B.C. needs strategy to tackle rising costs of climate change

Stronger carbon tax is a good start for clean growth

April 17, 2018 – By Aaron Sutherland, Karen Tam Wu
Published in The Hill Times (April 16, 2018).

Flooding in Logan Lake, B.C., in 2017. A rise in severe weather events linked to climate change is resulting in a surge of insurance claims. Photo: Province of B.C.

Climate change is most often thought of as a future threat, but as many of us know, its impacts are being felt more and more every day. The consequences of major spring flooding and summer wildfires on both sides of the Rockies in the past few years are telling: natural disasters are happening more often, and with greater severity. 

These trends are prompting a variety of voices from the business community to chime in on climate policy. As the frequency of extreme weather events has risen, so too have the insurance payouts. Insurance claims due to severe weather, floods, and wildfires used to average a few hundred million dollars a year. Since 2009, however, we have seen a surge, and claims now total over $1 billion every year. Concerned about the exposure Canadians face due to the impacts of climate change, insurers are among those who are speaking out — calling for stronger climate policies and increased investment in measures to help residents adapt to our new climate reality. In this vein, this month’s return to regular increases in B.C.’s price on carbon pollution is most welcome.

In February, the B.C. auditor general issued its analysis of the B.C. government’s performance with respect to managing climate-change risks and meeting climate targets. Its conclusions were blunt: We are unprepared for the risks posed by climate change, we don’t have a plan of action, and we’re not on track to meet our 2050 goal to reduce carbon pollution by 80 per cent. The report pointed out major gaps in adaptation measures (to lessen the severity of climate impacts) and the need to increase mitigation actions (to reduce carbon pollution and limit the magnitude of climate change).

The province’s climate adaptation strategy is nearly a decade old and a refresh is greatly needed. On the mitigation side, the government has committed to developing a strategy to get B.C. back on track to significant carbon pollution reductions. The first major action announced was the return to annual increases in B.C.’s carbon tax, a clean-economy incentive, as of April 1.

B.C.’s experience shows a carbon tax can work to lower carbon pollution, and pricing this pollution — contrary to what critics say — doesn’t prevent economic growth. Between 2008 and 2011 (from introduction of the carbon tax to the government’s freezing of the carbon tax at 2012 levels), emissions per capita from sources subject to the carbon tax in B.C. dropped by 10 per cent, but only one per cent in the rest of the country. During this time, B.C.’s economic performance (as measured by gross domestic product) was stronger than the national average.

In 2017, pricing carbon pollution became mainstream economic policy in Canada. Carbon pricing systems are in place in Canada’s four largest provinces, representing 86 per cent of the population. Ontario and Québec have a cap-and-trade system linked to California. Alberta has a carbon levy. These efforts are mirrored around the world, with over 40 national and 25 subnational jurisdictions putting a price on carbon.

By January 2019, carbon pollution pricing will be in effect across Canada. However, the carbon pricing systems being implemented also need to ensure all Canadians benefit from moving towards a clean economy. This means taking care to avoid adverse impacts to vulnerable, lower-income, and rural households. It also means putting in place temporary and targeted measures to ensure heavy industry remains competitive in Canada — where we have stronger climate policies — and doesn’t move to jurisdictions without a carbon tax.

After its introduction, B.C.’s carbon tax was lauded internationally as a “textbook” example of how pricing pollution can be effective. But pricing pollution needs to be considered as part of a holistic approach to addressing climate change. For B.C. to re-emerge as a climate leader, the following are required: mitigation and adaptation strategies that reduce the risks and impacts of climate change for British Columbians, a plan for achieving significant emissions cuts, and a strategy to better incentivize B.C.’s transition to low-carbon industries.

Without the whole package, the costs of climate change to all British Columbians will continue to rise.

Aaron Sutherland is vice president for the Pacific region at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Karen Tam Wu is acting B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, Canada’s leading clean energy think-tank.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Hill Times (Ottawa) on April 16, 2018.

