March 21, 2020
Illustration: Sébastien Thibault
A number of studies indicate that the climate action contributes to the wealth of companies and countries.
This text is part of the special Unpointcinq
Impossible to reconcile the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and growing economy ? Do not let yourselves by fooled by this false dilemma. A number of studies indicate that the climate action contributes to the wealth of companies and countries.
According to the think-tank World Resources Institute, between 2001 and 2014, the gross domestic product (GDP) in 21 countries has increased while, at the same time, their carbon footprint is lighter. Ten-seven are countries in the Old Continent and participate in the carbon market of the european Union, a system of cap-and-trade GHG emissions similar to the one adopted in 2013 by the government of Quebec and which are now part of 118 organizations in the province.
If the positive impact of the quebec market have not yet étéévaluées, those of the stock Exchange the european Union are convincing. Target companies “have not reduced either the revenues or the profits, or employment,” says a study by the Organization for economic cooperation and dedéveloppement (OECD) published at the end of 2018. On the contrary, their incomes are between 7 % and 18 % higher, say the authors of the report, which highlight the improvement of productivity and profitability due to the reduction of GHG emissions.
On this side of the Atlantic, the transition will concern especially the sectors of transport, construction and energy, and currently employs approximately 700 000 Quebecers. But employers, trade unions, environmentalists, and researchers — gathered in a focus group on the labour — expect to “some job losses in the short and medium term” and to anticipate the creations in the field of electrification of transport, or the niche market of alternative energies.
“One of the fields of climate action, offering the most opportunities for quebec companies is one of the energy “, for its part, considers the professor of the Chair in environmental economics and global governance at HEC Montréal Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné. “They can choose renewable sources of energy, improving their energy efficiency or optimize their transport. “
Reduce its needs
The policies associated with the circular economy, as an extension of the shelf life of products or the fight against waste, is another way — pay — for companies to reduce their GHG emissions. These strategies would reduce from 3% to 10% of the CO2 emissions, create thousands of jobs, and strengthen the GDP growth of 1% to 2%, according to a study conducted in five european countries by the Club of Rome, an international think tank as a forerunner in sustainable development.
If it works on paper, this economic approach, however, is not so simple to establish. “It is a small revolution within a company,” points out the professor at Polytechnique Montréal Marcelin Joanis, who is also vice-president (research), Centre for interuniversity research in analysis desorganisations. “It requires a change of business model by coming out of the head the idea that economic growth goes hand in hand with the increase of the quantity of resources extracted or produced. “
What, then, is what is expected to enrich themselves ?