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Putting a Price on Pollution - Catherine McKenna’s Promotion of a Low-Carbon Economy

Published Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What is the price of a sustainable future? That is the question that Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, explores in a recent interview with the Academy for Sustainable Innovation (ASI). In this interview, McKenna believes that in order to preserve the natural sustainability of the planet for future generations, “we all have to be part of the solution”, which involves “working in partnership with businesses”. McKenna gives a special nod in the interview to VeriForm, Inc., a company that she feels is an inspirational example of what happens when companies actually put “a price on pollution”.

According to McKenna, VeriForm has not only made better business decisions (cutting back on costs and improving energy efficiency), they have also lowered their emissions by 80% while “growing their bottom line by a couple of million dollars”. The overall message of the interview and the mention of VeriForm, Inc. serves to emphasize McKenna’s message that in order to fight pollution’s negative effects on the planet, businesses have to restructure the way they use energy; not only to improve their own economic growth, but to also pave the way for everyone to prioritize sustainable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Over the last twelve years, VeriForm has saved over $2 million dollars thanks to their sustainability improvements. By embracing the provincial and federal carbon taxes and viewing them as an incentive to improve, the company has contributed towards McKenna’s vision of a low carbon economy. Between 2006 and 2008, VeriForm has invested over $46,000 in energy saving projects. Since then, annual operating costs (especially concerning energy) have been reduced significantly, with savings only expected to grow as energy prices increase. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) have also been reduced by 202 tonnes per year since 2017, ultimately reducing energy costs by over 70%.

VeriForm has proven that cutting back on carbon emissions is not only a smart business move, but also a morally-driven choice that will ensure a better future for the generations to come. Legislation such as carbon taxes and cap and trade programs should be enacted in order to mandate energy reduction and encourage, rather than deter smart asset management in order to benefit the economy and the health of the planet.

Watch Catherine McKenna’s full interview here: