The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today the appointment of Sandra Odendahl for the newly created role of Senior Vice President and Head, Sustainability and Diversity.

In her new role, Odendahl will be responsible for leading BDC’s ESG strategy and programs, including the bank’s focus on the environment and its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. BDC stated that she will also help lead a new round of transformation at the bank, aimed at embedding ESG and DEI in every aspect of the organization.

BDC provides financing, advisory services and capital to small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada. The announcement marks the latest sustainability-focused move for the organization, including the appointment earlier this year of Miguel Barrieras as Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, and recently joining the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). BDC has invested over $1.2 billion in sustainability-linked projects, including $600 million for its Cleantech Practice.

Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO, BDC, said:

“Canada has a window of opportunity to rebuild back better. Supporting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) is necessary to address some of the biggest challenges of our time: climate change and inclusive prosperity. With BDC uniquely positioned to be the partner of choice for SMEs, Sandra will play a vital leadership role in driving our ambitious new vision of empowering entrepreneurs to build a better tomorrow.”

Before joining BDC, Odendahl was Vice President and Global Head of Sustainability at Scotiabank, where she was responsible for overseeing corporate sustainability and social impact programs, ESG reporting and climate change strategy. She also served on the bank’s Global Inclusion Council and co-Chaired the Control Functions Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Odendahl also held senior sustainability-focused roles at RBC, including serving as Senior Director, Social Innovation & Integration and as Director, Corporate Sustainability and Head, RBC Social Finance Initiative. From 2017 – 2019, she was President and CEO of not-for-profit environmental technology and innovation firm Carbon Management Canada.

Odendahl, said:

“I am excited and honoured to join the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. SMEs contribute more than 50% to Canada’s GDP, and with Canada’s bold economic-wide decarbonization commitments, SMEs and BDC are a big part of the solution to climate change and other environmental challenges. There is also enormous potential that can be realised by supporting underrepresented entrepreneurial groups. I look forward to working with the team towards a more inclusive and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Canada.”