Sustainable Prosperity Blog
By and large, ecosystem valuation (giving a monetary value to the benefits that nature provides, such as purification of water by wetlands) is still an academic undertaking or one that is limited to raising awareness around the value of protecting or restoring nature. Until recently, attempts to translate ecosystem valuation into specific governance changes have been few and far between.
The federal government’s decision to carefully harmonize our national policy on climate change to US national policy has been explained as basic risk management. Why risk putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis our largest trading partner. Why impose a cost on economy, the thinking goes, if the Americans don’t do the same on theirs?
Competitiveness in the context of carbon pricing is generally narrowly understood as the impacts on emission-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE) industries. A full and informed discussion of the impact of climate policy on competitiveness is needed to give policy-makers a more accurate picture of how to plan and deliver climate policy options.
I was on a panel early in the fall at the University of Guelph to announce George Green’s appointment as the first Kinross Knowledge Exchange Chair in Environmental Governance. As someone whose day job is to promote research and policy that protects the environment and stimulates innovation in the economy, the day at Guelph really caused me to reflect on the roles that governance and knowledge exchange have, and the critical moment in time we are at for each.
Governments need to raise money from somewhere. As the debts of western governments have ballooned through the prolonged economic crisis, this is especially true today. In addition to providing services to its citizens - be they fans of big government or small - keeping debt levels manageable requires income streams.
One of Sustainable Prosperity’s recent research projects was to identify the environmental markets in Canada and estimate their value.
On November 8th, as the inaugural speaker for their Environmental Policy and Economics speaker series, Sustainable Prosperity, the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment and Carleton University’s School of Administration and Public Policy hosted Nick Johnstone from the OECD’s Environment Directorate. Mr. Johnstone spoke on Leveraging Private Finance and Inducing Innovation for Climate Mitigation through Public Policy, based on research carried out by his team in the Empirical Policy Analysis Unit.
Most of the scenarios that have been mooted for how Canada could achieve its climate change commitments stipulate a very significant role for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
Creating policy is both an art and a science. The politics around climate change makes this especially true of anything touching energy or climate policy. It is difficult for governments to strike the right balances – between evidence-based analysis and public and political desires; between timeliness and inclusiveness of process; between transparency and secrecy.
People have argued for centuries about how to fix capitalism. One of the latest and most practical contributions to the debate is the concept of the B Corporation. B Corporations are described as “a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems”.
The Canadian International Council (CIC) joins the growing list of organizations calling for a carbon price.
You don’t need a crystal ball to imagine what living in a changing climate will feel like. This summer, record-breaking temperatures, drought, ice melt and wildfires have offered plenty of experience of what it’s like to live in a warming world.
Community and interest group involvement in environmental decision-making is currently a major issue – both internationally as Canadian companies seek to access resources in other countries, and domestically as proposed changes to environmental assessment law raise questions about the adequacy of legislated public consultation for major industrial developments in the future.
The term ‘green economy’ has become increasingly common but is, as with many such terms, without a common definition. Some assume that ‘green economy’ refers only to the environmental good and services sectors, i.e. sectors that produce products or provide services that have obvious environmental benefits, such as renewable energy or water filtration technology. Given that these sectors are only a subset of the entire economy, this narrow definition not only neglects most economic activity, but ignores the scale of the environmental challenges we face.
How far does consumer freedom of choice extend? Should consumers be able to consume whatever they want, and in whatever quantity they want? Does the consumer always know best?
The economy of the future will be more resource-efficient and less carbon-intensive, and these trends will force change in the very business models that underlie corporate activity.Business models refer to, simply, the way that a company organizes itself to make money. Business models are constantly evolving to keep up with trends. But consider how the trends of resource constraints and information technology are converging to alter the way companies create and deliver value.
When we think of public policy in relation to climate change, we think of carbon pricing; meaning, government policies that will promote the reduction in carbon production and consumption. While carbon pricing is essential to spur the transformation towards a low-carbon economy, there is another type of climate change policy that is also important for policy-makers to begin to consider: climate change adaptation.
What information do company managers rely on when making decisions? Financial information is of paramount importance, whereas environmental and social factors are often overlooked. Puma has recently made impressive strides in evolving the degree of sophistication of environmental and social data it collects and analyses, and how it will be used to make better decisions.
In the face of any event, risk or threat, humans undergo a “sensemaking” process – where we process information to assign meaning, which informs the action we will take to address the threat. When examining how individuals and companies are responding to climate change and other environmental stresses, understanding how people process and make sense of the information they receive helps explain why some people are alarmed and compelled to take action and others are not.
How will competitive dynamics and consumer spending patterns change in a resource-constrained world?
Do companies have the decision-making tools and data to confidently make forward-looking investments for low probability, high impact, events?
Welcome to Sustainable Prosperity's new blog - this post serves as the introduction to an ongoing series of posts by SP staff on adaptation, in relation to corporate and political decision-making and how best to create resilient systems and institutions that will thrive in an uncertain world.