The workshop organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the context of the B7 Canada Summit, was opened by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Dieter Kempf, President, Global Business Coalition & President, BDI and Perrin Beatty President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Discussions focused on how innovative partnerships between business and government can improve resource consumption, and how trade can help promote the efficient use of natural resources.

Opening remarks by Dieter Kempf, President, Global Business Coalition & President, BDI

Resource efficiency is not a fair-weather issue – but rather, it has implications for future life on our planet in an essential way. In concrete terms, what is it all about?

Without a doubt: We would not have achieved the same level of prosperity and living standards which we enjoy today, had we relied only on the environment above. Our economic success, in particular in industrialized countries, relies on mineral and fossil raw materials.

But ever more people worldwide, especially in emerging and developing countries, aspire to better living conditions.

This means that they wish to have more than just sufficient food and a bare minimum of material goods, and to live in the way that we in developed industrial countries have long taken for granted. This is justified, and easy to understand.

And this, alongside war, hunger and political persecution, is undoubtedly also one of the factors driving the refugee flows especially into the rich industrialized countries that we are experiencing over the last years.

Yet, it is now clear that the availability of fossil and mineral resources is limited. They will not be reconstituted – at least not within time periods that are relevant for mankind.

At the same time, the world’s population is estimated to grow to a total of more than nine billion people by 2050. In this regard, the greatest growth is expected in emerging and developing countries.

It is clear that these effects alone will cause demand for products and hence, for the scarcity of resources to climb sharply in the near future.

Since 2000, the primary material intensity of the world economy has slightly increased. This means, that the rate at which the world economy is exploiting natural/primary resources and generating emissions and waste is increasing faster than economic benefits are gained.

Accordingly, sparing and efficient use of finite mineral and fossil raw materials will, in the future, become ever more important.

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries have committed to sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources by 2030. Of the 17 SDGs, 12 refer to the sustainable management of global resources.

Increased resource efficiency can significantly contribute to sustainable world development and reduce environmental impacts such as climate change, as well as improve ecosystem health.

Industry plays a key role here by extracting the raw materials, preparing them and processing them into usable products.

Let me share a few examples of success with you:

In 2014, the German building materials industry and construction industry recycled about 90 percent of rubble from demolished houses or infrastructure. This recycled material made up about 12 percent of the entire building material used in Germany in 2014.

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing can lead to a significant reduction of weight, material input and CO2 emissions. Take the aviation industry as an example: Reducing the weight of an aircraft by one kilogram saves 106 kilograms of kerosene. 1 kilogram of kerosene adds up to about 3.15 kilograms of CO2 emissions.

In the future, industry will and must meet the growing consumption requirements of people in production.

Thus, under these conditions and in particular considering stiff competition, efficient use of scarce and costly resources is a compelling argument for industry.

Only those companies which efficiently use resources and materials can survive in international competition and stand a chance on the global market over the longer term.

Hence, innovations in business are the key for more resource efficiency. They single-handedly enable the development of ever-more novel and improved products and production technologies.

We therefore need these innovations urgently if we wish to offer better living standards to ever more people worldwide.

In other words: anyone wishing to make progress on the road to more resource efficiency must build up the innovative strength of companies and competition.

Bearing in mind that competition is worldwide, the aim should be a global level playing field.

Therefore, it is important and necessary that resource efficiency has become an important issue at G7 and G20 level. The G7 Alliance for Resource Efficiency, founded by the German G7 Presidency in 2015 and the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue, founded by the German G20 Presidency in 2017, are important platforms for advancing resource efficiency worldwide.

Of course, it is just as right and necessary that the Global Business Coalition has identified resource efficiency as one of its key issues.

Now, what can the Governments of G7 and G20 States do to effectively support companies’ innovative strength?

Above all, allow me to highlight three points, which the business and industrial associations of the B7 published, in view of the G7 summit held in Germany on 7 and 8 June 2015, which are still up to date:

First:
Governments should support business in its efforts to develop innovative products and processes, as well as the application of these technologies through targeted and voluntary National Resource Partnership Programs between government and business.

Public procurement can additionally offer an important stimulus for the deployment of innovative products and technologies.

