The Sustainable Prosperity Project (SP) was originated by law professor Stewart Elgie and is being directed by Jane McDonald, who has been active in the area of environmental sustainability for over a decade, most recently with Environment Canada.
Early in 2007, fifty leaders from business, government, foundations, environmental organizations, universities and other fields agreed to apply their capacities to the use of fiscal tools to create a sustainable society. These outstanding thinkers and experts are working to shape the projects vision and strategy.
Canada faces serious and growing ecological challenges that must be addressed promptly if we are to secure our health and quality of life, our natural heritage, and remain economically competitive. The Sustainable Prosperity Projects core vision is a ten-year plan to transform Canada’s economy, giving companies and consumers financial incentives to make environmentally beneficial decisions making the market work for the environment, not against it.
Working with influential partners, SP seeks to re-frame the environment-economy debate and show that it is possible to have both a healthy environment and a prosperous economy. A range of initiatives at the national, provincial and local levels seek to lay the groundwork for a greener, more competitive Canada, founded on the principle that truly sustainable development can and must be achieved. SPs first goal is green economic reforms at all levels of government, leading to tangible gains in areas such as forest management, air pollution and green cities.
With several short-term successes, SP intends to demonstrate its effectiveness and generate momentum for further change. During the first five years, the objective is to assist at least five jurisdictions in implementing comprehensive green economic reform around key issues such as air pollution, sustainable transport, alternative energy and forest protection. Building broad-based support among the public and opinion leaders will lay the foundation for further change in years 5-10.
The result should be far-reaching fiscal and policy reforms to integrate environmental costs and benefits into the marketplace, leading to a greener, more competitive nation and allowing Canada to serve as a global model that truly sustainable development is achievable.
In early 2008 SP received $155,000 of additional funding from three Canadian Foundations, and was awarded $1.8 million over seven years by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC) for the Research and Policy Network.
Late last year, Stewart Elgie, Shell Canada President and CEO Clive Mather, and Simon Fraser University professor Nancy Olewiler endorsed the proposed B.C. carbon tax. In April 2008, University of Calgary professor Jack Mintz and Nancy Olewiler launched a report on fuel tax shifting that garnered significant attention from both media and policy-makers.