Business leaders urge parties to commit to strong climate plan for Canada

Business Coalition for a Clean Economy sends letter to party leaders

The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy represents more than 40 member companies. Photo: Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute

VANCOUVER / MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH & TSLEIL-WAUTUTH TERRITORIES — Forty-five leaders in B.C.’s corporate sector are calling on all federal party leaders to renew Canada’s climate leadership after the election.

As members of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, they’ve signed an open letter, affirming their support for a Canada-wide climate plan that makes good on our Paris Agreement commitment to limit global warming to 1.5–2°C.

“For all businesses, climate change is a risk to the bottom line,” the business leaders state in the letter, sent today. “Taking action on climate now is also a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Canada to demonstrate real global leadership, create jobs, encourage innovation, build healthy and safe communities, and address the growing concerns surrounding waste.”

The business leaders believe Canada’s next climate plan should take action on the following priorities:

  1. Reduce carbon pollution in all economic sectors
  2. Invest in renewable energy
  3. Invest in clean innovation
  4. Put a price on carbon pollution
  5. Invest in training for clean economy careers
  6. Ensure transparency and accountability
  7. Protect land and freshwater ecosystems
  8. Increase investment in adaptation and resiliency

The letter is endorsed by Arc’teryx, Carbon Engineering, Hootsuite, Innergex Renewable Energy, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Modo Co-operative, Nature’s Path Foods, Persephone Brewing Co., Traction on Demand, and Vancity, among other leading companies. The firms represent a diverse set of industries, including brewing, clothing, construction, cosmetics, energy, film and television, food, financial, investment, manufacturing, outdoor recreation, technology, and transportation.

On Oct. 3, the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy received a 2020 Canada’s Clean50 Top Project award.

Quick facts

  • The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy represents more than 40 member companies.
  • These companies earn more than $4.3 billion in combined annual revenues, and represent more than 13,000 jobs.

Quotes

“At Arc’teryx, we acknowledge that climate is at the heart of our collective core values. We believe that smart climate policy must play a central role in our next government’s platform and remain a key priority throughout their leadership. This is imperative for not only the long-term health and viability of our planet, but also the protection of the wild spaces we treasure.”
— Jon Hoerauf, president, Arc’teryx

“At Carbon Engineering, our technology to capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere at large scale is widely seen as a world-leading capability. The support and leadership of Canada has helped us to develop our technology, and a strong commitment to a clean economy will enable the development of new economic sectors in Canada, while helping address the global challenge of climate change mitigation. We urge all parties to commit Canada to leadership in climate change mitigation and seize the resulting economic opportunity.”
— Steve Oldham, CEO, Carbon Engineering

“The climate crisis isn’t a challenge that anyone can tackle on their own. We’re working hard and challenging ourselves to change our operations, to measure and lower our carbon footprint each year. Now we need to see bold climate leadership from our federal government.”
— Benjamin Ernst, co-owner, Earnest Ice Cream

“Climate action is an important priority for our employees. We want to see Canada show global leadership on the transition to a cleaner economy and efforts to protect our climate.”
— Ryan Holmes, CEO, Hootsuite

“Action to address climate disruption is important to maintaining a healthy and sustainable economy in Canada, and as business leaders, we have a crucial role to play in encouraging and supporting clear policy that addresses global realities now. For 30 years, Innergex Renewable Energy has been leading the transition to a low-carbon economy; we are proud to be a part of the solution to climate change. As such, we encourage the next Canadian government to prioritize strong climate policy, including investing in a clean energy grid to delivery the energy needs of tomorrow today.”
— Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, vice president for corporate relations, Innergex Renewable Energy

“There is a clear and present danger to the quality of life of that Canadians enjoy. Through a focus on building a clean economy, we can navigate to a future that is both prosperous and sustainable. Deferring or diluting the actions necessary to achieve a low carbon economy is no longer an option.”
— Patrick Nangle, CEO, Modo Co-operative

“Our mission at Nature’s Path is to leave the Earth better than we found it. This was wisdom my dad passed along to me on the farm I grew up on and has been our rallying cry for more than 50 years. As a food company, we are gravely concerned about how climate change will affect our ability to grow healthy food for the generations who will follow us. Climate change is putting immense pressure on the availability, access, and stability of our global food supply chains. While agriculture accounts for close to a quarter of carbon emissions, if we manage our farmlands with regenerative organic practices, we have the potential to draw down almost a third of all the present carbon emissions now wreaking chaos on our planet.”
— Arran Stephens and Ratana Stephens, co-CEOs, Nature’s Path Foods

