Monday, February 16, 2015

Canada's Green Economy: Fossil Fuels Overshadow Sustainable Business

Although Canadian companies are engaging sustainability these efforts are overshadowed by the nation's reliance on fossil fuels. Nonetheless, Canadian businesses are seeing the value of engaging sustainability.

The report Canada and the Green Economy was written by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the global body for professional accountants. The report explores what the green economy means to Canada, with a particular focus on Canadian companies and the accountancy profession.

The report describes a green economy as one which is "low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive." Canada’s green economy is estimated to be 2–5 percent of GDP and worth $32–80 billion. It is interesting to note that in 2011, the International Monetary Fund said that Canada’s oil subsidies amounted to $34 billion per year.

While the report indicates that the green economy has been elevated onto the international agenda, it also said that Canada is, "a major global player in key aspects of the established old economy – notably fossil energy, and Athabascan oil sands in particular – and has a complex relationship with global efforts to move to a green economy. Making significant progress will depend on Canada’s simultaneously increasing greener activities and phasing out less sustainable ones."

In a section on case studies it highlighted sustainability initiatives from Walmart, Better Place, Loblaw, Domtar and Vancity.

Walmart: The retailer’s Balzac refrigerated food distribution center near Calgary is one of the greenest commercial buildings in the country.

Better Place: The electric vehicle infrastructure company’s Ontario pilot is helping bring sustainable travel to Canada through an integrated approach to EVs, batteries, financing and charging infrastructure.

Loblaw: The case study examines the company’s sustainable fish procurement and retailing and how it has expanded the use of sustainability certification across different species of seafood.

Domtar: The study outlines the company’s efforts to ensure the sustainability credentials of its products through its paper trail online tool.

Vancity: The company supports its customers’ sustainability choices through auto loans, home improvement loans and business financing that favor greener options.

To read the full report click here.

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