As worry about climate change increases, the push to be part of the solution is intensifying as businesses seek to reduce CO2 emissions, deal with plastic pollution, clean our water and more. In a $3 trillion global market, Trade and Invest BC says more than 270 cleantech companies focused on small hydro, wind, solar, bioenergy, tidal and geothermal call B.C. home. These include CarbonCure, whose technology introduces recycled CO2 into fresh concrete, converting it to a mineral, and Pani Energy, which develops new technologies for the desalination and energy storage industries. Expect to see cleantech continue to grow.
Consumers Expect Sustainability
Consumers are pushing back at businesses that don’t engage in sustainability solutions. This will intensify as genZ, an entire generation that has grown up being told the planet’s ecosystem is in distress, enters the workforce. Smart businesses will do more than give lip service to sustainability solutions, taking steps to work with experts like the Synergy Enterprises to implement workplace solutions. Even the small things matter. For example, many restaurants no longer pass out plastic straws. It won’t solve the plastic pollution issue on its own, but as governments ramp up to ban single-use plastics, collective efforts will add up to big results.
The Rise of Electric
This spring, for the first time, three major automakers displayed fuel-cell electric vehicles — Hyundai Nexo, Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai — at the Vancouver International Auto Show. What is driving the push to electric? Government incentives, improving access to EV charging stations, increasing vehicle range and product availability, rising gas prices and a growing environmental consciousness have combined to drastically alter the automotive landscape. According to a recent survey by Research Co., 51 per cent of British Columbians who drive their own vehicles are “very likely” or “moderately likely” to buy an electric-battery model for their next vehicle. The highest proportion of respondents who said they are likely to make the switch were in Metro Vancouver (55 per cent) and Vancouver Island (52 per cent).
City Transportation Infrastructure Will Continue to Change
Like it or not, bike lanes are here, and more are coming. The pace and planning of the City of Victoria’s bike lane rollout has drawn criticism, but there’s no doubt that this is a trend that will only continue to grow. So how do businesses take advantage of it? Add bicycle parking or storage to let your customers know that you are a bike-friendly business. Tap into this lucrative market (yes, cyclists do shop) by offering cycling discounts. In fact, a 2012 study from Portland found that people who biked to a bar, restaurant or convenience store spent 24 per cent more per month than those who drove. The study suggests cyclists have more disposable income because they spend less money on auto repairs, gas, insurance and car payments.
This article is from the December/January 2020 issue of Douglas.