“Persephone Brewing urges the next government to enact a national climate plan that will put Canada at the forefront economically and environmentally in North America as well as preserve quality of life for future generations.”
— Jenn Vervier, CEO, Persephone Brewing

“A strong climate plan is essential for the tens of  thousands of Canadian workers in film and television. Not only do we rely upon the natural beauty of our country to tell our stories, but key creative drivers such as directors and cast are choosing to shoot in areas with strong environmental practices. Industry standards now include sustainability, and our country must meet the test in order to participate.”
— Pete Mitchell, president, Vancouver Film Studios

“Climate change is an issue that’s top of mind for Canadians during this election. There is a significant opportunity for businesses and the country to build out the clean economy, to grow clean jobs, and to be global leaders on climate action.”
— Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute; co-chair, Business Coalition for a Clean Economy

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Download the letter and full list of signatoriespembina.org/pub/business-climate-letter

Watch a video about the Business Coalition: pembina.org/BCCE

Contact

Stephen Hui
Senior communications lead, Pembina Institute
778-987-7654
stephenh@pembina.org
Tw: @StephenHui

About the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy

The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy (BCCE), an initiative of the Pembina Institute, is a network of leading B.C. businesses and organizations aligned behind a vision for a clean and prosperous economy and climate action. We believe that strong climate and energy policy provides certainty and is good for business. Learn more: pembina.org/BCCE

Bold climate action is an investment in B.C.’s economic prosperity

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

Open letter to Premier John Horgan
Forty companies, all members of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, have sent the following letter to Premier John Horgan

Hon. John Horgan, M.L.A.
Premier and President of the Executive Council
West Annex Parliament Buildings 
Victoria, BC  V8V 1X4

Dear Premier Horgan:

Re: Bold climate action is an investment in B.C.’s economic prosperity

We are leading businesses and organizations that are proud to operate in British Columbia and employ British Columbians. We believe building a sustainable, clean economy, powered by renewable energy, is key to ensuring B.C.’s future prosperity in a rapidly changing world.

For all businesses, climate change is a risk to the bottom line. However, it’s also a once-in-a-generation opportunity for B.C. to create jobs, encourage innovation, build healthy and safe communities, and reduce waste.

Strong climate policy provides certainty and is good for business. That’s why the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy supports the full implementation of the government’s CleanBC plan and calls for continued leadership on climate solutions in B.C.

Building on our core strengths and successes to date, we know B.C. can be a leader in the transition to a low-carbon world. We believe the B.C. government should take the following measures to build out the clean economy:

1. Grow clean jobs and attract global investment

  • Put policies and incentives in place that spark clean innovation and fuel demand for low-carbon goods and services

2. Make clean choices more affordable and accessible

  • Support small and medium-size businesses in their efforts to reduce carbon pollution, prepare for the low-carbon future, and invest in clean solutions

3. Build resilient communities

  • Take concrete steps to protect communities from the impacts of climate change on public health and safety, infrastructure, property, and the economy

Climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for B.C. Now more than ever, we need the B.C. government to demonstrate bold, sustained leadership by prioritizing investments in the clean future.

Sincerely,

Arc’teryx

Avalon Mechanical Consultants Ltd.

Bulkley Valley Brewery

Bullfrog Power

Carbon Engineering Ltd.

CarbonCure Technologies

Climate Smart Businesses

Cove Continuity Advisors

Denman Island Chocolate

Earnest Ice Cream

Fairware

Festival Cinemas Ltd.

Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group

Hootsuite

Innergex Renewable Energy

Innotech Windows + Doors

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Interdependent Investments

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

MEC

Modo Co-operative

Nature’s Path Foods

Pembina Institute

Penfolds Roofing & Solar

Persephone Brewing Co.

Phillips Brewing Co.

Portable Electric

Prism Engineering

Reid’s Automotive Recycling Ltd.

