Leading the Pack or Lagging Behind – Key Findings

Author (s): 

Policy Horizons Canada

Document Type: 

Policy Insight

Published Date: 

2012-03

ISBN number: 

PH4-96/2-2012E-PDF
978-1-100-20243-3

Alternative Format: 

NOTE: Hyperlinks

  All links were valid as of date of publication.

In 2011, Policy Horizons Canada focused a lens on the relationship between the economy and the environment with particular emphasis on Canada's competitiveness over the next fifteen years.

The Study Identified Five Significant Themes

Energy prices and pathways are wild cards: As demand for low-carbon and inexpensive energy grows, some jurisdictions are poised to reap competitive benefits - how should Canada position itself to be a winner in this emerging world?

Standards aren't standard anymore: Consumer expectations are changing. As a consequence networks and supply chains with their own requirements for doing business are pushing companies to go beyond regulation in search of profits, reputations and clearer consciences. Is a referee necessary to guard the public interest?

Policy instruments beyond regulation: Some states are making the move away from taxing investment and salaries and shifting to fiscal instruments to address environmental and social objectives. What are implications for Canadian competitiveness? Are there opportunities for Canada to gain competitive advantage?

What gets measured gets managed: National governments, such as France and China, and multilateral institutions, such as the World Economic Forum and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, are developing new indicators of sustainable growth, competitiveness and quality of life. What does Canada need to be ready for broader measures?

Resilience helps to cope with change: Resilient systems have the capacity to adapt to, and even exploit, shocks. In a future where shocks are likely, what can organizations and firms do to achieve resiliency and what can governments do to help?

What does the future hold?

The pace of change globally and domestically is rapid. Environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness, once believed to be at odds, are becoming more closely aligned. Looking forward, as our study showed, raises some key policy questions that may require further research. Perhaps the most important question is: Are Canadian businesses and governments ready to adapt to the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities the future may hold?