On January 19, 2022, New Brunswick Business Council President and CEO Alex LeBlanc spoke on behalf of the Council with the New Brunswick Legislature’s Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship.
In his remarks, Mr. LeBlanc stressed that the Councils’ membership – made up of 29 leaders of major New Brunswick-based enterprises – believe firmly in the reality of climate change and support taking climate action to ensure the sustainability and vibrancy of our province for future generations. They also believe that we must apply a competitiveness and economic lens to policy making, ensuring a managed transition to a low-carbon economy, where cost competitiveness, taxes, investment incentives, and other supports are competitive with other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally.
Business Council members recognize that a growing economy must be balanced with environmental stewardship and sustainability. Many Council members, including the Belledune Port Authority, Atlantic Industries Limited and McCain Foods, have taken proactive steps to address their environmental impact and limit carbon emissions. From the Council’s perspective, environmental sustainability is not simply a corporate social imperative, rather it is a business imperative that directly impacts overall competitiveness and resiliency.
Yet despite the positive momentum toward addressing climate change, including the COPP commitment to Net Zero by 2050 from countries representing 90 percent of global GDP, there are barriers to the transition to a low-carbon economy. Council members and partners have identified challenges, such as the effective measurement of a business’s carbon footprint, limited capital to make investments in cleaner energy and transportation, the lack of provincial government funding support, uncertain impacts from federal policies, the need for new expertise in carbon mitigation, and, more broadly, public support for the needed transitional measures.
It will not be an easy transition, but the New Brunswick Business Council believes we must take immediate steps as a province, country, and global community. There will be a cost – economic, social, and environmental - for delaying.
The Council proposed nine recommendations to the Standing Committee that it believes should be included in the next New Brunswick Climate Action Plan. In summary, these are:
Set clear targets that are measurable and provide long-term predictability to businesses.
Make investments to help businesses adapt, support emerging technologies, and, build capacity and expertise in government.
Create the conditions for investment and clean competitiveness by modernizing policies, regulations, and strategies – in partnership with communities, First Nations, and the private sector.
The New Brunswick Business Council believes that addressing climate change must be a priority for the Government of Canada and Government of New Brunswick, and for every New Brunswick business and citizen.
You can read the full text of Mr. LeBlanc’s remarks to the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship here.