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Refreshing Canada's definition of the blue economy – Corporate Knights Magazine

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In Canada and around the world, “building back better” has become the overarching focus of COVID-19 recovery. Eager to be included in this rebuilding process, Canada’s freshwater and ocean sectors have begun to define ambitious visions for the future, linking environmental priorities with job creation and economic growth.

For the ocean community, this vision centres on the “blue economy,” defined in a recent Delphi Group report as referring broadly to economic activities that are both based in and actively good for the ocean. While “blue economy” remains an emerging and somewhat fuzzy concept, the report echoes a growing trend toward viewing a broad range of ocean-related activities – established industries, emerging technologies and environmental challenges – through a single blue-economy lens.

While we applaud this movement toward integrated management of ocean resources, we can’t help but notice that freshwater is missing from the conversation.

From a management perspective, freshwater and oceans have historically been distant cousins – clearly related, occasionally crossing paths, but largely living independent lives. But as our knowledge of planetary systems has evolved, the distance between these two worlds has narrowed considerably, and the number of connections between them has rapidly grown.

Take, for example, desalination technologies. The ocean-based blue-economy definition classifies desalination as an ocean activity (see the World Bank’s 2017 report). But Canadian water technology companies, such as British Columbia–based Saltworks, are successfully developing and applying desalination technologies to a range of industrial wastewater treatment applications.

Or let’s consider the “wicked problem” of plastic. Plastic pollution is a major issue facing the world’s oceans and is increasingly propelling Canada’s international commitments, from its founding role in the Global Plastic Action Partnership to its strong support for the Ocean Plastics Charter. But plastic pollution is not, at its core, an oceans issue. Of the more than eight million tons of plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans every year, most is carried into the ocean by rivers, with 90% of plastic pollution coming from just 10 river systems.

A recent map of Canada’s water-technology ecosystem highlights dozens of similar connections, from hydropower (emerging technologies harnessing both tidal and freshwater currents) to aquaculture (a rapidly growing sector including land- and ocean-based operations). These connections make it clear that there is no magic dividing line between freshwater and oceans, where one rule book ends and another takes over.

What do we stand to gain from bringing these two worlds together under a single blue-economy umbrella? In no uncertain terms: a lot.

Because of Canada’s size and the number of sectors that intersect freshwater, coordination in this space has always been a challenge. Freshwater simultaneously fits into a range of sectors, from mining and energy to agriculture and municipal services, and lives nowhere, with no dedicated agency advocating for its interests (the current conversation around the creation of a Canada Water Agency is a promising one, which we’re following with interest).

By extension, freshwater infrastructure and innovation, including around drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and environmental protection, does not attract attention or investment at the same scale as the ocean economy.

How, then, can we leverage the strengths of Canada’s ocean community to advance the interests of “all waters”? We can start by learning from and building on the successes of institutions such as Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, a multi-sectoral organization created by the federal government to support ocean innovation, which has provided a hub to coordinate activity around ocean technologies and solutions. An equivalent entity for freshwater could play a significant role in accelerating investment and innovation around water challenges.

We can also draw inspiration from the ocean economy to generate new sustainable business models and investment for the freshwater sector. Hosted in 2018, the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy explored how to harness the potential of our oceans to improve the lives of all and leverage research and innovation to build prosperity. Building on this theme, Canada’s emerging Blue Economy Strategy (currently focused exclusively on oceans) aims to align economic growth in the ocean sector with job creation and climate action, as well as greater participation of Indigenous Peoples, women and under-represented groups in the ocean economy.

Building back better requires us to take a holistic view of water systems and understand the numerous and complex interconnections between freshwater and ocean sectors.

The prime minister’s Speech from the Throne in September 2020 recognized that “investing in the Blue Economy will help Canada prosper.” Reframing the blue economy as “economic activities that are based in and actively good for all water systems” will better position Canada to tackle the complex environmental challenges that water systems face and harness emerging economic opportunities at the interface of freshwater and ocean sectors.

Melissa Dick is a program manager with Aqua Forum, a non-profit organization whose flagship program is the AquaHacking Challenge.

Alan Shapiro is the director of waterNEXT, Canada’s emerging water-technology ecosystem, and principal at Shapiro & Company.

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TSX extends gains as gold prices rise, set to rise for third week

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(Reuters) -Canada’s main stock index extended its rise on Friday after hitting a record high a day earlier as gold prices advanced, and was set to gain for a third straight week.

* At 9:40 a.m. ET (13:38 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange‘s S&P/TSX composite index was up 24.24 points, or 0.1%, at 19,326.16.

