ottawa bureau for the Report on Business.

In that role, Mr. McCarthy covers the energy sector, including oil and gas, nuclear, renewable energy and demand side issues. He deals with major economic trends at a national, continental and international level, with a particular focus on federal policy and environmental regulations. He also covers environmental issues such as climate change and nuclear waste disposal. Among other stories, Mr. McCarthy has covered the Paris climate summit; the federal government’s changes to environmental approval process for major resource projects, and the rapidly changing dynamics in North American oil and gas production. He was nominated for a National Newspaper Award for his coverage of the energy sector in 2009.

Prior to assuming the energy beat in 2006, Mr. McCarthy served as The Globe’s New York correspondent for three years, with responsibility for business, politics and human interest stories, including the aftermath of 9/11. While there, he covered several high-profile corporate fraud trials including Enron in Houston and Martha Stewart. He was also part of The Globe’s team covering the 2004 U.S. election campaign.

Mr. McCarthy served as the parliamentary bureau chief for The Globe and Mail from 2000 to 2003, and prior to that, wrote on finance and economic policy, including the previous Liberal government deficit battle in the 1990s. He has worked as a business reporter for the Toronto Star and for The Canadian Press. He began his journalism career in Alberta, working briefly for the Calgary Sun and at Ted Byfield’s Alberta Report magazine.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. McCarthy attended the University of Alberta as a foreign student and attained a bachelor’s degree in English literature. He met his wife, Karen, at the UofA and never went home, though he remains an ardent Phillies and Eagles fan. He also has a master’s degree in journalism from Carleton University, and completed the Canadian Securities Course. He has four grown children.






Diane is responsible for developing Environmental Defense Fund’s overall strategy, as well as driving and delivering on the organization’s vision. A lifelong environmental advocate, Diane is optimistic and solutions-oriented. She excels at finding effective partners and practical responses to complex environmental problems that encourage prosperity and stewardship both domestically and internationally.

Diane expanded the scope and ambition of EDF’s latest strategic plan, and everything she does at EDF is in service to the plan’s success. From her work redirecting and recalibrating the organization’s approach to global climate change to identifying new ways to open markets to clean energy financing, Diane’s deep expertise and leadership guide all aspects of EDF’s work, in close partnership with President Fred Krupp.

Prior to joining EDF in 2006, Diane spent 20 years developing and supporting scientifically sound bipartisan solutions to environmental challenges at Environmental Protection Agency, where she managed billions of dollars and thousands of employees. “Diane Regas has long been recognized as having star quality,” said William K. Reilly, who was EPA Administrator under President George H.W. Bush. “She is internationally respected for sound judgment, warm and congenial temperament, and can-do energy and resourcefulness.” Carol Browner, President Clinton’s EPA Administrator, said that Diane “has [for decades] proven herself a steadfast defender of our environment and public health.”

Diane has consistently demonstrated a commitment to strong science and bipartisan solutions throughout her career. She’s served both Republican and Democratic presidents; Diane advised President Clinton as a senior policy analyst in the White House on environmental and natural resource issues, and she also chaired President George W. Bush’s interagency task force on oceans.

Her 20 years at EPA were defined by award-winning work protecting our rivers, lakes, bays, and oceans. After the 9/11 attacks, Diane led EPA efforts to protect U.S. drinking water. She conceived and implemented a +$100 million effort to quickly ramp up our understanding of drinking water security and the actions required to address these threats, in partnership with national labs and state and local governments. In 2003 she received a Presidential Rank Award for “exceptional long-term accomplishments,” one of the most prestigious awards for civil service employees.

Over the five years she led EDF’s Oceans program, Diane quadrupled EDF’s work in this sector, advocating reforms in the United States, Europe, and Mexico. These reforms put overfishing on the decline and have so far saved enough fish to provide 17 million people their seafood for an entire year. In the five years that followed, when Diane led EDF’s full suite of programs, she grew EDF’s climate work and created new paths for clean energy choices around the world. Through partnerships and EDF’s signature focus on science and economics, Diane has empowered EDF staff around the world to deliver cleaner air, safer products, and stronger ecosystems that support all life on earth. 

Diane was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar in 2006 and the California Bar in 1987 (now inactive). Diane is an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley; J.D., M.S. (Energy and Resources), A.B. (History). She lives in California with her husband, who is also an environmental advocate, and is a proud mother and grandmother.


Recent speaking engagements:

Bloomberg U.S.-China Think Tank Symposium (September 2015), Fortune Brainstorm E (September 2015), Aspen Institute Aspen Ideas Festival (June/July 2015), ASPIRE Forum (June 2014), The Milken Institute Global Forum (April 2015)


Steve Williams is President & Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc.

Steve’s career with Suncor began in May 2002 when he was appointed executive vice-president, Corporate Development and chief financial officer.  He has also served as executive vice-president, Oil Sands and chief operating officer.

Steve has more than 38 years of international energy industry experience, including 18 years at Esso/Exxon.  Steve is a fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is a member of the Institute of Directors.  He is one of 12 founding CEOs of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), a member of the advisory board of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, and a member of the Business Council of Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives).  Steve also serves as vice-chair of the Alberta Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy.  In November, 2015, he was chosen as the CEO of the Year by the Globe & Mail, Report on Business Magazine. 

He is active in the community, having co-chaired the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala in Calgary as part of the 2014 Celebration of Excellence in Alberta that raised proceeds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation.  He also serves as co-chair of Indspire’s “Building Brighter Futures Campaign”.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Exeter University and is a graduate of the advanced management program at Harvard Business School as well as the business economics program at Oxford University.