Advocacy ALERT

Industry making gains in sustainability despite sluggish economy

While economic growth slowed to a 0.1 per cent increase, marked by decreasing consumer confidence and demand, findings from the Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA) ICIC Construction Quarterly Insights, Q4, 2023 report the construction industry displayed marked resilience, particularly as it pivots to tackle climate challenges.

Here are a few key takeaways:

Environmental accountability

The construction sector is taking bold steps towards sustainability, with a notable decrease in emission intensity across various infrastructure asset classes and a surge in eco-friendly inputs. Despite its history as a contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the sector is swiftly embracing measures to curb its environmental impact. Investments in clean technologies and materials are rising, reflecting a strong commitment to sustainable development practices.

Disasters and losses

With Canada’s annual average temperature rising by 1.7°C since 1948 and extreme weather events becoming more frequent, catastrophic losses have increased dramatically over the last decade. As municipalities grapple to safeguard public infrastructure, project costs are inevitably climbing.

Silver lining: Clean infrastructure and construction

As Canada’s population expands, demand for new infrastructure grows with it. Yet, this growth comes at an environmental price tag: increased GHG emissions. Despite this, infrastructure investment has outpaced GHG emissions. From 2009 to 2023, investments in infrastructure increased by 31 per cent, while GHG emissions grew by 22 per cent.

One key factor driving this positive change is increasing investment in clean, environmentally friendly technologies.  The ratio of investment in clean inputs has nearly doubled from 2.3 per cent in 2009 to 4.3 per cent in 2023.

While significant strides are being made in reducing the environmental impact of infrastructure projects, the journey towards sustainability is far from over. The need for affordable housing and related infrastructure will be a significant challenge, however the construction industry is undeniably part of the solution to fight climate change.

Stay tuned for our upcoming sustainability report

CCA is gearing up to release a comprehensive sustainability report, delving into the construction industry’s role in combating climate change. Mark your calendars for its release later in June.

For more information on this report or the work CCA is currently focused on to address the issues covered, please email Louis-Philippe Champagne, Director of Government Relations and Policy, or Mario Baker, Assistant Manager of Economics and Policy Development.