Renew Energy Inc.

Renewal Funds

Rhiza Capital

Salt Spring Coffee

Sea to Sky Removal

SIGA

Sim

Townsite Brewing Inc.

Traction on Demand

Vancity

Vancouver Film Studios

Yulu PR

cc:
Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Hon. Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
Hon. Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology
Andrew Wilkinson, Leader of the Official Opposition
Andrew Weaver, Leader of the Third Party
Peter Milobar, Official Opposition Critic for Environment and Climate Change

40 companies ask B.C. premier to capitalize on clean economic opportunity

Corporate leaders sign open letter, launch Business Coalition for a Clean Economy

Carbon Engineering, which operates a pilot plant in Squamish, is one of 40 companies asking the B.C. government to prioritize investments in the clean economy. Photo: Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute

VANCOUVER / MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH & TSLEIL-WAUTUTH TERRITORIES — Forty leaders in British Columbia’s corporate sector are calling on Premier John Horgan to keep B.C. at the forefront of climate action and clean economic growth.

In a new open letter, the businesses say B.C. has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create jobs, encourage innovation, build healthy and safe communities, and reduce waste.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Hootsuite, Nature’s Path Foods, Vancouver Film Studios, MEC, Persephone Brewing, Modo Co-operative, Carbon Engineering, and Earnest Ice Cream are among the companies endorsing the letter. The diverse signatories represent the brewing, clothing, construction, cosmetics, energy, film and television, food, financial, investment, manufacturing, outdoor recreation, technology, transportation, and other industries.

Today’s release of the letter coincides with the launch of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, a network of 40 companies that believe building a clean economy, powered by renewable energy, is key to ensuring B.C.’s future prosperity in a rapidly changing world.

Arc’teryx, Climate Smart Businesses, Innergex Renewable Energy, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and Vancity are the founders of the Business Coalition, which is supported by the Pembina Institute.

The Business Coalition is inviting more companies operating in B.C. to join the network.

Quick facts

  • The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy’s 40 member companies earn more than $3.4 billion in combined annual revenues.
  • These companies employ more than 11,000 workers.

Quotes

“The climate and energy challenge will not be solved by any single solution, company, or government in isolation. We are going to need collaboration across industries, sectors, and geographies if we hope to make a real difference to climate change and provide a bright and prosperous future for the next generation. As a B.C. company pioneering the commercialization of clean energy technologies, we are delighted to join the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy and look forward to contributing to a shared voice for climate action.”
— Steve Oldham, CEO, Carbon Engineering

“For the last 10 years, Climate Smart has had the privilege of working with close to 1,000 businesses to better understand and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. From our perspective, we see that businesses are key partners in building a clean economy and accelerating innovation. The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy is giving Climate Smart businesses a policy voice and another channel to share the business case for reducing carbon emissions.”
— Elizabeth Sheehan, cofounder and president, Climate Smart Businesses

“Hootsuite is pleased to join the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy. Climate action is important to our employees and we are committed to supporting the communities we live and work in, including advocating for a clean economy.”
— Heidi Rolston, vice president for learning, community, diversity, and inclusion, Hootsuite

“Innergex Renewable Energy is proud to be a founding member of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy. Our mission to produce 100 per cent renewable energy has always been driven by the belief that we can achieve a more sustainable economy today without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. Our almost 30 years in the renewable energy sector has shown us that embedding the health of our communities and natural environment into economic development not only facilitates growth, but is the way to a more sustainable future. The Business Coalition is a forum for likeminded businesses to come together in support of one another and, working with government, take meaningful steps to address climate change and shape the economy of tomorrow.”
— Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, vice president for corporate relations, Innergex Renewable Energy

“Climate change is a clear and present danger that costs Canadians more than $1 billion in insured damages each and every year, due to storms, floods, and wildfires. Clearly, much more must be done to mitigate and adapt to the new weather reality that we face. The Insurance Bureau of Canada is pleased to be a founder of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, and to work with like-minded business to seek solutions to this challenge through sound climate and energy policy.”
— Aaron Sutherland, vice president for the Pacific region, Insurance Bureau of Canada

