Everything we do is focused on reducing and minimizing resource consumption on our planet. We aspire to convert waste into goods by constantly challenging business norms and steering us toward a more circular and sustainable future.
For example, through our brand Urbanjacks™, we upcycle wood offcuts/waste and can decrease construction, deconstruction, and demolition waste significantly while promoting the use of recycled materials. Urbanjacks™ enables a more sustainable and resilient circular
economy while lowering our overall environmental impact of legacy industries.
Tell us about yourself?
I’ve studied and lived in Toronto and spent many years in Europe. Since the early 2000s, I’ve mostly been working in enterprise Information Technology and Services, largely in R&D and design-focused companies. In 2015, we relocated from Helsinki, Finland, to proudly make a home base here in Vancouver. Having seen various global solutions to clean technologies, I recognized an opportunity to connect the solution gaps. We can genuinely make an impact by working with people, particularly people within organizations willing to ‘move the needle’ and improve upon the status quo on sustainability, circular economics, and innovative Green Technologies and approaches to make an impact.
That’s why Can-Do! Green Technologies was founded; we bring integrity, a Can-Do! attitude and actions to market. It’s an exciting time to be part of the momentum and impact we are collectively engaged in here in Canada 🍁and the States. Along with the local community, a network of influencers around the world and my inspiring team at Can-Do! and Urbanjacks™, we are on an awesome path forward.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Looking back with the benefits of hindsight, we were in a pandemic, so it made sense to check in on friends and colleagues to kind of ‘form up’, regroup, and get on a meaningful mission over remote videoconferencing. Naturally, validating ideas took longer, but we used solid service design methods to validate our solutions. It took more time than originally planned, but we were self-funded and bootstrapped until recently, so we had the degrees of freedom needed to experiment, learn, and pivot without fear or resistance – and we found a way to make it work. Now, two years forward and with our first capital raise closed, we collectively understand our roles and the functions of the stakeholders and Can-Doers. So, the best advice I would offer myself would be to trust my gut instincts but move faster.
What problem does your business solve?
The problem we solve, quite simply, is that perfectly good and usable wood ends up in landfills instead of being recycled, upcycled, or reused. Current best-case scenarios include chipping, burning or dumping. We provide a solution that creates a loop of goodness! Everyone from the industry to consumers is sincerely happy to engage with our simple process.
Surprisingly, more than 2.5 million tonnes of wood are ending up in Canadian landfills annually. That amount of wood stores approximately 4M+ tonnes of CO2, which will be emitted as the wood degrades in landfills. Our brand, Urbanjacks™, recycles dimensional wood waste (1×4”, 2×4”, 2×6” etc.) and upcycles it into a new, premium quality, dimensional lumber product that compliments traditional virgin timber and fibre sources. Simply stated, we offer additional life cycles to what was previously considered a waste product that was either chipped, burned, or buried. Urbanjacks™ can help lower the environmental impact by storing the captured CO2 for years and decades to come.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Wood waste is a huge challenge that no one can tackle by themselves, and we bring an alternative to the way things have been. As for inspiration… legacy, integrity and getting stuff done – one step in front of the other and since we’re here, let’s do our best!
What is your magic sauce?
Integrity is our core value. Integrity of people, products, planet, and partners. Always being positive and bringing that Can-Do! attitude goes a long way. We’re all on this mission together, so why not enjoy the work, love what we’re doing and the people we collaborate with!
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
As a Green Technology and Solutions company, we are actively strengthening our partnerships in the industry and academic sectors to continue enabling further research and to be in a position to offer study and research opportunities to our leaders of tomorrow.
I’m lucky! Every day, I experience innovation first-hand. This gives me great optimism and confidence in our mutually bright future, and we must look forward and carve out a path that is able to move past legacy obstacles.
Growth-wise, we will be scaling our work regionally and begin to focus on strategically expanding solutions and systems across Canada and the United States.
Our primary focus is to roll out our brand Urbanjacks™ and to build out channels for our engineered lumber products. Within the near future, Urbanjacks™ will be available and commonly known as the leader in recycling wood solutions and products across North America.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge is working in a distributed work environment. We strive to empower colleagues and co-founders across time zones. Working seamlessly across functions can be challenging. However, the regular upside is that when we finish work in Vancouver, a lot of stuff gets done overnight in Europe by the time we get into work the next morning in Vancouver. Empowering team members is challenging, but once you’ve made it through the small battles, the big ones seem much more achievable.