CHARLOTTETOWN – June 29, 2017 – Even though the concept of a green economy doesn’t seem to yet be much of a preoccupation on PEI, a growing number of employers throughout the province want to become “greener”, either with the help of new employees or by training current staff in the relatively near future.
A survey conducted by Mathieu Arsenault, a consultant from Charlottetown’s Think Forward Solutions, for RDÉE Canada and RDÉE Prince Edward Island last spring, produced statistics that are fairly small yet quite interesting in relation to a more ecologically sound economic development on PEI.
Stéphane Blanchard, economic development officer with RDÉE PEI, notes that about 200 English and French employers (including private, community and governmental) were approached directly to participate in the survey. More than half of the businesses and organizations contacted by phone said they weren’t interested in such a survey or didn’t feel the topic was of any pertinence to their workplace.
However, among the 88 respondents, 50 per cent of employers said they were already involved in the “green economy” but only 35 per cent said they had qualified “green” employees. These respondents noted they had already implemented such practices as the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency practices, more efficient construction methods, green transportation, recycling and waste management, pollution control, environmental protection, green and sustainable agricultural practices, sustainable forestry, water treatment, education and awareness or development of sustainable green products.
About 70 per cent of respondents said going greener within the next three years was a top priority.
Eighty-one percent of the 26 respondents who already had green employees noted they had between one and four. Twenty-six also said they expected to hire one to three new employees within the next three years. The main fields for these new employees would be in the areas of management, technical and operations.
“All of this shows that there is a growing demand among employers to integrate extra green practices and jobs within their place of business – particularly in these times when there is so much talk about carbon taxes,” said Blanchard.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
“Our survey clearly shows that the green economy is evolving in Prince Edward Island. A significant number of employers who have answered our survey indicated they wish to receive more information as well as training and skills upgrading for their employees to make their workplace even greener,” said Blanchard.
“The employers who are already involved in the green economy need information on recruiting, training and pay grants, while those who wish to make their products or services greener need information on the best ways to proceed and an overall orientation on the direction they should go to make their activities greener.”
The consultant’s report recommends that RDÉE PEI work with key partners, such as the Island’s university and colleges, to support businesses and organizations by providing them with training, programs or even specialized green certifications. It was also suggested that the RDÉE help recruit green employees. Finally, the consultant suggested the organization of a forum on the green economy.
“We truly appreciate the collaboration of all those who answered our survey since these results will help orient our future actions in this area,” concludes Blanchard. “We will obviously do everything we can to pursue the greening of the economy and to support Island employers in the coming years.”