David Sawyer

The International Institute for Sustainable Development has appointed IISD associate and noted environmental economist David Sawyer to lead its Ottawa-based climate change and energy program in advancing a Canadian, North American and international response to the challenges ahead.

“David Sawyer represents the best of a new generation of economists developing innovative and fresh approaches to the complex issues posed by climate change and the development of renewable energies,” said IISD chief executive and president Franz Tattenbach.

“IISD is fortunate to have been able to draw a strong leader from its talented and dedicated team of climate change and energy experts willing to step up and take responsibility for the important work started by our former director John Drexhage*,” Tattenbach said.

Sawyer said he is looking forward to taking a leading role at IISD.

“IISD is a world class think tank and I am pleased to have the opportunity to direct the work of the climate change and energy program as we help shape North American climate and energy policy and continue to influence global efforts for change,” he said.

Sawyer has been an associate of IISD’s for the past four years and has contributed to the work of IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative—most recently as the lead author of a comprehensive study of the value of oil production subsidies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador.

Sawyer has 20 years of national and international experience working as an environmental economist. He has built a solid reputation as a leader in the economics of climate policy and energy futures in Canada. His advice is routinely sought by a wide cross-section of climate policy leaders.

He holds a master of development economic degree from Dalhousie University, and has completed short and long-term assignments in the Caribbean, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.He has also held positions with Environment Canada and Canada’s Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Sawyer will be transitioning out of his work with EnviroEconomics Inc, a micro-consultancy specializing in environmental economics, prior to taking up his new position at the beginning of May.

In the meantime, IISD’s climate change and energy program manager Jo-Ellen Parry will continue in her role as interim director and lead the program’s work on adaptation and risk reduction.

*(John Drexhage stepped down to head U.K.-based International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) new climate change program, earlier this month.)

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development 

The world is challenged by a changing climate, biodiversity loss, abject poverty and environmental degradation. What can make a difference? Good ideas. Creativity. Passion. Innovation. The achievement of change. 

IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being. 

In the pursuit of sustainable development, we promote open and effective international negotiation processes. And we believe fervently in the importance of building our own institutional capacity while helping our partner organizations in the developing world to excel. 

Established in 1990, IISD is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization with a diverse team of more than 150 people located in more than 30 countries. Through our dynamic portfolio of projects, we partner with more than 200 organizations throughout the world. To learn more about our history, please visit the IISD Timeline. 

Click here to learn more about our project work and programs, which are guided by our strategic institutional directions. And please visit our IISD Linkages site to follow our coverage of international negotiations on environment and development. 

IISD is registered as a charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States. IISD receives core operating support from the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Environment Canada, and from the Province of Manitoba. The Institute receives project funding from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.