A Natural Fit for Business
By Susan H. Burnell
As the first fanfare sounds in Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the province of British Columbia heralds its accomplishments in the global business arena.
There is plenty to trumpet. Like the world’s best athletes facing off on its rinks and mountainsides, British Columbia is a well-conditioned global competitor. Powered by international partnerships, innovative and attractive investment policies, prime natural resources and Pacific Rim proximity, the province is poised to help businesses, investors and its residents succeed.
“The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have created an unprecedented chance to offer the opportunities in trade, tourism and investment here in British Columbia to the world,” says Premier Gordon Campbell. “Economists agree that the Games will help British Columbia lead economic growth in Canada in 2010, and will be a launching pad for a host of new partnerships and projects for the future. Most importantly, the Olympics have provided a chance for international investors to get to know us and explore business opportunities.”
While some people watching the Games will be learning about the province for the first time, business leaders are already attuned to its golden opportunities. An accessible transportation hub for North America’s Pacific Coast, British Columbia has a modern, diverse economy. B.C. does business with the world’s largest markets, including Asia, the U.S. and Europe. Its vibrant, culturally diverse cities, vast open spaces and breathtaking geography make it a world-class tourism destination.
British Columbia’s competitive economic foundation includes some of the lowest taxes in North America and streamlined regulations to support investment. In an effort led by Premier Campbell, British Columbia has introduced the world’s first broad-based revenue-neutral carbon tax that actually reduces corporate and business taxes.
Long after the Olympic cauldron cools, this province will be blazing with economic opportunity. Worthy of close attention are British Columbia’s carbon-neutral energy projects, its wood products and its location as Canada’s Pacific Gateway.
Canada’s Pacific Gateway
British Columbia is positioned to become a clean-energy powerhouse that will help meet North America’s need for clean, renewable, carbon-neutral power. Its total potential clean-energy supply is enough to power 11 million homes every year.
“Our government is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020,” says Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom. “We see the development of clean, renewable energy projects as an important part of the solution.”
With geography and policy on its side, British Columbia aims to tap this potential with green-power projects that include wind, run-of-river hydro, tidal, solar, geothermal and bioenergy. BC Hydro, the Crown corporation responsible for electricity in the province, has issued a call for clean power. The effort will be complemented by a bioenergy call for power, with projects that convert wood waste from forests into clean energy.
Clean energy, electricity security and the third-lowest energy rates in North America make British Columbia especially attractive for businesses seeking to balance social responsibility with competitive advantages.
As a result, companies are investing in and developing clean energy supplies such as wind and nonstorage hydro. British Columbia’s emergence as a clean energy powerhouse has also caught the eye of other jurisdictions looking for economic partnerships.
British Columbia has signed unprecedented agreements with Pacific partners California, Oregon, Washington State and Alaska. In total, the province has signed binding agreements with over 60 subnational governments and 15 national governments in an effort to develop a modern, low-carbon economy.
Building the World With B.C. Wood
As cities and countries around the world look to build with more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, British Columbia has positioned itself perfectly to supply an array of wood products to international markets. The province has two distinct advantages. First, it is the closest North American port to Asian markets by more than two days, as well as a neighbor to U.S. markets. Second, its vast array of tree species and modern wood-processing companies allows consumers to purchase some of the highest-quality building materials and finished products in the world.
Visit www.naturallywood.com for more information on B.C.’s forests and wood products.
“Companies participating in British Columbia’s largest-ever mission to China in November 2009 estimate they have generated sales of 156 million board feet of lumber to China for November and December,” Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced at the mission’s conclusion. “In the first 11 months of 2009, we exported over 1.4 billion board feet of lumber to China—more than quadrupling exports since we first opened an office in China in 2003.”
In conjunction with Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. and the Canada Wood Group, B.C. has been working over the last several years to diversify the province’s markets by demonstrating new uses for wood products. The 2010 Richmond Olympic Oval is a prime example: Its 6.5-acre roof is made up of more than 1 million board feet of B.C. lumber from trees damaged by the mountain pine beetle. In addition to its energy efficiency, climate friendliness and versatility, wood has been proven as a viable earthquake-resistant building material. In 2008, researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Wood Science took part in a successful seismic test of a B.C.-designed three-story post-and-beam house in Japan, subjecting it to the equivalent of 7.2 on the Richter scale.
Led by Premier Campbell, British Columbia’s competitive economic foundation includes
some of the lowest taxes in North America and streamlined regulations to support investment.
Explore Super, Natural® British Columbia
British Columbia’s winter recreation opportunities are on full display for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games—but that’s just a small sample of what’s available.
From rugged mountain peaks to ocean beaches, British Columbia offers the chance to ski, golf and surf—all in a single day.
After taking in some of the most spectacular scenery in North America, unwind with restaurants, spas, five-star resorts and more.
You’ll quickly discover why it’s called Super, Natural British Columbia®.
British Columbia is quickly becoming a preferred gateway for Asia-Pacific trade, with the most competitive port system on the West Coast of the Americas. Today, Canada’s Pacific Gateway is a world-class transportation network with an integrated, seamless supply chain including airports, seaports, railways, roadways and border crossings connecting Canada and the North American markets to Asia and the world. Major public-private investments totalling over CAD$21 billion will increase capacity and streamline operations.
British Columbia offers direct rail service to major U.S. Midwest and Eastern markets, and has first-rate international and regional airports and strategically located port facilities. Speed to Asian markets and streamlined logistics give B.C.’s ports a podium spot in any international business competition. Vancouver and Prince Rupert are Asia’s closest ports of entry on the West Coast of North America—up to 58 hours closer than Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“Prince Rupert has become a great success story for a variety of reasons,” says Dave Bedwell, executive vice president of COSCO Container Lines. “The port offers a deepwater safe harbor that allows easy access for container vessels to safely berth. CN Rail provides consistent and timely rail service. Railcars stand ready for containers and are immediately expedited to North American destinations. We’ve found Prince Rupert offers logistical advantages over some of the larger ports and terminals to the south.”
With team efforts worthy of Olympic gold, British Columbia is creating a platform for new growth and opportunities that will continue to draw the world’s attention. To learn more about what makes British Columbia an ideal place to invest, live, work and vacation, visit www.canadaspacificgateway.com.
For further information please visit:
BC Hydro • www.bchydro.com
Canada Wood Group • www.canadawood.org
Canadian Pacific Railway • www.cpr.ca
Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. • www.bcfii.ca
Gateway Program of British Columbia • www.gatewayprogram.bc.ca
Independent Power Producers Association of British Columbia • www.ippbc.com
Port Metro Vancouver • www.portmetrovancouver.com
Prince Rupert Port Authority • www.rupertport.com
Province of British Columbia • www.canadaspacificgateway.com
Regulatory Reform in British Columbia • www.gov.bc.ca/yourbc/regulatory_reform/rr_business.html
Taxes in British Columbia • www.gov.bc.ca/yourbc/tax_business/tb_business.html
Tourism British Columbia • www.hellobc.com
Wood First Act • www.leg.bc.ca/39th1st/1st_read/gov09-1.htm
Photos courtesy of Tourism BC, Tourism Victoria, the Province of British Columbia and Canadian Pacific
Forbes Custom is a custom publishing site that features
special advertising sections from Forbes magazine
as well as industry articles and videos from our partners.
The editors at Forbes were not involved in the creation of this content.
Site Developed by SmartMark Communications, LLC
© Forbes Magazine, All Rights Reserved