Vancouver’s Climate Pledge and the Changing Economy

Our decision to launch the Vancouver Climate Pledge for businesses was an invitation for the city’s companies to join together with the city in acting on the growing impacts of climate change. It was also meant to be a spotlight on our changing world, where greening business increasingly means economic opportunity for those who act quickly, and economic survival for those who don’t.

Part of the Vancouver Economic Commission’s job is to track – and source when no one else does – critical economic data every day for the business community. That data tells us that our city’s green economy generated 1.9 billion dollars in 2014, and that Vancouver is forecast to lead the country’s economic growth over the next five years (at an average of 3 percent) as the City continues working towards its audacious goal of becoming the greenest in the world by 2020.

Analysis of the data shows us that the biggest driver of Vancouver’s brand value – one of the strongest city brands in the world valued at 31.5 billion dollars in 2015 – is the city’s reputation for being green. We also know, both from the data and our discussions with companies every day, that Vancouver’s reduction in GHG’s by 7 percent, waste by 18 percent and water by 16 percent in the last 10 years increasingly matters to today’s talent and consumers.

The immediate support that we received for the Vancouver Climate Pledge from some of the city’s largest and most influential businesses – companies like TELUS, Hootsuite, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Vancity, Lush Handmade Cosmetics, Solegear Bioplastic Technologies, Hydra Energy, Brinkman Climate, East Side Games and the Vancouver Aquarium – reflects these trends. They represent a range of diverse and growing knowledge-based industries, such as Tech (which is larger than forestry, mining, oil & gas combined), as well as companies from more traditional ones that understand the growing link between their economic future and the future of our planet.

As the world gears up for COP21 – the latest United Nations climate change conference in Paris – we hope that businesses throughout our city will recognize these workplace and economic trends by joining this pledge. For Vancouver employees and consumers, we hope that they will show their support by encouraging their workplaces and favourite brands to join us too. Change comes from everyone.