Transforming environmental studies into global climate action with AI solution

Rendering of a city and forest
Rendering of a city and forest
Zizzo is co-founder and CEO of Manifest Climate, which offers a software solution that utilizes artificial intelligence to assist organizations in understanding and preparing for climate-related risks by analyzing their climate strategies and comparing them with publicly available global standards and the practices of their peers.

Reflecting on her undergrad years at Waterloo, Zizzo recalls the moment when she discovered her passion for environmental studies amidst the vast array of academic options available.

"I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I was interested in everything," Zizzo says.

At Waterloo, she found the perfect blend of interdisciplinary education, supportive mentors like Professor Stephen Murphy and invaluable co-op opportunities that laid the foundation for her career trajectory.

Waterloo is a leader in sustainability research and education. Home to the largest Faculty of Environment in Canada, Waterloo has been a catalyst for environmental innovation, solutions and talent for 50 years.

Zizzo’s journey from her first summer student job at the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority to her co-op term at the Ontario Ministry of Finance’s strategic research division exemplifies the transformative power of experiential learning.

"I was driving my little Nissan Altima all’around the region, talking to farmers about keeping the watersheds healthy. It was humbling and enlightening," Zizzo says.

These experiences not only instilled in her a deep understanding of environmental stewardship but also ignited her passion for driving systemic change. Following her undergraduate studies, Zizzo pursued a law degree at the University of Toronto, driven by her unwavering commitment to combat climate change.

"I went to law school because of climate change," Zizzo affirms. It was during this time that she recognized the critical role of law in effecting meaningful change and positioning herself as a credible advocate for climate action.

Zizzo’s entrepreneurial journey began with founding one of Canada’s first climate-focused law firms in 2009, where she aimed to bridge the gap between environmental advocacy and legal expertise. Recognizing the limitations of traditional legal practice, Zizzo pivoted to consultancy, leveraging her multidisciplinary team to translate climate science into actionable strategies for businesses.

In 2020, Zizzo co-founded Manifest Climate with Jeremy Greven, a seasoned technology executive, with a vision to improve climate risk planning. Manifest Climate’s innovative platform mobilize the power of AI and data analytics to provide companies with actionable insights into their climate strategies, empowering them to navigate the transition to a low-carbon economy effectively.

"What Manifest Climate does is make use of the power of information already available in the public domain to accelerate climate action," Zizzo explains. By providing companies with a comprehensive analysis of their climate strategies and benchmarking them against industry peers, Manifest Climate facilitates informed decision-making and fosters collaboration towards a sustainable future.

Zizzo’s commitment to fostering the next generation of climate leaders is evident in her engagement with educational institutions like Waterloo.

"I’m always happy to participate and lend my expertise to students," Zizzo says. Through internships and guest lectures, Zizzo seeks to inspire and empower the brightest minds to drive positive change in the fight against climate change.

As Manifest Climate continues to expand its global footprint, Zizzo remains steadfast in her mission to reimagine climate action and empower businesses to embrace sustainability as a strategic imperative.

"Every company needs to think about how they will navigate the transition to a low-carbon future," Zizzo says. With Manifest Climate at the forefront of innovation, the future of climate action looks brighter than ever before.

In Zizzo’s remarkable journey from Waterloo alum to global climate leader, her story serves as an inspiration to all’aspiring changemakers.

Here at Waterloo, researchers, students and alumni approach challenges differently. They unlock barriers by working together to develop creative approaches across disciplines. The futures they are transforming are not independent islands but an interconnected landscape of opportunities representing a path for Waterloo to foster lasting, impactful global change.
Jordan Flemming