“We share this planet. The effects of climate change impact all of us as individuals, businesses, and communities. Whether prolonged droughts effect the food on our tables or the raw ingredients in our supply chain, we all have a responsibility to lead the transition toward a clean economy.”
— Katrina Shum, sustainability manager for North America, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

“At Nature’s Path, we see firsthand the impact of droughts and severe weather changes caused by climate change to family farms and how we source our organic ingredients. We are excited today to join other B.C. businesses as a force of good to advocate for climate change solutions and bring positive change to our planet.”
— Jyoti Stephens, vice president for mission and strategy, Nature’s Path Foods

“B.C. is a hub for sustainable innovation, social responsibility, and climate solutions, and businesses are key to B.C.’s success on these fronts. From beer to buildings, film to finance, and cosmetics to concrete, the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy brings together an incredible diversity of B.C. businesses to champion climate leadership and the transition to a cleaner economy.”
— Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute

“Persephone is excited to join the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy because legislators need pressure from the private sector to enact policies that will protect our planet and communities from the worst impacts of climate change. Our influence is greater when we speak with one voice. Being a farm-based brewery, making an agricultural product, the changing climate will have a direct impact on our B.C.-based supply chain.”
— Jenn Vervier, CEO, Persephone Brewing

“We see climate change as a threat to the health and well-being of our communities, so we’re doing everything we can to show leadership in environmental sustainability. The Business Coalition is shaping a vision of a sustainable economy powered by clean energy. We encourage other businesses to join us in creating a brighter future for everyone in our province.”
— Christine Bergeron, chief member services officer, Vancity

“The film and television industry has grown rapidly to become a major part of our economy in B.C. — this has led to an increased use of resources and greater impact on the environment. It’s important and exciting for Vancouver Film Studios to join like-minded companies in the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy and work together towards a sustainable future. Lights, camera, climate action!”
— Pete Mitchell, president and CEO, Vancouver Film Studios

To see what other business leaders are saying about the Business Coalition, read the media backgrounder, which follows.

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Watch a video about the Business Coalition: pembina.org/BCCE

Download the open letter and media backgrounderpembina.org/pub/bcce-letter

Join the conversation on Twitter: #CleanBCBiz

Contact

Stephen Hui
Senior communications lead, Pembina Institute
778-987-7654
stephenh@pembina.org
Tw: @StephenHui

About the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy

The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy (BCCE) is a network of leading B.C. businesses and organizations aligned behind a vision for a clean and prosperous economy and climate action. We believe that strong climate and energy policy provides certainty and is good for business. Learn more: pembina.org/BCCE


Media backgrounder

What business leaders are saying about the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy

Benjamin Ernst, co-owner, Earnest Ice Cream:

“For me, climate action feels urgent; I feel a responsibility to my family and my community to do all that I can. That means I’m committed to a transition in my own operations, but also want to work in collaboration with other businesses. We all need to work together and support the systemic changes that will make a clean economy possible.”

George Nickel, director of business development, Innotech Windows + Doors:

“As a manufacturer of building materials, we have a due diligence to ensure our products contribute to a sustainable future. Innotech Windows + Doors looks forward to working with leading B.C.-based businesses to positively impact our built environment and drive economic growth.”

Patrick Nangle, CEO, Modo Co-operative:

“With a goal to reduce traffic congestion, GHG emissions, and the use of land for parking, Modo’s purpose is rooted in sustainability. We believe that strong climate and energy policies make good sense for business, for communities, and for our future. We’re pleased to join the coalition and add our voice to climate leadership in B.C.”

Shaun Mayhew, sales and marketing manager, Penfolds Roofing & Solar:

“At Penfolds Roofing & Solar, we believe that we are on the road to a cleaner future powered by renewable energy. Our customers are harnessing the energy of the sun to power their homes, businesses, and transportation. The technology is available for us to make a transformational change, and the time to do that is now.”

Julie Strilesky, director of government affairs, Portable Electric:

“Joining this coalition is important because we know that clean technology is the future and that science is telling us that we need to take more action. Clean tech not only protects the planet and human health, but also creates a more efficient economy. We look forward to making tangible progress as part of a thriving team.”