* The Canadian economy is likely to grow at a slower pace in this quarter and the next than previously expected, but tighter lockdown restrictions from another wave of coronavirus were unlikely to derail the economic recovery, a Reuters poll showed.

* The energy sector climbed 0.6% even as U.S. crude prices slipped 0.1% a barrel. Brent crude added 0.1%. [O/R]

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.3% as gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,777.9 an ounce. [GOL/] [MET/L]

* The financials sector gained 0.2%. The industrials sector rose 0.1%.

* On the TSX, 117 issues advanced, while 102 issues declined in a 1.15-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 14.26 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cascades Inc, which jumped 4.2%, and Ballard Power Systems, which rose 2.9%.

* Lghtspeed POS fell 5.6%, the most on the TSX, while the second biggest decliner was goeasy, down 4.9%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Zenabis Global Inc, Bombardier and Royal Bank of Canada.

* The TSX posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new low.

* Across Canadian issues, there were 160 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, with total volume of 29.68 million shares.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru;Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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Canadian economy likely to slow, but COVID-19 threat to growth low

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By Indradip Ghosh and Mumal Rathore

BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Canadian economy is likely to grow at a slower pace this quarter and next than previously expected, but tighter lockdown restrictions from another wave of coronavirus were unlikely to derail the economic recovery, a Reuters poll showed.

Restrictions have been renewed in some provinces as they struggle with a rapid spread of the virus, which has already infected over 1 million people in the country.

After an expected 5.6% growth in the first quarter, the economy was forecast to expand 3.6% this quarter, a sharp downgrade from 6.7% predicted in January.

It was then forecast to grow 6.0% in the third quarter and 5.5% in the fourth, compared with 6.8% and 5.0% forecast previously.

But over three-quarters of economists, or 16 of 21, in response to an additional question said tighter curbs from another COVID-19 wave were unlikely to derail the economic recovery, including one respondent who said “very unlikely”.

Canada is undergoing a third wave of the virus and while case loads are accelerating, the resiliency the economy has shown in the face of the second wave suggests it can ride out the third wave as well, without considerable economic consequences,” said Sri Thanabalasingam, senior economist at TD Economics.

The April 12-16 poll of 40 economists forecast the commodity-driven economy would grow on average 5.8% this year, the fastest pace of annual expansion in 13 years and the highest prediction since polling began in April 2019.

For next year, the consensus was upgraded to 4.0% from 3.6% growth predicted in January.

What is likely to help is the promise of a fiscal package by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late last year, which the Canadian government was expected to outline, at least partly, in its first federal budget in two years, on April 19.

When asked what impact that would have, over half, or 11 of 20 economists, said it would boost the economy significantly. Eight respondents said it would have little impact and one said it would have an adverse impact.

“The economic impact of the federal government’s promised C$100 billion fiscal stimulus will depend most importantly on its make up,” said Tony Stillo, director of Canada economics at Oxford Economics.

“A stimulus package that enhances the economy’s potential could provide a material boost to growth without stoking price pressures.”

All but two of 17 economists expected the Bank of Canada to announce a taper to the amount of its weekly bond purchases at its April 21 meeting. The consensus showed interest rates left unchanged at 0.25% until 2023 at least.

“The BoC is set to cut the pace of its asset purchases next week,” noted Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics.

“While it will also upgrade its GDP forecasts, we expect it to make an offsetting change to its estimate of the economy’s potential, implying the Bank will not materially alter its assessment of when interest rates need to rise.”

 

 

(Reporting and polling by Indradip Ghosh and Mumal Rathore; editing by Rahul Karunakar, Larry King)

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Economy

CANADA STOCKS – TSX rises 0.78% to 19,321.92

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* The Toronto Stock Exchange‘s TSX rises 0.78 percent to 19,321.92

* Leading the index were Martinrea International Inc <MRE.TO​>, up 7.4%, Fortuna Silver Mines Inc​, up 7.1%, and Hudbay Minerals Inc​, higher by 6.7%.

* Lagging shares were AcuityAds Holdings Inc​​, down 6.7%, Ballard Power Systems Inc​, down 6.5%, and Northland Power Inc​, lower by 6.0%.

* On the TSX 165 issues rose and 60 fell as a 2.8-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were 18 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 203.0 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Royal Bank Of Canada, Suncor Energy Inc and Air Canada.

* The TSX’s energy group fell 0.59 points, or 0.5%, while the financials sector climbed 0.86 points, or 0.3%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.27%, or $0.17, to $63.32 a barrel. Brent crude  rose 0.36%, or $0.24, to $66.82 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 10.8% for the year.

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