February 29, 2016

Dear First Ministers,

RE: Carbon First principle for infrastructure and procurement

As you prepare for the March 3 meeting of First Ministers to discuss Canada’s climate change policy framework, we are writing to suggest your government’s consideration of a “Carbon First” principle for infrastructure spending and procurement policy decisions. This information is also being provided to your respective environment Ministers.

We are a group of organizations committed to supporting the transition to a low carbon economy, and helping Canada achieve the ambitious goals it agreed to at the recent COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Briefly, the concept of Carbon First is intended to encourage economic actors to consider the carbon footprint of their decisions with the intent to select the least carbon intensive option. Actions might result in fuel switching or modal shifts, manufacturing improvements, design optimization and material substitutions. It can also be applied as a principle to instruments of public policy such as infrastructure spending and procurement. Your government has the capacity to influence both areas through billions of dollars in associated spending and commitments every year.

There are many ways in which your government could help Canada transition to a low carbon economy. Improving the infrastructure for public transit but also commodity supply chain logistics can lower transportation related GHG emissions. Consideration should also be given to improving the carbon footprint of supply chains for infrastructure as well as procured goods and services.

Carbon First as a principle is supported by science-based carbon accounting tools like life cycle assessment (LCA) and by other existing resources like carbon accounting frameworks and green building programs.

We understand that the implementation of a Carbon First principle is not a simple one for any government. However, your consideration of Carbon First at your upcoming meeting would be a meaningful first step towards Canada’s long term path toward a low carbon economy.

We hope this information is useful to you. For more information you may contact any of the signatories below. In the meantime, best wishes for a successful meeting.

Sincerely,

Paul Lansbergen

Acting President and CEO

Forest Products Association of Canada

 

Paul Whittaker

President

Alberta Forest Products Association

 

Jennifer O’Connor

President

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute

Cees de Jager

General Manager

Binational Softwood Lumber Council

 

Sandy Marshall

Chair, Board of Directors

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada

 

Jennifer Green

Executive Director

Canadian Biogas Association

 

Deirdre Laframboise

Executive Director & COO

Canadian Climate Forum

Éric Hébert-Daly

National Executive Director

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

 

Jim Grey

Chair

Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

Michael Giroux

President & CEO

Canadian Wood Council

 

Rick Jeffery

President

Coast Forest Products Association

 

Donald Bisson

Senior Advisor

Composite Panel Association

Ross Hammond

US Campaigns Director

ForestEthics

 

Pierre Lapointe

President & CEO

FPInnovations

Bruce Lourie

President

Ivey Foundation

 

Michael Green

Michael Green Architecture

 

Michael Bourque

President & CEO

Railway Association of Canada

 

Murray McLaughlin

President & CEO

Sustainable Chemistry Alliance

Hadley Archer

Executive Director

The Nature Conservancy Canada