Joel Solomon, cofounding partner, Renewal Funds:

“We stand proudly with Canadian business for urging strong climate action and shifts towards clean economy investment. B.C. is already a global leader and we support our province to continue bold leadership. The facts are being ignored. Future generations will hold us accountable. ‘We knew. But we took too little action.’ That’s not a quote we can let happen. Robust wealth and economic activity result from strong climate and clean economy action. It’s the central responsibility for business leadership of these times.”

Mickey McLeod, cofounder and CEO, Salt Spring Coffee:

“I have always been a believer in the power of business doing good. Working together with like-minded businesses for a clean economy and climate action is a natural step for more impact. Salt Spring Coffee is looking forward to being part of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy.”

Chris Arkell, cofounder, Sea to Sky Removal:

“Sea to Sky Removal grew out of our vision for a better world. Our company was founded on the principal that business can do good, drive change, and ultimately help save the world. We saw a problem, construction waste, and decided that we could change it. We understand that it’s much more than diverting construction waste; it’s a cultural shift, one that requires companies to get loud about their performance. The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy is a community of leaders like us, who will work together to drive a movement of using the power of business as a force for good, resulting in a positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.”

Sean McStay, national sales manager, SIGA:

“SIGA has a vision of a world of zero-energy-loss buildings. We are proud to join the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, which, together with a like-minded group of businesses, is working to create and implement effective climate policies.”

Eleanor O’Connor, president of production, Sim:

“As a supplier of studios, production equipment, and postproduction services in Vancouver and across North America, Sim is committed to supporting the communities where our employees, clients, and partners live and work. In addition to partnering with Creative BC to implement sustainable programs impacting the television and film communities in Vancouver, Sim is excited to join the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy to further our mission in reconfiguring our collective carbon footprint.”

Cedric Dauchot, co-owner and brewing engineer, Townsite Brewing:

“Townsite Brewing is quite excited to be part of the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy. Being located in a beautiful remote area, it feels natural for us to try to have the least impact on our environment. It is important for us to show that small businesses have their part to do and call on the government to lead on climate action towards a clean economy.”

Melissa Orozco, founder and chief impact strategist, Yulu PR:

“As an Impact Relations agency and B Corp, Yulu’s daily work involves developing impact-driven communications strategies for corporations looking to scale their social or environmental impact. Stakeholder engagement strategies and cross-sector strategic partnerships have proven to be extremely effective in not only advancing our clients’ objectives, but also advancing entire industries. We know the power and influence business alliances can have on tackling some of the world’s greatest issues, and the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy is one which will tackle the greatest issue of all — the climate crisis. This alliance is important for not only safeguarding our planet from the climate crisis, but also our businesses, industries, and the Canadian economy.”

Daniel Terry, president, Denman Island Chocolate:

“The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy is an idea whose time has come. Unless we act on climate change and take steps toward a clean economy, there will be no business, no jobs, no infrastructure, no culture. By protecting the environment, we can assure the future of an environment that we can continue to live and prosper in.”

What CleanBC means for business

Presented by the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, in association with the Pembina Institute

Apr. 16, 2019  11:00am – 12:00pm PDT
WEBINAR – Public event

The webinar has ended. Watch the video recording above.

Speakers

  • Jamie Gray-Donald, senior vice president for sustainability and EHS, QuadReal Property Group
  • Kel Coulson, manager for policy and external relations, Parkland Fuel Corporation
  • Elizabeth Sheehan, president, Climate Smart Businesses
  • Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute

Moderator: Drummond Lawson, director of sustainability, Arc’teryx


More information


About us

The Business Coalition for a Clean Economy (BCCE) is a network of leading B.C. businesses and organizations aligned behind a vision for a clean and prosperous economy and climate action. We believe that strong climate and energy policy provides certainty and is good for business. For information on joining the coalition, please contact Melyssa Hudson.

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. Learn more: www.pembina.org

Climate action makes good business sense for B.C.

Building the clean economy is an investment in our future

By Tamara Vrooman, Aaron Sutherland, Karen Tam Wu
Published in BCBusiness (March 27, 2019).

