Home » Environment » Future of Our Planet 2023 » Diverse Perspectives of Women Help Solve Complex Climate Change Challenges
Carole Barbeau

Carole Barbeau

Global Director, eGRID, Hatch

Kathleen Vukovics

Kathleen Vukovics

Regional Director, Environmental Services Group, Hatch

In the fight against climate change, women can be change-makers. Here’s how Hatch is empowering women to drive the green revolution.

Climate change is today’s most pressing environmental challenge. “It impacts both human health and biodiversity at the planet scale and we cannot escape it,” says Carole Barbeau, Global Director of eGRID at Hatch — a global, privately-owned engineering and project delivery company headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. “Nearly half of the world’s population is already living in areas that are highly vulnerable to climate change, exposing them to more frequent weather disasters, food and water shortages, and vector-borne diseases, so the call to action has never been more warranted.”


Hatch’s sectors of activities are Energy, Metals and Minerals, and Infrastructure. “These sectors are all at the very core of the energy transition and net-zero goal, and so I believe Hatch can play a high-impact role here,” says Barbeau. “In the Energy sector, we help our customers in developing and accelerating renewable power generation and integrating more and more renewable sources of electricity into power grid systems. As the energy transition requires specific resources, such as lithium, nickel, or graphite for the manufacturing of bulk electric battery energy storage systems and wind turbines, we help our customers in mining ore and refining metals in a more efficient and sustainable way. In the infrastructure sector, we help build resilience for enabling adaptation to a changing climate” says Barbeau.

Women bring unique strengths to driving positive change

Women — with their unique perspectives and leadership traits — can be effective change agents in driving the green revolution.

“Women, in general, tend to present the intrinsic ability to understand the social and intergenerational dimensions and their associated interrelations, because women think in terms of time horizons that span the lives of their children and grandchildren,” says Barbeau. “There’s also been a lot of reported evidence in developing countries showing women being key at combatting resource loss and at improving food security, which was linked to their cultural and practical knowledge of the environment and resource conservation. There are many cases of women playing a vital role in dealing with disasters by effectively mobilizing their community toward concrete ways of reducing risk, managing risk, and adapting,” says Barbeau.

“These innate instincts, skills, and modes of thinking can be indispensable when dealing with complex, multi-dimensional social and environmental challenges like climate change,” adds Kathleen Vukovics, Regional Director of the Environmental Services Group at Hatch.

Driving our transition to a sustainable future through women’s leadership

Recognizing this, Hatch has incorporated a formal commitment to leverage the perspectives of women and measure progress in its diversity and inclusion policy. “It’s widely acknowledged that diversity and inclusion foster plurality of thought and perspectives including those needed to respond to climate change,” says Vukovics. Having this policy is helping to remove barriers to recruiting and retaining women. “Within our Environmental Services Group at Hatch, for example, we have a very strong representation of women in leadership positions at 60 percent, with more than 50 percent of our global staff comprised of women,” notes Vukovics.

The energy transition field, and the environmental fields more broadly, offer immense opportunities for women to become leaders and make a positive change in the world. “The energy value chain is undergoing an extreme transformation, which is being driven by the conjunction of the need for combatting climate change, new technologies, and the expansion of electrification. As a result, industry segments that never overlapped in the past are now converging and creating new paradigms that challenge the way energy has been generated, distributed, and used in the last 100 years. It’s really an exciting time, and one calling for more women to be contributing to,” says Barbeau.

Both Barbeau and Vukovics encourage young women aspiring to be change makers in the environmental sector, or any STEM field, to recognize and leverage their unique leadership traits and exercise them in a confident manner. “Complex issues like climate change are going to take diverse perspectives to solve, so don’t be afraid to offer your authentic point of view,” says Vukovics.

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