Merran SmithRoss McMillan, President and CEO of Tides Canada, is pleased to announce the appointment of Merran Smith as Director, Tides Canada Energy Initiative. Through this newly created position, Merran will focus on advancing solutions to move Canada toward a clean energy future.

Previously, Merran was the Climate Director and, prior to that, the BC Coast Forest Director with ForestEthics where she was a key leader designing and negotiating the campaign to protect Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest.  The campaign culminated in one of North America’s largest conservation agreements which protects five million acres of rainforest from logging, and commits to new sustainable logging practices and a new economy in the region.

Merran played a key role in uniting a diverse coalition–First Nations, logging companies, corporations, government and environmentalists. Merran also played an integral role in developing solutions on the coast, including the initiative which raised $120 million in public and private funds to ensure that the ecological gains in the Great Bear Rainforest are coupled with sustainable economic growth for First Nation coastal communities.

In her new role Merran will work in close collaboration with government, industry, environmental organizations, First Nations, communities, philanthropists and others to explore and advance energy solutions as a way to move towards a low-carbon future in Canada to reduce our climate impacts. This new initiative will advance energy solutions through the possible establishment of an energy fund and investing in initiatives that hold the most significant promise for positive change in energy use and alternative economic trajectories for Canada.

“Merran brings a unique blend of visionary leadership and pragmatism to Tides Canada. Her solutions-oriented approach will greatly aid our commitment to mobilize Canadian philanthropy and other parties to invest in energy solutions,” said McMillan. “With a reputation for getting results through collaboration, Merran is the perfect person to help advance effective energy strategies on key issues ranging from transportation and green buildings to renewable energy and conservation.”

Merran holds a biology degree from the University of Victoria. She was the recipient of the Wilburforce Conservation Leadership Award (2006) and the Sierra Club of Canada Award (2001). The conservation agreement in the Great Bear Rainforest was also awarded WWF International’s ‘Gift to the Earth’ Award in 2007.

Merran spent over a decade as an entrepreneur-owner of Variations on a Wave, a video production company that created award-winning documentary videos. Merran also worked with Environment Canada, Parks Canada, and the BC Ministry of the Environment.

Merran currently sits on the boards of the Coast Opportunity Funds and Rights Action Canada. She has served on various boards including the Forest Stewardship Council-BC and Project Accompaniment.