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman addresses a Businesses for B.C.’s Clean Economy luncheon in November 2018. Photo: Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute

For all businesses, climate change is a risk to the bottom line.

Floods close workplaces and shipping routes, rising seas threaten coastal infrastructure, droughts inflict crop damage, heat stresses fish stocks, warmer winters pose a challenge to snow sports, and smoky skies discourage tourism. Insured losses due to extreme weather now exceed $1 billion annually across Canada. 

We are proud to operate in British Columbia, and we believe our businesses have a responsibility to be part of the solution. We also see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create thousands of new jobs, build healthier homes and buildings, encourage innovation, reduce waste, and improve air quality.

That’s why we’re joining forces with leading B.C. businesses to champion an exciting vision of a resilient, diversified, thriving, and globally competitive economy with opportunities for all British Columbians.

Our vision includes a province powered by clean, renewable energy, and forward-thinking policies that lead the way to a sustainable, low carbon economy. It also supports cleaner air and water, which in turn supports healthy communities and ecosystems.

Now more than ever, we need the B.C. government to demonstrate bold, sustained leadership by prioritizing investments in the clean future.

According to a new poll by Insights West, most British Columbians rank climate change as one of the top three issues facing the world today. Last fall, a United Nations panel warned humanity has just a dozen years to take urgent action to curb heat-trapping carbon pollution and limit catastrophic impacts to our climate.

Insurance Bureau of Canada vice president Aaron Sutherland speaks about the costs of climate change at a business luncheon.
Photo: Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute

We’ve seen firsthand what our province can accomplish as a climate leader. For example, B.C.’s low carbon fuel standard has effectively reduced pollution from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles while promoting the production of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles. LiveSmart BC rebates supported energy efficiency upgrades for 10,000 homes per year between 2008 and 2014.

Many B.C. businesses are firmly committed to climate action as well. Climate Smart Businesses, a Vancouver-based social enterprise, has worked with hundreds of companies across the province that have significantly shrunk their carbon footprints while saving a combined $4.5 million a year in operating costs.

A strong B.C. requires a prosperous economy, where businesses are well positioned to be competitive and thrive in the rapidly evolving global marketplace. We urge the government to position B.C. to provide the goods and services needed in a low-carbon world, make clean choices more affordable and accessible, protect our families and communities from climate change, and grow clean jobs and attract global investment.

In this regard, the CleanBC plan is a bold step toward securing a prosperous, low carbon future for B.C. We were pleased to see the plan backed up by $902 million over three years in Budget 2019 — the largest investment in climate solutions and clean growth on an annual basis in B.C. history. Next, we look forward to full implementation of the plan.

CleanBC paints a compelling picture of the future. All new homes and buildings will be low carbon in a little over 10 years. In just over 20 years, all new cars sold will be zero emissions. Going forward, we will generate more clean electricity and renewable fuels, and burn less oil and gas.

Arc’teryx, Climate Smart, Innergex Renewable Energy, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and Vancity, in partnership with the Pembina Institute, are forming the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy. We believe strong climate and energy policies provide certainty and are good for business. We invite other B.C. businesses to join us.

Climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for B.C. Let’s work together to secure the health of our families, the safety of our communities, and the prosperity of our economy, and build the clean future.

Tamara Vrooman is president and CEO of Vancity.

Aaron Sutherland is vice president for the Pacific region at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Karen Tam Wu is B.C. director at the Pembina Institute.

This op-ed originally appeared in BCBusiness on March 27, 2019.

For information on joining the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy, please contact Melyssa Hudson.

B.C. businesses: New climate plan will boost clean economic growth

Prominent companies support low carbon innovation and investment

Premier John Horgan and Green Leader Andrew Weaver at the announcement of the CleanBC plan on December 5, 2018. Photo: Province of B.C.

VANCOUVER / MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH & TSLEIL-WAUTUTH TERRITORIES — Five leaders in British Columbia’s corporate sector are applauding the B.C. government for laying out a bold vision for clean economic growth in the province.

