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Canadian manufacturing wants to transition to a net-zero future but it’s going to require more government partnerships and investments and real strategy to get there, according to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

The association has issued a report with detailed recommendations and a pathway forward for the Government of Canada and the manufacturing industry to work together to implement a Net Zero Industrial Strategy that is needed to meet international climate goals.

A member survey was conducted to complement CME’s research, and it affirmed the report’s conclusion that the industry will need more support from government if it is to realise its net-zero ambitions. According to the survey, only about one-quarter of manufacturers have set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) much less likely than large businesses to have targets in place. When companies were asked to assess the biggest obstacles to setting a net-zero target, a lack of resources was by far the most pressing challenge.

“Canadian manufacturers understand the necessity to transition to a net-zero future. But to get there, we are going to need a real strategy, significantly more government partnerships and investments, especially for SMEs, and abundant and affordable clean energy” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME.

While the Canadian government has rolled out some programs to help industry with its net-zero transition, CME’s report and survey demonstrate that a crucial piece of the puzzle is missing: a comprehensive strategy to transition our industrial base to net zero without compromising this critical segment of our economy. To have the best chance of success, a Net Zero Industrial Strategy should consist of three specific areas of action:

  • Supporting emissions reduction investments and the commercialization and production of clean technologies to help the industry overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities arising from the low-carbon transition
  • Backing the development of an SME Net-Zero Transition Strategy, thus focusing on a key segment of the economy most likely lacking the resources and expertise needed to move toward decarbonization
  • Improving Canada’s business environment and cost competitiveness, including supporting an urgently needed expansion in clean electricity generation and transmission capacity

“This report clearly shows the choice before us. Do we make the necessary investments today to reconcile our economic and environmental goals, or do we squander our chance to create prosperity for generations to come? We believe Canada can show the world how to transition its industrial base to a net-zero future all while preserving the millions of jobs and wealth creation that manufacturing has always delivered.” concluded Darby.

The net zero report and survey results are available on CME’s website.

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