We live in an era of rapid disruption where global forces are now demanding our full attention. Emerging economies, geopolitical inflections, health risks, cyber threats, and changing employment prospects are now top of mind. Against this backdrop are digital technologies that are accelerating innovations and transforming industries faster than economies can adjust.
Climate change remains, however, the most pressing endeavour of our time with potentially profound socioeconomic impacts in the coming years. Today, the world collectively emits around 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) each year, a rise of 40% compared to 1990. Such alarming trends are expected to have far-ranging environmental, economic, and health effects, changing the lives and livelihoods of many citizens around the world. Vulnerable populations are also expected to be the hardest hit in this environment, further exasperating inequities and
The industrial landscape in Canada, however, reveals a positive trend toward sustained growth for environmental-related sectors. Our recent research for the report Digital Talent Outlook 2025: Onward & Upwards projects a sizable increase in employment in Cleantech and Clean Resources by 2025 totalling around 352,000 and 185,000 workers respectively. Food and Agri-Tech are also seen as a growth sector, given the heightened demand for upwards of 49,000 workers in the next three years.
While such trends are encouraging, accelerating sustainable corporate transformation, as well as changing consumer behaviour, will require a significant shift in narrative that involves developing new business models, exploring an agenda of green research and development, adopting new fiscal and financial levers, and the elaboration of a strong regulatory framework.
The Path Forward:
For Canada to be a leader in climate change action, an all-encompassing approach in government policies, business strategies, and consumer behaviour will be necessary. Such an approach needs to address the following, among other issues:
• Favouring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows that promote sustainable business growth and green jobs
• Supporting research and development in green tech, renewable energy, and carbon capture processes
• Enabling monetary policies that foster greater institutional and private investments in the green economy
• Introducing a legal and regulatory regime to better address the climate change challenge
• Fostering fiscal and financial levers that influence corporate strategies and consumer behaviour toward environmentally conscious choices
• Preparing Canada’s talent for tomorrow’s green economy
With the stakes this high, we are in a race against time to reverse the effects of climate change. Advanced digital technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing, and 5G will no doubt play a decisive role in accelerating innovations toward a sustainable path forward. Our actions today will form the foundations of a better and prosperous future for generations to come.