GLOBE Capital

The Greatest Challenges and Opportunities for Canada in the Race to Net Zero

Jennifer Reynolds

By: Jennifer Reynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Finance International 

The clean economy is the greatest financial opportunity of the century
Canada boasts strong financial and tech sectorsthe opportunity is ours for the taking. 

Canada’s major banks have all stepped up to the tune of $2 trillion in commitments to sustainable finance. The federal government and many major Canadian corporations have committed to a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. However, as a high-carbon economy, we have a lot of work to do. 

To tackle the challenges ahead, we need to 
keep the following considerations in mind: 

  1. We have to work together. Climate change is not a political issue. It’s a business and social problem. To overcome this immense challenge, we need everyone at the tableWest and East, liberal and conservative, federal and provincial, urban and rural. We’re the second largest country in the world and we need to listen to all perspectives to move forward. 
  1. We can’t leave anyone behind. There should be no haves and have nots in the transition to a clean economy. We need to help oil, gas, and coal workers to reskill and transition to new careers. Canada’s future workforce should be diverse, inclusive, and equitable. 
  1. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must be part of the solution. This is a country of small businessesSMEs employ 90% of Canadians. These SMEs will need the support of corporate, government, and financial leaders to decarbonize. 

To show true climate leadership on the international stage
we should seize the following opportunities: 

  1. Accelerate the energy transition and build the economy of the future. Canada is known for natural resources, but climate change is forcing us to reimagine our energy sectorLet’s build on our strong tech sector to develop clean solutions that support the transition. 
  1. Look beyond our borders to share best practices and drive actionThe climate crisis is a global problem and we can only solve it through global collaboration. There are many leading international partnerships that are driving action, including the Financial Centres for Sustainability (where I serve as Co-chair)the Network for Greening the Financial System, the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance InitiativeTogether, we can move so much further and faster. 
  1. Model the transition to a clean economy for the rest of the world. Canada has an opportunity to set the global standard for a just, sustainable, and prosperous energy transition. 

Now, let’s get to work!


For more insights on the race to net zero, check out the GLOBE Capital closing session that Jennifer Reynolds is moderating: Countdown to COP26: Unlocking Capital on the Road to Net Zero. 


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