Today, Arc’teryxClimate Smart BusinessesInnergex Renewable Energy, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and Vancity issued statements welcoming the province’s new climate plan as a bold step toward securing a prosperous, low carbon future for B.C.

These prominent companies and organizations are the founding partners of Businesses for B.C.’s Clean Economy, a new initiative of the Pembina Institute. They operate in the apparel, social enterprise, energy, and finance sectors.

Together, they support the B.C. government taking the following measures to build out the clean economy:

  1. Position B.C. to provide the goods and services needed in a low-carbon world
  2. Make clean choices more affordable and accessible
  3. Protect our families and communities from climate change
  4. Grow clean jobs and attract global investment

Quotes

“Arc’teryx has a vested interest in smart action on climate change. Protecting the outdoors throughout all seasons is central to our business, core activities, and community. Our competitiveness also depends on effective action on climate change, which is outlined in the new B.C. climate plan. These steps towards a clean economy make us proud to be headquartered in British Columbia.”
— Jon Hoerauf, president and general manager, Arc’teryx

“This plan reveals businesses as lead drivers in British Columbia’s transition to a prosperous clean economy. The companies we’ve worked with have significantly shrunk their carbon footprints while saving a combined $4.5 million a year in operating costs.”
— Elizabeth Sheehan, president, Climate Smart Businesses

“The clean economy isn’t just about the environment and business; it’s also about people. We’re pleased to see the CleanBC plan prioritizing electrification as it is the best path forward to achieving GHG reductions in the province, and Innergex is poised to support the ongoing build-out of the clean electricity supply. Done right, this transition to using more renewable energy can ensure that climate action brings economic benefits to Indigenous and local communities across British Columbia.”
— Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, vice president for corporate relations, Innergex Renewable Energy

“Climate change is a clear and present danger that increasingly impacts British Columbians and all Canadians. Insured losses due to extreme weather now exceed $1 billion annually across the country and, as evidenced by the impact that floods and wildfires had across the province this year, B.C. is not immune to these trends. IBC commends the government for today’s renewed commitment to climate action and looks forward to B.C.’s renewed climate adaptation strategy in 2019.”
— Aaron Sutherland, vice president for the Pacific region, Insurance Bureau of Canada

“With half a million members, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Our members care deeply about environmental sustainability and climate action. This climate plan will improve access to low carbon buildings and electric vehicles and rebates for home retrofits.”
— Tamara Vrooman, president and chief executive officer, Vancity

“B.C.’s new climate plan signals an exciting vision for a clean economy. In just over 10 years, all new homes and buildings will be low carbon. In just over 20 years, all new cars sold will be zero emissions. Going forward, we will generate more clean electricity and renewable fuels, and burn less oil and gas. B.C.’s climate strategy brings hope for all Canadians concerned about the wellbeing of their families and communities.”
— Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute

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Contact

Stephen Hui
Communications Lead, Pembina Institute
778-987-7654
stephenh@pembina.org
Tw: @StephenHui

About us

Businesses for B.C.’s Clean Economy is a network of leading B.C. businesses and organizations aligned behind a vision for a clean and prosperous economy and climate action. We believe that strong climate and energy policy provides certainty and is good for business.

Arc’teryx is a global design and manufacturing company based in North Vancouver, Canada, specializing in technical high-performance apparel, outerwear and equipment. Our products are distributed through more than 3,000 retail locations worldwide, including 33 owned brand stores globally.

Climate Smart Businesses, an award-winning certified B Corp, has developed a practical and solutions-based program specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to profitably track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2007, Climate Smart has helped close to 1,000 businesses and 40 partner cities and organizations prepare for and participate in the low-carbon economy.

Innergex Renewable Energy is a renewable energy company that develops, acquires, owns, and operates hydroelectric facilities, wind farms, solar farms, and geothermal power generation plants. Innergex is a Canadian company with a global portfolio currently consisting of interests in 68 operating facilities across five countries with an aggregate net installed capacity of 2,091 MW (gross 3,072 MW), including 22 operating facilities with a net installed capacity of 604 MW (gross 990 MW) in British Columbia.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada.

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 525,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish, and Alert Bay. With $26.4 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union.

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa.