Vancouver is not just one of the world’s most livable cities, it’s also a great place to do business, especially green business, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told delegates at the opening session of Globe 2010, the biennial conference on business and the environment.
People know Vancouver to be a beautiful city, and one of the most livable cities in the world, Robertson said. But what people are less familiar with is that “there is a real business edge in this city and it is driven by entrepreneurs and driven by good public policy over the last decade or so.”
By virtue of geography, Vancouver is North America’s gateway to Asia. It is also one of the world’s most multicultural cities and there are more entrepreneurs per capita here than any city in North America, Robertson said.
“We have translated that into a burgeoning clean-tech sector on the leading edge,” Robertson said.
Not only are there more than 1,400 companies now in B.C. in clean technology, there are also great local venture capital funds looking to invest.
There are also aggressive federal and provincial tax incentives, including one that pays up to 50 per cent of salaries for employees in research and development. B.C. has the lowest corporate tax rate among the G-8 countries, as well as health care and affordable education, he said. “So there’s a broad value proposition in terms of hard numbers for doing business here in Vancouver,” Robertson said.
“So for starters investing in the green economy is a smart place to put your money,” the mayor said. “Vancouver is a great city by virtue of our business climate to do that investing in.”
And with Vancouver aiming to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, there is no better time than now. More than half of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from its buildings, so the city will be retrofitting 20 per cent of its buildings over the next 10 years, Robertson said. That means new insulation, roofing, windows, lighting and other products.
“It’s a huge challenge and it’s a massive business opportunity,” he said.
“Vancouver is at the forefront of the business opportunities that come with reducing carbon emissions,” he added.