A group of 12 women from Women4Climate mentorship standing in a horizontal row.

City increases local climate leadership with Women4Climate mentorship program

September 7 2023 –

Recognizing the significant role leaders from all sectors play advancing climate action, members of City Council and City staff gathered last night to celebrate Vancouver’s fourth Women4Climate Mentorship cohort; a group of 22 women who recently completed the 10-month program that empowers the next generation of women climate leaders and strengthens climate action in Vancouver.

“Our commitment to the W4C program is deeply rooted in our city’s values of sustainability, innovation and leadership,” says Mayor Ken Sim. “The dedication, brilliance, and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future from each of the mentors and mentees is an inspiration for us all. Together, we're not only taking steps to change the climate game, but we're setting a global standard for what's possible when women lead.” 

“Vancouver is recognized as a hub of climate innovation and ambition across organizations, business, tech and industry,” said Doug Smith, Deputy General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. “Through participating in C40’s Women4Climate Program, the City engages and supports women leading local climate initiatives, and benefits from their research, ideas and transformative initiatives.”

In 2019, Vancouver became the eighth city to launch a Women4Climate Mentorship Program in collaboration with C40 Cities and in partnership with the Zero Emissions Innovation Centre . Since launching, Vancouver’s program has supported 43 of the over 500 global mentees, selecting local participants whose initiatives align with the City’s climate and equity goals.

Highlighted projects

  • Melissa Hamer’s role at BCIT’s Zero Energy/Emissions Buildings Learning Centre focuses on Net Zero Energy and Carbon design and construction training for designers, builders, contractors, trades, and policymakers. Her work involves partnering with Indigenous communities on Net Zero training, integrated solar electrical design, and embodied carbon courses.
  • Working as part of a Praxis Spinal Cord Institute team, Arushi Raina’s project focuses on climate adaptation measures for people living with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities. With support from BC Hydro and Technology for Living, she distributed cooling devices to over 110 people in BC and recipients reported improved safety and quality of life during heatwaves.
  • Darla Simpson, a building retrofit program manager with the Zero Emissions Innovation Centre is leading a project supporting strata-owned multi-family residential buildings to decarbonize their buildings at the time of end-of-life renewals. Making up 24 per cent of the provincial housing stock, this project brings information, resources, incentives, and financing programs together to retrofit these buildings.

A full list of participants and projects can be found here https://vancouver.ca/w4c


The Women4Climate Mentorship Programme is a joint initiative of C40 Cities and the L’Oréal Foundation and has been established in 21 cities globally since launching in 2017. The program aims to advance local climate action by pairings emerging professionals with established climate leaders to advance projects in their chosen fields.


Melina Scholefield, Zero Emissions Innovation Centre

“In cities today, innovation, adaptation, and reinventing our approach to meeting the needs of communities and the natural systems that connect and sustain us is more critical than ever. Investing in women, through leadership development and mentorship that enables transformation, strengthens our collective capacity to respond to the climate emergency. I appreciate the many ways the Women4Climate program reframes challenges as opportunities, builds community, and supports personal growth to make new ideas and actions possible for our diverse women leaders who are making a difference.” 

Robyn Wark, Advanced Demand Side Management Manager, BC Hydro (and W4C mentor 2019-2023)

“I have so appreciated how the W4C program has introduced me to some of the brightest young minds in the industry. These relationships continue to inspire me, provoke my own thinking, and allow me to share lessons from my own career. Thanks to the City of Vancouver and C40 for this great program.”

Silvia Marcon, Head of Global Leadership, Inclusive Climate Action, C40 Cities

“I salute the commitment of the City of Vancouver to empower women climate leaders. Vancouver was one of the first cities to join C40’s Women4Climate initiative. The women-led projects supported through the City’s mentorship program will help Vancouver to deliver on its Climate Emergency Action Plan and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. They set the bar high for resilient, inclusive and fair climate action at the city level.”