December 4, 2019
The shift toward a low-pollution, innovative, resource-efficient economy is the opportunity of the century. The pursuit of a clean economy aims to simultaneously boost economic growth, by capturing growing clean market opportunities, and improve environmental performance, through innovation, efficiency and smart policies and investments – which together lead to better quality of life.
This report outlines eight reasons why accelerating this transition is the path to prosperity for Canada.
1. Global market opportunities and jobs in the clean economy are growing fast.
In response to mounting environmental pressures, the demand for products and processes with a lighter environmental footprint is expected to continue to grow rapidly. Overall, generating low-carbon solutions is projected to be a massive source of wealth and jobs across all parts of the economy, worth US$26 trillion and creating 65 million new jobs by 2030.
2. Canada is well positioned for success in many sectors.
Canada has many of the ingredients needed to succeed in capturing a significant share of growing global markets. Canadians have enormous potential to develop and export the cleaner technologies, products and services that are increasingly in demand around the world.
3. More efficient use of resources lowers costs.
By doing more with less, we can help save businesses, households and governments money while reducing vulnerability to commodity price fluctuations and resource scarcity. Over time, investing in more efficient use of resources is likely to improve economic growth and competitiveness through cost savings and the creation of new business opportunities.
4. Strong environmental performance is becoming a competitive advantage.
For many businesses, environmental performance is becoming a core part of competing in an increasingly globalized, low-carbon world. Consumers increasingly prefer environmentally-friendly products and make purchasing decisions based on rising concerns over environmental impacts. Well-designed environmental regulations can also drive innovation within businesses, and even improve productivity and business performance.
5. Unleashing clean innovation can cut costs.
Clean innovation is critical not only to help Canada meet its international environmental commitments, but also to reduce the cost of achieving them. Clean innovation can also help businesses attract capital, increase competitiveness and reduce financial risks.
6. Climate-proofing investments improves resilience.
Climate change and other environmental pressures pose not only major physical risks (like floods and fires), but also growing financial hazards. By taking steps to better address and prepare for environmental risks, Canadian businesses can improve their resilience and reduce their financial uncertainty.
7. Conserving and protecting natural capital is critical to growth.
Protecting and sustainably managing Canada’s natural capital is integral to supporting the economy and can create significant savings by avoiding the need to restore destroyed, degraded and contaminated resources.
8. A clean economy improves health and quality of life.
In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, seizing the clean growth opportunity can improve health and quality of life as well. By reducing pollution in our air and waterways, or reducing congestion on our streets, we can lessen often-overlooked costs while improving the quality of life for Canadians – also making Canada a more desirable destination for foreign businesses and talent.