Three Key Sectors Driving Growth of B.C.’s Green Economy and Jobs



GLOBE-Net, October 11, 2012 – Companies in three key sectors of British Columbia’s green economy have been successfully creating thousands of ‘green’ jobs by developing and selling innovative solutions, sustainable products, and clean technologies to domestic and global customers.

That is one of the main findings from an extensive research study conducted by GLOBE Advisors over the last six months. The study, funded in part by the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement, has culminated in a series of market reports released today on three core sectors of B.C.’s green economy.

[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” width=”200″ bcolor=”add3d5″ bgcolor=”add3d5″ image=”null”]These new reports build on GLOBE’s West Coast Clean Economy study released in March 2012 and provide critical insights on job creation and investment promotion opportunities in B.C.’s clean energy, green building, and clean transportation sectors.  [/stextbox]

In 2011, these three sectors in B.C. were responsible for 123,350 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs (75,170 direct and 48,180 indirect) and over $15 billion in gross domestic product ($10.7 billion direct and $4.4 billion indirect).

Local B.C. companies are working to provide innovative solutions to address domestic and global challenges with products that range from lithium-ion batteries used as back-up power in the telecommunications sector, to ultra energy-efficient fiberglass windows and doors, to intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies for transit fleet management.

“Companies are rapidly changing the landscape in the province through their innovative solutions and products that promote energy and resource efficiency. In turn, these companies have improved their competitive positioning and increased revenues,” says Dr. John Wiebe, President and CEO of the GLOBE Group.

Many companies have recently expanded to meet rising demand for their products and services at home and abroad. Some have seen double-digit employment growth despite recent market volatilities. As one example, Westport Innovations, a leading global supplier of low-carbon natural gas engines, hired more than 200 people in British Columbia in 2011 alone.

“Research that we are undertaking through the Federal-Provincial Labour Market Development Agreement funding helps our province measure and meet our future labour market needs so we can drive economic growth,”said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training. “This study gives us a blueprint for how to tailor the province’s education and training programs to make sure we have the right people ready for the green economy of today and tomorrow.”

Primary research for the study included in-depth interviews with more than 90 business executives and human resource professionals from leading companies in B.C., as well as with representatives from government, major industry associations, post-secondary and training institutions, and non-governmental organizations to cover the entire value chain within each sector.

Supportive public policies and programs, as well as close partnerships between government, industry, research facilities, and post-secondary institutions, have proven critical for company success. At the provincial level, overarching public policies such as B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, the Carbon Tax, and the Clean Energy Act, as well as program’s such as LiveSmart, have been critical for growing jobs and boosting investment in these sectors.

[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” width=”200″ bcolor=”add3d5″ bgcolor=”add3d5″ image=”null”]In addition, programs offered by organizations such as MITACS, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), and the National Research Council (NRC) have also been essential to the success of companies in the development of leading-edge products and clean technologies.  [/stextbox]

The GLOBE Advisors research also reveals that companies continue to face challenges in terms of growing customer awareness and understanding for the benefits and value of their products and services.

Overcoming the real and perceived risks involved with new technology adoption and sourcing the skilled and qualified professionals needed are other issues of concern to the companies consulted during the research. Finding the capital and resources required for expansion plans was identified as a perennial challenge faced by companies in all three sectors analyzed.

“British Columbia is a North American leader in terms of providing solutions to the world’s energy and environmental problems. In every region of the province, small but very innovative companies are providing solutions that could have a large global impact. We need to continue supporting these companies by providing market and export assistance, facilitating research and commercialization, and by enabling better access to skilled labour,” said Wiebe.

The GLOBE reports recommend continued government leadership through supportive public policies, programs, and procurement; improved public education and engagement; innovative business and financing models; greater efforts to promote collaboration and knowledge transfer; and improved access to skilled labour, education, and training, all of which are important for accelerating investment and job creation in B.C.’s green economy. Demonstration projects that showcase B.C. products and solutions were seen as critical for showcasing opportunities for new technologies and as tools for education and training.

About GLOBE Advisors

GLOBE Advisors, a subsidiary of the Vancouver-based GLOBE Group, was established in 2005 in response to an increasing demand for project-based consulting services in the environmental business sector. GLOBE’s vast networks and extensive experience in the areas of project management, consulting, partnership development, and market research makes them well positioned to undertake a number of endeavors to further the business of the environment.

To download full copies of the three market reports in PDF, click here.


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