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The Clean Air Partnership is a registered charity, founded in 2000. Our mission is to work with partners to achieve clean air, facilitate the exchange of ideas, advance change and promote and coordinate implementation of actions that improve local air quality.

Natural Capital and it’s Importance to Canada’s Economy

As Canadians, we’re lucky to live in such a country that has an abundance of natural resources. And as Canadians, we’re fortunate enough to be able to revel in our natural resources through various recreational activities (such as camping, portaging, mountain climbing, etc.). To prove this, here are some key facts about Canada’s natural resources (mainly regarding forestry), as highlighted by Natural Resource Canada. With over 396.9 million hectares of forests, wooded land, and other land with tree cover, Canada’s forests account for:

  • 10% of the world’s forest cover
  • 30% of the world’s boreal forests
  • 25% of the world’s wetlands
  • 20% of the world’s freshwater 

All of these natural resources means that Canadians can enjoy the immense wealth from our natural environment. In fact, we extract goods from the environment in the form of “renewable and non-renewable resources (such as metal ores and timber) and benefit from the ecosystem services the environment provides” such as the environmental benefits of urban forests.

Sustainable Prosperity, a think tank comprising of “business, environment, policy, and academic leaders,” have released a policy brief that highlights the importance of natural capital to Canada’s economy, by noting the critical role that our natural resources have on our economy. Sustainable Prosperity also notes that there is a fine balance between natural capital and economic activity as they are both sides of a coin, and to exploit one or the other can cause environmental damage, which will “degrade the natural capital and put economic activity at risk.” The policy brief that Sustainable Prosperity released considers “the potential role for policy to focus on increasing the productivity of our natural capital.” They key message that they are trying to highlight is that:

  • Natural capital comprises nature’s assets that produce value
  • Without valuing natural capital and including it in our national accounts, we are making decisions without full information with can contribute to poor decision making with devastating results
  • Measuring the value of our natural capital helps us to see where we are not using our resources optimally and allows informed decision-making about our economic activity
  • Canada’s economy relies on natural capital. Using our resources more efficiently, and increasing their productivity, is crucial to Canada’s sustainable economic growth

natural capital

To read the full policy brief provided by Sustainable Prosperity, click here. The link for the PDF can be found at the bottom of the webpage.

Below is a video that further explains the importance of natural capital and the benefits that we can gather from nature in all its various ways. The video is provided by the Gund Insitute which is found at the University of Vermont.


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