While Canada has weathered the global financial crisis better than most, the key to ongoing prosperity entails greening the economy.
That was the key recommendation in the White Paper, a research paper titled “Toward a Green Economy for Canada.” The White Paper was recently released by Sustainable Prosperity, a University of Ottawa think tank led by some of the country’s top economic, business, environmental and research leaders.
The White Paper notes that the natural resources sector, one of the nation’s strongest performers throughout the economic crisis, will play a vital role given its importance to the country.
Among the many recommendations in the White Paper, it states that Canada must devise a holistic definition of a green economy. Rather than leaving green initiatives in the hands of the renewable resource sector, the definition must be expanded to include more than wind farms, solar panels and the like.
The White Paper also notes that, given Canada’s reliance on the natural resource sector, it is necessary to turn a serious eye to that field. The paper points out that greening is, essentially, maximizing the use of resources and ensuring optimal productivity with those resources.
“The path to a green economy goes through a dramatic increase in resource productivity,” said Sustainable Prosperity spokesperson Alex Wood, one of the White Paper’s authors. “Focusing our policies and investments on the development of business and technology models that deliver resource productivity will not only increase the value of our resources, but also create solutions that the whole world will be seeking.”
The paper also calls for stronger research to fill in gaps in information and data, as well as a greater focus from business and governments in creating a policy dialogue to ensure all parties are on the same page.
Wood notes that Canada may not seem like an ideal choice to lead the charge toward a green global economy, but added the White Paper offers a different view.
“Put simply, the world will need both our resources AND the ingenuity and innovation to deliver on a resource productivity agenda,” he wrote in a piece on iPolitics. “With our resource riches as a base of financial and human capital, we could very easily lead that agenda, and become a green economy in the process.”
He suggests that investments in technology to boost the productivity of resources will create two immediate benefits. In addition to lessening the environmental impacts of resource consumption, it can actually help position Canada as a leader in innovation. Should Canadian researchers devise such technology, there would be immediate global demand for it, he said.