Importance to New Brunswick
In addition to the essential and obvious need for a healthy environment, our province’s environmental stewardship affects how competitive we are in attracting investment, marketing goods and services, and economic development. There is a growing demand for businesses to address the environmental sustainability of operations and supply chains, including such factors as carbon intensity, land and water management, and social acceptability.
A key environmental indicator is the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a main component of which is carbon dioxide. In New Brunswick, energy use is responsible for 92 percent of GHG emissions. Energy policy is therefore closely tied to our carbon footprint. Our province must do its part to reduce GHG emissions and remain competitive.
New Brunswick’s economy is highly reliant on industries that are heavy energy users and also export oriented. Reducing our environmental footprint will help our exporters remain competitive in a world that is increasingly environmentally conscious. Energy policy must be directed at mitigating the risk that our industries may lose their competitive position in markets that account for environmental responsibility, particularly with respect to GHG emissions.
In addition to risk mitigation, there are opportunities that flow from environmental leadership. There is greater recognition within our business community of the economic advantages of environmental sustainability and reducing GHG emissions. Our energy and environmental policies and practices can lead to more employment opportunities and economic growth. Energy efficiency programs offer one example of how sound environmental policies can spur local investment. As investments in energy efficiency are made, jobs are created for New Brunswickers in retrofitting and refurbishing existing houses and commercial buildings. In addition, when companies reduce their energy consumption and related energy costs, they have greater financial flexibility to invest in their operations, and improve their overall competitiveness.