Manitoba Falls Flat On Cleantech Innovation: Report


Two workers installing solar panels. Manitoba trails in clean-tech innovation compared to other provinces. Photo Source: Home Energy Canada Inc.

Manitoba continues to fall flat when it comes to cleantech  innovation as a province, according to a recent report. This despite a recent sleuth of announcements, from biomass, a green jobs fund, and an electric bus that are supposed to enhance the province’s image as a leader in the renewable energy industry.

Corporate Knights 2012 Canadian Environmental Report Card looked at various categories including: air & climate, water, nature, transportation, waste, energy & buildings, and innovation.

In the innovation category, Manitoba came in with a score of 2.2, 9th overall out of 13 provinces and territories, while finishing second last among the provinces. Newfoundland was the worst province, coming in at tenth, with a score of 1.6.  The three territories (Yukon, North West Territories, and Nunavut) finished 11th, 12th, and 13th, the report said.

The overall score in the category was based on two indicators: the amount of cleantech companies, along with the amount of venture capital being put into the industry.

British Columbia was number one in innovation with 9.3 points. Almost C$138/capita in B.C. was put into green start-up companies between 2002 and 2011. Meanwhile, Ontario in that same time frame saw C$80.5/capita invested in cleantech start-ups. Ontario finished second overall in innovation with 5.2 points.

Alberta, known for controversial oil sand production. even finished ahead of Manitoba in 5th with 4.1 points out of ten.

Data for cleantech companies in the territories was not available, which effected the overall rankings for the three territories, the report noted.

Corporate Knights most recent Canadian environmental report, is a telling tale of  Manitoba’s lack of  forward thinking towards supporting renewable energy start-ups within the province, and creating a thriving, new modern industry.

While this is something I will investigate further, with an op-ed towards a publication or a story for somewhere, the keystone province really needs to support its entrepreneurs and better, particularly those who have the fresh ideas to put people to work.

Macrowikinomics authors Don Tapscott, and Anthony D. Williams suggest a campaign for western countries to create “Jobs Through Entrepreneurship” that will engage various groups in society.  These are words that Manitoba government officials should take to heart.

Groups like the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, Green Action Centre, Climate Change Connection, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), post-secondary educational institutions.  and the Manitoba Labour Federation should sit down and hammer out some clear policy. A policy that will support renewable energy start-ups, while putting people to work.

Whether that happens is very highly unlikely, given the dull policy atmosphere in Manitoba, where innovation and ideas are put at the back burner for composting, and activism.

Photo Credit: Home Energy Canada Inc.

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