Vancouver is known for being ‘green.’ Consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, we’ve got forests, beaches and mountains all within minutes of each other. We’re proud of the work we’ve done to protect our natural environment – it’s one of the reasons why Vancouver is such a popular place to live.
But we’re not content with the status quo. Across the world, we face serious environmental challenges. That’s why we’re leading by example and setting the pace.
In February 2009, we put together a Greenest City Action Team, composed of some of the best environmental minds in the world. Their job was to provide both short and long-term recommendations for Vancouver to improve its environmental performance.
We’re taking their advice and moving forward quickly – Vancouver now has a ten-year plan to become the greenest city in the world. We implemented the greenest building code in North America. We are investing $25 million over two years to improve cycling infrastructure – the biggest increase in Vancouver’s history. We just launched a curbside compost program and we’re partnering with local businesses to reduce their greenhouse gases.
We want Vancouver to set the environmental standard that other cities aspire to.
Going green isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for business. Around the world, we’re seeing a seismic shift to a more efficient and sustainable economy. Global financing for clean energy surpassed fossil fuels in 2008. The UN estimates that already 2.3 million people are employed in the renewable energy sector worldwide.
Governments everywhere are catching on. China is investing $440-660 billion in clean energy over the next ten years. One of the recent US stimulus bills alone invested $100 billion in clean energy. The green economy presents a huge opportunity for Vancouver.
Our city has rapidly growing clusters in emerging sectors like the clean-tech, digital media, and green building industries. Despite the global recession, these industries have thrived – investment and jobs are increasing while traditional industries are stalling. In the past year we’ve seen new offices open in Vancouver from Pixar, Canon, and Plug and Play Tech Centre.
Attracting and growing these green industries creates enormous benefits for every other sector in our city and region. That’s why we used the opportunity of the 2010 Winter Games as a way to put Vancouver on the map. With our new business brand of Vancouver Green Capital, we leveraged the once-in-a-lifetime economic development potential of the Games to strengthen and grow our local businesses. We profiled our best and brightest green businesses and targeted international companies to set up shop in Vancouver.
Our work is paying off – we’ve already secured over $60 million in new investment in Metro Vancouver, related directly to our efforts during the Olympics. In just eight weeks we hit the target we had set for November 2011 – and more deals are coming.
By building on our extraordinary strengths–a well-educated, diverse population, a breathtaking natural environment and a tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship–we can ensure a better future and take on the environmental and economic challenges we face today.