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Cleantech Cluster Update – The Business Case for Sustainability

Sustainability – Moving from Burden to Opportunity

The BC Cleantech Cluster Initiative, led by Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, is bringing together key stakeholders groups to support the economic development of cleantech sectors across the Province and to put in motion a sustainable model to advance British Columbia’s thriving cleantech sector

As part of the Cleantech Cluster initiative, we brought together a select group of Corporate leaders known for their interest and expertise in supporting sustainability and cleantech to meet business objectives over  a roundtable style discussion over dinner on Oct 10, 2019 in Vancouver BC. 

The conversation was lively and engaging, with lots of ideas, stories and best practices being shared around the dinner table. A number of key themes emerged such as the importance of supporting innovation and reducing the time-to-market cycle of cleantech through funding mechanisms, incentives, long-term stable regulations and policies, and access to capital. 

A related theme was the idea of changing the narrative around corporate sustainability from a ‘burden’ to an opportunity, that sustainability should just be built-in to business case analysis and procurement/purchasing.  Analysts and procurement officers are used to assessing health, safety, and profitability in their decision-making, and sustainability should just be seen as another assessment factor in work they are doing anyways, instead of an additional burden on them. 

In addition to that, we see that businesses are adapting their business and strategy model to align with low carbon policy.

Examples like Unilever and Walmart were discussed as companies that doubled their business and as they achieved sustainability targets, and used the transition to a sustainable business as a means to improve their profitability.  There are huge economic benefits to a clean economy, and these stories/messages need to get out. 

Huge thank you to these industry leaders for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and contributing to the BC Cleantech Cluster Initiative. 

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Using the best practices of cluster-based economic development, the BC Cleantech Cluster Initiative is bringing together key stakeholders groups including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), associations, industry, investors and Federal and Provincial government to put in motion a sustainable model to help advance British Columbia’s thriving cleantech sector. 

The recent industry dinner in Vancouver, BC is one of many regional and sector-based workshop/meetings being held across the province to stimulate discussion and share information and ideas about the cleantech economy emerging in British Columbia.

For more information:
https://foresightcac.com/cluster/

About the Author


Catriona Power
Director of Partnerships & Strategy,
Foresight Cleantech Accelerator
Twitter:  @catrionapower
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catrionapower/

Catriona is the Director of Partnerships and Strategy for Foresight Cleantech Accelerator, taking a lead on delivering high profile programs around cluster development, partnerships, collaboration and communications.

Catriona has worked at the intersection of business, sustainability and technology for the last nine years with organizations in Canada, UK, Europe and India, and has an MA Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex, UK and a BSc International Development from University College Cork, Ireland.