Smart Grid, Renewables to Drive Canadian Sustainability Market Up 38%, Report Says

by | Mar 3, 2011

The Canadian sustainable business market will grow from US$2.3bn in 2010 to US$3.7bn in 2014, a 38 percent rise, according to an analyst report.

The Verdantix report Canadian Sustainable Business Spending 2009-14 found that the market will experience a 12 percent compound annual growth rate from 2009 to 2014. Sustainability spend from 2010 to 2011 will also rise by 12 percent.

The study of over 1,000 Canadian corporate environmental initiatives examined companies’ efforts and expenditure on energy efficiency, carbon management, sustainability strategy, risk management, cleantech innovation, sustainable operations, human capital investments and industrial emission reductions.

It also analyzed energy and climate change policy at the federal and provincial level, along with competitive dynamics within industries, innovation diffusion, risk drivers, oil, natural gas and electricity price forecasts, and Canadian and global GDP growth forecasts.

Spending on smart grid programs will experience the highest growth, Verdantix said, at 27 percent CAGR, reaching $142 million in 2014. On-site renewable energy, and carbon and energy data management, come next at 25 percent and 19 percent CAGR.

Other sustainability markets will grow at CAGRs between 5 and 19 percent.

The study found that emission-intensive industries will dominate the sustainable business spend, with oil, gas, utilities and basic resources companies generating nearly 40 percent of the spending in 2011. From 2009 to 2014, utilities and oil and gas firms will increase their spend at a 15 percent CAGR, compared to 12 percent for basic resources, but just eight percent for banks and insurance firms.

Verdantix contrasted the projected growth in sustainability programs with expectations for overall Canadian economic growth, which is projected at two to three percent during the 2010-2014 period.

“Beyond 2013, we expect higher oil prices, a competitive ratchet effect on sustainability investments and cleantech innovation to accelerate sustainability spending,” director David Metcalfe said.

But report author James Beresford, a Verdantix analyst, said, “While the Canadian market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 12% between 2009 and 2014, the pace of growth is held back by uncertainties over federal energy and climate policy. At the moment, Canadian federal policy does not include binding legislation to restrict emissions.  The federal government has postponed major policy decisions until the US position becomes clearer.

“At a provincial level the policy environment is fragmented. British Columbia, for example, has implemented a form of carbon taxation and signed up to the Western Climate Initiative. By contrast, Alberta is dominated by oil and shale gas industries and has acted as a brake on federal policy development.”

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