Press release

From Montreal to Manitoba: How will the upcoming climate change talks affect Manitoba?

November 3, 2005

Winnipeg — Small- and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from introducing energy efficient processes and reducing carbon outputs as much as large companies and emitters, business owners heard today.

Armed with information and heightened awareness, business owners took away from today's workshop concrete ways that a changing climate will affect business plans and their bottom line.

"Small- and medium-sized enterprises can benefit by understanding the influence international climate change negotiations, like the upcoming COP-11 meeting in Montreal, can have on the national and local business environments," said Dennis Cunningham, Executive Director of the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association. "The Kyoto Protocol, for example, resulted in greenhouse gases becoming a tradable commodity in Canada with a real cash value, so climate change creates a new frame of reference in business decision-making that can't be ignored."

"Businesses of all shapes and sizes will benefit from knowing where the opportunities are, what the costs are and how new policies and programs will affect them," he added.

The workshop, hosted by the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, heard from a number of speakers including local businesses.

"Creating our new corporate office building provided an opportunity for us to 'walk the talk' and create the kind of physical environment that we encourage our clients to create," said Rick Linley, COO of Smith Carter Architects and Engineers.

"Integrating environmental sustainability with the firm's business goals resulted in some great synergies—the building makes a significant contribution to sustainability, and it also leverages the firm's ability to create intellectual capital, communicate our brand and enhance our overall effectiveness as a practice," he added.

John Clarkson, Deputy Minister of Energy, Science and Technology for the province, also encouraged businesses to take advantage of the provincial opportunities that are available.

"Manitoba has a number of advantages in meeting our Kyoto commitments—we have clean energy supplies, a low-carbon economy and a diversified industry base," he said. "Our economy is dominated by small and medium businesses, and the opportunities for increasing efficiencies with the benefits of lowering costs and reducing emissions makes good business sense regardless of whether you are a small or large operator."

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.