Canadian Biomass Magazine

CEOs, civil society leaders call on First Ministers to implement low-carbon economy

December 4, 2019
By The Smart Prosperity Institute

Twenty-six prominent CEOs and civil society leaders from across Canada sent a letter to the Prime Minister and to provincial and territorial premiers today, with eight key recommendations for how to move beyond climate targets and plans and get to the implementation of a cleaner Canadian economy.

“Building a low-carbon, high-performance economy is a vital environmental responsibility. It is also a major economic opportunity for all sectors and regions of the country,” notes the letter, adding “we believe the time for us to capture this economic and environmental opportunity is now.”

The letter comes from business leaders (from oil, mining, insurance, manufacturing, banking, consumer products) as well as leaders of labour, youth, Indigenous, social and environmental organizations across Canada. It says that to capture the economic opportunities, Canada’s governments must work together to ramp up our efforts and focus on implementing existing policies, programs and funding.

The letter makes eight specific recommendations, including for governments to: build the infrastructure for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future; use procurement to drive adoption of promising clean innovations; give tax incentives for business adoption of clean technologies; invest in actions to store carbon and sustain biodiversity in natural systems; provide the education and skills for a next-generation clean economy, and enable a just transition for workers and communities affected by change; and design a sector-by-sector clean economy roadmap supported by a capital plan.


The letter to First Ministers is backed by a new report, launched today by the Smart Prosperity Institute, called “8 Reasons for Canada to Build a Clean Economy Now,” that summarizes the latest trends and statistics supporting Canada’s need to transition to a clean economy.

The report notes the global market for clean solutions will reach USD $26 trillion and create 65 million new jobs by 2030, offering tremendous opportunities for clean technology firms, as well as manufacturing, resources, energy and agriculture sectors – in which Canada has great strengths.

The letter concludes by saying, “It is time to come together as a nation and redouble our efforts to build a clean, prosperous future for all of Canada. We can do this.”

The list of letter signatories includes:

  • Meredith Adler, executive director, Student Energy
  • Ross Beaty, chairman, Equinox Gold Corp. and Pan American Silver Corp.
  • John Coyne, vice-president, legal and external affairs, Unilever Canada Inc.
  • Michael Crothers, president and Canada country chair, Shell Canada
  • Stewart Elgie, professor, University of Ottawa; co-chair, Smart Prosperity
  • David Hughes, president and CEO, The Natural Step Canada
  • Greg Kiessling, president, UpCapital Ltd.
  • John Lounds, president and CEO, The Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Jane McDonald, president (interim), International Institute for Sustainable Development
  • Lorraine Mitchelmore, co-chair, Smart Prosperity; corporate director, and former oil and gas CEO
  • Ken Neumann, Canadian national director, United Steelworkers
  • Merrell-Ann Phare, founding executive director, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources
  • Miles Richardson, director, National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development
  • Mark Rowlinson, president, Blue-Green Canada
  • David Runnalls, board president, Pembina Institute
  • Jean Simard, president and, Aluminum Association of Canada; co-founder and director, SWITCH
  • Bruce Simpson, senior principal, McKinsey and Company
  • Marcia Smith, senior vice-president, Teck Resources Limited
  • Merran Smith, executive director, Clean Energy Canada
  • Rick Smith, executive director, Broadbent Institute
  • Dominique Souris, co-founder and executive director, Youth Climate Lab
  • John Stackhouse, senior vice-president, office of the CEO, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Craig Stewart, vice-president, Insurance Bureau of Canada
  • Kirsten Tisdale, managing partner, Ernst & Young
  • Annette Verschuren, chair and CEO, NRStor; co-chair, Smart Prosperity
  • Rob Wesseling, president and CEO, The Co-operators

The complete Letter to First Ministers is available at:

The complete “8 Reasons for Canada to Build a Clean Economy Now” report is available here.

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