Second:
Governments should step up assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises -SMEs, – concerning the efficient use of materials in industrial production.

For example, publicly financed measures in Germany have proved their worth for raising awareness and advising SMEs regarding the efficient use of material in production. Such measures are also a central action approach in the Federal Government’s German Resource Efficiency Programme.

Third:
The subsidizing of raw material imports, prohibitive export tariffs, and strict export quotas are an increasingly widespread phenomenon. The G7 and G20 states should resolutely counteract trade-distorting resource policies.

Finally, let me emphasize that the Global Business Coalition can uniquely contribute to increasing resource efficiency worldwide.

GBC discusses and develops positions and policy recommendations on resource efficiency, which will then advance the discussion processes under B7 and B20.

GBC also offers its assistance in designing the numerous resource efficiency workshops organized through G7 and G20 Presidencies, such as today’s.

GBC thus contributes significantly to the worldwide discussion process and dissemination of best practices in the context of improving resource efficiency.

AGENDA – GBC Workshop on Resource Efficiency

Keynote Speech by the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Opening Plenary with the Hon. Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec

Opening Remarks
– Dieter Kempf, President, Global Business Coalition & President, BDI
– Hon. Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
– Giulio Pedrollo, Vice President, Industrial Policy, Confindustria

Master of Ceremonies
Ginny Flood, Vice President, Government Relations, Suncor & First Vice Chair, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Panel 1: New Types of Collaboration on Resource Efficiency

Innovation is not simply new products or processes but includes new ways of organizing people and resources. This panel showcased innovative partnerships between business, government and academia to improve resource consumption or environmental outcomes.

Moderator
Christiane Bergevin, Director, Yamana Gold & Chair, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Panelists
– Terry Abel, Executive Vice President, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
– Thomas Derichebourg, President, Derichebourg Group
– Jad Oseyran, Lead, IBM Global Center of Competence for Circular Economy
– Jeanette Patell, Vice President, Government Affairs & Policy, GE Canada

Panel 2: Resource Efficiency in Global Industrial Value Chains

According to the United Nations Environmental Program, 15 per cent of all materials are traded. This panel explored the ways trade can promote the efficient use of natural resources. Open markets can improve resource allocation, so that goods are produced where it is most environmentally (as well as economically) efficient to do so, even when shipped to distant markets. Openness to trade and investment can provide a country with the incentive to adopt, and improve access to, new environmental technologies. Panelists spoke on these issues from their own company’s perspective.

Moderator
Pierre-Yves Boivin, Vice President, Strategy & Economic Affairs, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Panelists
– Dale Friesen, Vice President, Indigenous & Government Relations, Sustainability, Canadian Utilities (An ATCO Company)
– Marcelo Lu, President, BASF Canada
– Bertrand Masselot, President & CEO, Air Liquide Canada
– John May, President, Agricultural Solutions & Chief Information Officer, John Deere

Closing Plenary

BACKGROUND

Meeting the demand for natural resources in a sustainable way is one of the biggest challenges of our time; present trends are forcing societies to reconsider the way they produce and consume.

Industry and business are key solution providers for enabling consumers to meet their economic needs while working towards making economies more resource efficient, circular and ensuring sustainable economic growth.

The Global Business Coalition is engaged in a process of informing the G7 and G20 policy-makers of the forward trends within industries, with the perspective of supporting the development of an integrated international policy framework, that benefits from good practices and experiences of how businesses can promote resource efficiency activities globally.

This event showcased how innovative partnerships between business, government and academia can improve resource consumption throughout the global value chains and support environmental preservation. It also emphasized how Canada, a resource-based economy, is developing new ways to extract, transform, transport, trade and use natural resources more efficiently.

This initiative follows the Confindustria-GBC high-level business-policy dialogue on resource efficiency, organized on March 30, 2017, back-to-back with the B7 Italy summit; the Confederation of Indian Industry-GBC International Conference on Resource Efficiency, organized in New-Delhi on November 02, 2017; and the contributions of GBC to the launch event of the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue, that took place in Berlin on November 27-28, 2017 and the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency Meeting, held in Rome on November 30 & December 01, 2017.

Panel session images: Samuel Tessier