It’s Canopy’s 20th Anniversary, and There’s No Better Time to Look to the Future


By Nicole Rycroft

In Fall of 2018, I was eating at restaurant in New York when the server’s tee-shirt caught my attention. It had three simple words on it: Be More Heroic.

At another time I may have glossed over the message as perfect fodder for the bumper of a car. But with scientists compressing the timeline for climate action to 2030, the severity of biodiversity decline being revealed as en par with the last Mass Extinction, and governments failing to take meaningful environmental action, the front of that hipster tee did more than catch my eye; it inspired me.


Canopy has enjoyed significant success in its first 20 years. Our focus on magnifying our impact beyond our resources has enabled us to consistently punch above our weight. We have moved from being a British Columbia conservation organization to a global powerbroker for environmental change. We have driven or contributed to some of the most exciting conservation and sustainable consumption gains of the past 20 years.


Our top four include:

  • Greening the Harry Potter Book series globally;
  • The real-time transformation of the fashion industry’s viscose supply chain;
  • Brokering new green supply chains as exemplified by the construction of North America’s first modern straw pulp mill and early stage pilots of Next Gen fabrics; and
  • Generating key leverage to secure the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, which saw ambitious conservation and human wellbeing advances in this global Landscape of Hope.


Canopy has delivered these results and more because of our high-impact model of change, the hard work and creativity of our team, the dedication and commitment of our brand and philanthropic partners, and our willingness to do the unexpected and the quirky. We have also secured these results with an average budget significantly below $1-million and a team of less than 10 people.


Looking forward, we aspire to have more impact. Driving change that is proportional to the scale of the challenges we are grappling with requires us to bring more creativity and determination to our work, to do what we are good at – to do more of it and do it smarter and better if we can. Our times require us to stretch, to Be More Heroic.


Canopy has developed an essential role in the conservation movement. Our work with business leaders has built powerful examples of the art of what’s possible when we work together with an imperative for change and clear outcomes. Deep supply chain expertise has enabled us to map out different and fundamentally more sustainable ways to do things. Collective action is at the foundation of our work and will strengthen as we move forward.


Accelerating the commercial adoption of Next Generation Solutions, transforming some of the world’s largest unsustainable supply chains and securing extensive conservation of forests are core to Canopy’s work between now and 2030. Over the next decade we will continue to leverage our strengths whilst maintaining our strategic nimbleness and entrepreneurial spirit to capitalize on new developments and opportunities. We will look to contribute more actively to shifting the way our society values our natural world by adding a cultural shaping element to our work.


We are currently setting the stage for realizing our bold 2030 vision and putting the organizational foundations in place to leverage the scale of change that is needed. We remain committed to delivering impact in the world that is disproportional to our organizational resources. Our plan is bold – because it needs to be. Our times demand we be nothing less than heroic.