March 12, 2007

Canadian business leaders come together to address climate change planning, adaptation

The chief executives of Canada's leading corporations have pledged to help make Canada a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean technologies and fostering sustainable economic development. Through the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), 25 corporate leaders are forming a task force to spearhead the CCCE's Environmental Leadership Initiative.

Building on a long history of engagement on issues of energy and the environment, the task force will seek to contribute to the current national effort to develop a comprehensive and realistic plan for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Three co-chairs will lead the group: CCCE president and CEO Thomas d'Aquino, Alcan president and CEO Richard Evans and Suncor Energy president and CEO Rick George, who is also honourary chair of the CCCE.

"As the heads of major corporations across all sectors of our economy, we are committed to doing our part in shaping an effective strategy for national success and global leadership," d'Aquino said.

The members of the Task Force are approaching the climate change challenge with open minds, and are prepared to consider any and all proposals to reduce GHG emissions responsibly while at the same time promoting the investment and innovation needed to achieve superior environmental performance over time.

"To confront the global environmental challenge, the world will need to employ a wide variety of innovative and affordable technologies that can reduce the environmental impact of human activity," d'Aquino noted.

To assist them in their work, task force members have enlisted a core group of advisors who are renowned for their expertise in the field of environmental sustainability. Members of this advisory group include Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy; Mark Jaccard, professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Resource and Environmental Management; David Runnalls, president of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD); and IISD chair Daniel Gagnier.

"We also will work closely with governments at all levels, draw on the expertise of sectoral business associations and engage other stakeholders with an interest in developing responsible solutions to Canada's climate change challenge," d'Aquino added.

The Environmental Leadership Initiative Task Force members are: Elyse Allan, president and CEO, General Electric Canada; Jean Bernier, president, Ultramar; Ron Brenneman, president and CEO, Petro-Canada; Jacques Chabanier, president and CEO, Dofasco; Marcel Coutu, president and CEO, Canadian Oil Sands; Thomas d'Aquino, CCCE president and chief executive; Arthur DeFehr, president and CEO, Palliser Furniture; Richard Evans, president and CEO, Alcan; Kenneth Field, chairman and CEO, GreenField Ethanol; Richard George, president and CEO, Suncor Energy; Fred Green, president and CEO, Canadian Pacific Railway; Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO, Bruce Power; Tim Hearn, chairman, president and CEO, Imperial Oil; Deryk King, chairman and CEO,hief Executive Officer Direct Energy; Jim Kinnear, president and CEO, Pengrowth Management; Donald Lindsay, president and CEO, Teck Cominco; Ronald Mannix, chairman, Coril Holdings; Clive Mather, president and CEO, Shell Canada; David Paterson, president and CEO, Bowater; Joseph Rotman, chairman, Amaranth Resources; Stephen Snyder, president and CEO, TransAlta Corporation; Guy Turcotte, president and CEO, Stone Creek Properties; Annette Verschuren, president, The Home Depot Canada; William White, president, EI du Pont Canada; and Michael Wilson, president and CEO, Agrium.

More information is available from Ross Laver at the CCCE, 613/238-3727, E-mail, Web site

A related initiative is being established by the Conference Board of Canada as a follow-on from its recent publication, Operationalizing Adaptation to Climate Change (EcoWeek February 5, 2007). As that study reported, there is an urgent need to shift the current focus from emissions mitigation toward building climate change adaptive capacity in Canada's public and private sectors. At this point, Canada is still at the initial stages of incorporating climate change adaptation risk into private and public sector decision-making.

This, says the Conference Board, will require fundamental changes in the way business and policy decisions are made. To address this need, the Board is launching the Leaders Roundtable on Climate Change Adaptation, an independent public-private research and dialogue partnership that brings together senior leaders from a broad range of sectors, including business, government and academia. Its members will share insights, commission research on issues of common concern, and will track progress on adaptation planning and preparedness. Progress results will be communicated to decision makers and the public through an annual report.

The Leaders Roundtable on Climate Change will offer two levels of involvement, as a partner or a participant. The Board anticipates that partners would include federal and provincial governments, industry associations and large companies. Participants would include businesses and universities.

More information is available from John Roberts at the Conference Board, 613/526-3090, ext 312 FAX 613/526-4857, E-mail

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