Green Economy

There’s no better example to illustrate Vancouver’s reputation as a forward-looking and sustainable city than the success story that is the Green Economy

A sector that has grown exponentially in less than a decade, Vancouver’s Green Economy includes seven sub-sectors:

  • Local food
  • Green building design and construction
  • Clean technology, alternative energy and green building products
  • Green infrastructure, transportation and planning
  • Sustainability services and education
  • Land and water remediation and environmental consulting
  • Materials management and recycling

Vancouver’s burgeoning success across these diverse areas ties directly into the City of Vancouver’s world-leading sustainability strategy, the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. It calls for doubling the number of green and local food jobs, and for doubling the number of businesses greening their operations, both as part of an overall vision to see Vancouver become the greenest city in the world by 2020. The Vancouver Economic Commission is empowered within the Greenest City Action Plan to act on these two goals, and since 2010 the VEC has pioneered not only one of the world’s most robust green jobs counting systems, but has built out numerous programs to help achieve a doubling of green jobs and greening operations by 2020.


State of Vancouver’s Green Economy 2018

Today, one in 15 Vancouverites works in the green economy. In VEC’s State of Vancouver’s Green Economy 2018 report, you can read about over 200 leading green businesses making great strides in innovation and the development of low-carbon solutions to traditional and contemporary problems in buildings, energy, mobility and resource management.
Read the 2018 Green Economy Report

Notable Highlights

  • In total, 15,885 new green and local food jobs were added to the city over the last 10 years, an increase of 87% since 2010.
  • Based on employment estimates for Vancouver, green and local food jobs represent roughly 10 per cent of all jobs in Vancouver, increasing from 4.2 per cent of jobs in 2010.
  • Local food is the second largest subsector of Vancouver’s green economy. Success has been driven by strong demand from consumers, public sector procurement policies and new supply sources. By way of example, today’s greatly expanded network of local farmers’ markets now provides a $15 million benefit to the local economy, a significant jump over sales in 1994, the first year of operation, when markets earned $40,000 over 11 weeks.
  • Green building design and construction is the largest sector, which grew 146% since 2010. Vancouver’s world-leading regulations, like green rezoning policy, and the Zero Emissions Building Bylaw, often referred to as “the greenest building code in the world,” are driving growth in this sector and making Vancouver businesses global exporters of green building practice and green building technology.
  • 25% of Canada’s cleantech companies are based in Vancouver, which is also home the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, the province’s industry association. Cleantech companies are working in all sectors of the economy, like Loop Energy in alternate transportation fuels, Saltworks in industrial wastewater treatment, Awesense in smart grids and energy analytics, and Teramerra in bio-pesticides and agri-tech. Vancouver’s startup ecosystem is incredibly robust and filled with innovators to watch: Sensible Build Science in advanced building control system, Nano-lit in smart, human-centric lighting systems, and Portable Electric for portable renewable energy systems.