Jim Balsillie to start work at eco-tech non-profit government agency

By Simon Sage on 25 Jun 2013 02:23 pm EDT

It seems a little early to be busting out the "Where Are They Now?" episodes, but BlackBerry's ex-co-CEO Jim Balsillie has just taken on a five-year term as the chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. The SDTC has about $325 million of the government's money to put towards funding clean technologies that fix issues with climate change, air, soil, and water contamination, and improve the the economic and environmental health of Canadians. That mandate spans projects like solar power, waste management, agriculture, transportation, and lots of other areas. 

Though Balsillie has a ton of experience on the business side of Canadian technology and will no doubt settle into the role comfortably, eco-friendliness has never been a big part of BlackBerry's story, and it should be. I've needled BlackBerry reps about the materials they use in their devices before, and there's not a lot of information to be had. When you contrast this with the initiatives launched by other manufacturers (Sony's old GreenHeart program comes to mind), you've got to wonder what's the hold-up. 

In any case, even though Balsillie doesn't have any more official ties with BlackBerry, it's interesting to see where folks go after such a high-profile position. 

Press Release

SDTC Welcomes Appointment of Jim Balsillie as Chair

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 25, 2013) - SDTC is pleased to welcome Jim Balsillie as Chair of its Board of Directors.

Mr. Balsillie has over 20 years of experience at the senior executive level. He is the co-founder and former co-CEO of Research in Motion (BlackBerry), and the founder and current Chair of the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

"This is an exciting time for SDTC, and for cleantech in general, as we set our sights on the dynamic trillion-dollar global cleantech market," said Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of SDTC. "Mr. Balsillie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to SDTC including a deep understanding of the challenges of commercializing innovation, an awareness of the international drivers for sustainable development, and a demonstrated commitment to strong leadership and governance.Together with the Board of Directors, I warmly welcome Mr. Balsillie to SDTC."

Reader comments

Jim Balsillie to start work at eco-tech non-profit government agency


+ 1. Hopefully he will do very well in his new endeavour.

Posted via CB10 from my spectacular Z10

And that's why Crackberry should not stop to ask such delicate questions. Simon, keep on needling them and don't be shy about this. Maybe you must ask them more resolutely. This is a topic which will get more and more pressing fast. While BlackBerry keeps on moving they should show that they care about our resources and environment. And that's why the Q5 should get a big malus in the review regarding the non removable battery. That's something BlackBerry should not get away with as much as I like the company.

So, don't be too kind on this regard, Crackberry! Even if they still have to recover from difficult years it's better they start to act like a green company sooner...

Considering you are forced to buy a new ipod, ipad, macpro,and iphone every year, and they all contain batteries that you cannot remove, besides the fact that the devices use heavy metals, then I would say Apple has a much greater environmental impact on the environment due to hardware turnover for massive profits, bar none

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

Not to give you a hard time, but companies strive to earn profits yes, and we must! However, I own a company and I do take offense to the general belief that this is a bad thing! I would advise anyone never to work for a company that doesn't if you have a choice. Please don't confuse good companies to bad companies. What is a bad company? Well the list can be very long, but there also is a massive list of companies that are good.

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

That's a REALLY simplistic, closed-minded and VERY much a blanket statement from a distinctly capitalist (i.e. historically "American" but now also "Eastern/Chinese") p.o.v. which is solidly rooted in "REactive" (i.e. remedial) eco-activities.
Looking around to other parts of the world, where more eco-centric thinking and action is fostered, you will find that "PROactive" eco-action is MUCH more effective & immediate, efficient, and cost-effective.

Same principle as when you host a large party at your house: if all the guests throw their waste in the right bins (trash, recycling, etc.) AS they finish with it, YOUR clean-up after everyone leaves is good-as-done - all by itself.
IF, on the other hand, everyone leaves "that" stereotypical dorm-room post-party garbage-dump, you're gonna be cleaning until WELL after your hangover disappears.

Especially the Europeans have really mastered this with minimal 'extra' action and costs, yet with great impact and effectiveness.

If BlackBerry starts using more environmentally friendly materials in their phones, I can see it as a great marketing campaign. There are a lot of environmentalists that would go with a company that's trying to help our planet!

Posted via CB10

Yes, but most people don't get that. We waste a lot of energy trying to recycle, but that is OK. Eg newspapers. Most wind up in landfills, out of the public eye yet collected by a special truck! You can only recycle so much paper!

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

I wonder what phone mike and Jim use, especially Jim.

Wonder if they have taken warmly to bb10..

Posted via CB10

Algore agrees with you, and he's made a hundred million from the scam. People still buy his nonsense, too! I hope you at least agree that carbon dioxide is fundamental to life, is not and has never been a pollutant.

Congrats Jim. If only you weren't so aggressive with purchasing an NHL team...could've had a shot. Continued success to you! BlackBerry is in good hands with Thorsten.

Posted via Naked BlackBerry Z10

This is such a naive comment. I agree Thorsten is in good hands, but how do you know how much of his day was spent on an NHL team and how much was on BlackBerry?

I researched the environmental friendliness of BlackBerry not long ago and found that in general mobile device manufacturers were not very environmentally friendly. However RIM (the name at the time) was among the best of the lot. If I can find the link, I'll post it.

Posted via CB10

Someone with forward vision on a role that again requires vision.
Another one bites the dust......

Posted from my amazing Z10 via CB10

Rubber, I meant he could have had a shot a a team, not more success with blackberry.

Posted via Naked BlackBerry Z10

I wonder how long it will take him until he puts this project aside and attempts to bring a hockey to Hamilton again

My z10 is a Leafs fan

If you guys want to see some reading material about BlackBerrys sustainable practises go to blackberry.com and scroll to the bottom. Under the 'Corporate' section you will see a link called 'Corporate Responsibility.' Just a little something I came across a few weeks back. Thought it was interesting. This article reminded me about it.

No worries, he'll ruin them like he almost ruined BlackBerry, then he'll retire with a generous severance package and continue nursing his dreams of owning an NHL team...

Posted via CB10

Good, the farther this guy is from BlackBerry the better... Fu***ng idiot that almost destroyed RIM with his BS hubris. Good riddance !!!

You know the company you work for is useless, when things like "sustainable development" are used to describe it.

SDTC is a waste of tax payers dollars.

I'm glad he's found something... I'm more excited that he left BlackBerry! Because it allowed Thorsten to take command and sail the ship. Jim was focused too much on the NHL... the NHL wasn't focused on him.

Posted via CB10

The negative comments on this topic reminds me of someone who can't let go after a bad breakup. Get over it and stop being so bitter.

He moved on. Take the high road, wish him well and move on.

We should keep to mob rules, and never speak the names of rats, stooges and other generally nefarious characters . So let's not mention him again...

Posted via CB10

Simon .... btw its was SonyEricsson's GreenHeart ... since the split Sony took over; need to be clear on that. Ericsson made the phones in that partnership while Sony designed the latter few years of them.