Photo: Clean tech is good for environment and economy

Analytica Advisors president Céline Bak was keynote speaker at the Cleantech Edge event in September. (Credit: Barry Calhoun)

Canada's clean-tech industry is growing faster than every other major sector of the economy, directly employing 41,000 people and generating $11.3-billion in revenues in 2012 — up six per cent from 38,800 in 2011. The average clean-tech company in Canada employs 58 people. That's just some of the good news shared at a Foundation event by keynote speaker Céline Bak, president of Ottawa-based consulting firm Analytica Advisors, and co-founder of the Canadian Clean Technology Coalition.

The event, The Cleantech Edge: Canada's Fastest Growing Industry in the Age of Climate Change, was hosted in mid-September by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions to explore opportunities in the sector. The stats are from Analytica's 2014 Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report.

Bak said the industry is already significant and appears set to "grow into an industry comparable in size to other significant industries, like aerospace." At the current rate of growth, it's expected to be worth $50 billion by 2022 with employment projected to grow to 75,000.

The clean-tech industry now comprises 700 companies in 10 sectors across Canada, including renewable energy, water treatment, green building, and development of environmentally friendly consumer products.
The industry invested $1 billion in research and development in 2012 and $5 billion overall from 2008 to 2012. Industry-wide R&D spending was greater than that of natural resource industries (oil and gas extraction, mining, agriculture, forestry and fishing), and only $200 million less than the aerospace sector.

Clean technology offers tremendous environmental benefits by shifting from emissions-intensive economic activities to generating wealth by solving environmental challenges. The leading scientific body on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the state and future of humanity depends on these types of choices, and that it is better to act now than to leave things to chance.

Through its climate work and Trottier Energy Futures Project, the David Suzuki Foundation is helping to find solutions to environmental challenges that will also create benefits for employment and the economy.