Business leaders launch Green Initiative

Ottawa, Canada (GLOBE-Net) - The chief executives of major Canadian corporations have launched an initiative to make Canada a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean technologies and fostering sustainable economic development.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), an Ottawa-based not-for-profit, non-partisan organization composed of the CEOs of Canada’s leading enterprises, has announced an Environmental Leadership Initiative to be spearheaded by a Task Force composed of 25 CEOs from all sectors and regions of the country.

“Climate change is a serious challenge, for Canada and for the world,” said Thomas d’Aquino, Chief Executive and President of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). “As the heads of major corporations across all sectors of our economy, we are committed to doing our part in shaping an effective strategy for national success and global leadership,” he added.

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Mr. d’Aquino, Richard B. Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alcan Inc., and Richard L. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc. Mr. George is also Honorary Chair of the CCCE.

In a press release the CCCE outlined the immediate priority for the Task Force, namely to contribute to the current national effort to develop a comprehensive and realistic plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Canadian businesses already have invested a great deal in making our operations and products more energy-efficient, developing new technologies to reduce emissions and costs, and shaping sustainable business models,” Mr. Evans said, adding that “we realize that we can and must do more as a business community. However, this must be part of a broader, more integrated set of policies and efforts at both the federal and provincial levels that involve all Canadians.”

The Council also released an historical perspective on its involvement with environmental and energy issues, noting among other achievements that it helped in the formation of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, one of the most respected international business bodies concerned with sustainability issues.

In 2002 the Council developed The Kyoto Protocol Revisited: A Responsible and Dynamic Alternative for Canada, and an eight-point framework for action that would enable Canada to make a meaningful contribution to addressing both the long-term global challenge of climate change and more immediate global priorities, such as the alleviation of poverty, the provision of clean water and the improvement of health care in developing countries around the world.

Essential elements of that plan included:

  • A broadly based and inclusive national process that engages Canadians in the climate change debate and galvanizes their support for the policies necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • A stronger commitment by industry, to be defined through negotiated agreements between industry sectors and governments that would set emissions performance goals and serve as a catalyst to invest in the technologies that will lead to meaningful and lasting reductions in emissions.

  • A longer-term technology strategy that would place Canada at the forefront in the development and adoption of new technologies and lower carbon forms of energy.

  • Coordinated actions to address GHG emissions and urban air pollution in major urban centres, through such means as enhanced urban planning and new government investments in urban and inter-city public transit.

  • A leadership role for Canada internationally in promoting a longer-term and truly global solution to the climate challenge that can also meet the needs of developing countries to improve living standards.

  • A Canadian program on climate science and adaptation.

Reaction to the Council’s initiative from environmental groups has been cautious. Press reports attribute to the Sierra Club the observation that a third of the Task Force members come from the fossil fuel industry, with a long record of opposition to measures that would reduce Greenhouse gas emissions.

Suncor’s Richard George said businesses leaders have to act. “For business to achieve its potential in contributing both to a national plan and a global solution, we need policies that keep businesses strong and competitive, enabling them to attract the capital and expertise they need to drive innovation and sustainable growth,” he noted.

Several Corporate members of the Council are also members of the EXCEL Partnership, a forum of forward looking corporate leaders founded in 1996 by the Globe Foundation to develop, integrate and improve sustainable development in their corporate strategies, organizations and business models.

For More Information: Canadian Council of Chief Executives

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