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Smith’s Ryan Riordan Earns Inaugural Report on Business Changemakers Award from the Globe and Mail

Posted on February 26, 2021
Ryan Riordan
Ryan Riordan

Kingston, Ont. – Smith finance professor Ryan Riordan has been named a 2021 Changemaker by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business for his research on financing the transition to a low-carbon economy and his leadership in creating Smith’s Master of Financial Innovation and Technology.

This new award program showcases 50 emerging leaders transforming business today.

“Dr. Riordan’s research answers questions at the intersection of climate change and finance to help shape government policy and mobilize private-sector capital to not only effectively address climate change, but also accelerate progress in doing so,” said Brenda Brouwer, Dean, Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. “We are thrilled that Ryan’s work is being recognized for its impact on such a pressing global issue.”

In his role as the Research Director for the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF), Dr. Riordan co-authored the Capital Mobilization Plan for a Canadian Low-Carbon Economy (CMP), a landmark research report released in September that provides a concrete, data-driven capital blueprint for Canada’s low-carbon transition. This report is the first to tally the costs associated with meeting Canada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

Driven by the idea that “what gets financed, gets built,” Dr. Riordan, who is associate professor and Distinguished Professor of Finance at Smith, has noted that to build the low-carbon economy of the future, we need to finance that future. He is currently working with multiple government agencies to implement the recommendations of the CMP. 

Dr. Riordan’s other research, which has been published in top academic journals, focuses on the impact of technology on financial markets. He was instrumental in creating the first master’s program on financial technology in North America, Smith’s Master of Financial Innovation and Technology. The program welcomed its first students in November 2020.

“As the Canadian economy recovers from the pandemic, many people are seeking ways to make business more sustainable, inclusive, innovative and fair,” says James Cowan, editor of Report on Business magazine. “The 50 Changemakers on our inaugural list serve as inspiration and instruction for any business leader seeking to effect meaningful change.”

Winners of the Changemakers award were selected based on their ideas, accomplishments and impact. More about the 2021 Changemakers can be found at