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Market News

 October 10, 2006
Sustainability: A Winning Merger of Growth and the Environment

 Economic growth and concern for the physical environment need to be integrated into a single concept of sustainability. This can be done by improving measurement and reducing the overlap in provincial and federal environment regulations, the Conference Board argues in a new publication. The report discusses the pros and cons of Canada's attempts to deal with climate change and manage pollution and resources.

It argues that environmental regulatory processes in Canada are reasonably well-designed, but they are not functioning well. Approvals for new mills, mines, oil and gas developments, and electrical generation and transmission projects are based more on processes than scientific and environmental evidence. They take too long and are too cumbersome. Moreover, regulatory duplication among different levels of government makes approval processes complex and costly.

The report also outlines the concept of industrial ecology, in which cities could use resources more efficiently and produce less waste. It concludes that although important movements have been made at the macro level toward social and political acceptance of sustainability, much remains to be done.

Improved measurement of the close relationship between gross domestic product and macro-level sustainability is required if we are to minimize the economic impact on Canada from greenhouse gas reduction and other global resource management issues, the Conference Board report states. It recommends that economic growth and concern for the physical environment need to be integrated into a single concept of sustainable prosperity.

This report is drawn from the first volume of the Conference Board's Canada Project, , which will offer more detailed ideas on principles of sustainable economic growth when it is published in early 2007

Sustainability: A Winning Merger of Growth and the Environment can be downloaded here.