Canadian innovation and collaboration key to climate issues

September 30, 2019

The following commentary was issued by Shelley King (MSc, MBA), CEO, Natural Products Canada

The conversation around climate cannot be ignored. Population growth, carbon emissions and fossil fuels are at the centre of the discussion. Fortunately, Canadian entrepreneurs are quietly developing globally-competitive, naturally-derived solutions to mitigate these factors.

Earth’s rising population is demanding more protein, putting extreme pressures on our food production capacity. Companies like Entomo Farms and Oberland Agriscience are raising insects as alternative protein to feed both people and animals. While Chickapea, YoFiit and Brain Bar, are just a small sample of the growing number of Canadian companies using plant-based protein in their product formulations.

Emissions from fossil fuels come from a number of sources, including buildings. Just BioFiber has created building materials derived from hemp and lime that have carbon capture properties. Pond Technologies goes a step further, helping industries transform their CO2 into products such as animal feed and nutraceuticals.

Packaging for food and other consumer goods made from petrochemicals also create harmful emissions. Plastics contribute to carbon emissions from production, refining and disposal. Several Canadian companies, including Nature Knows and BOSK Bioproducts are producing biodegradable and renewable plastics and packaging that are not derived from fossil fuels. While Competitive Green Technologies uses plant material such as coffee chaff and oat hulls to produce resins for products as diverse as recyclable car parts and compostable coffee pods.

These companies are truly just a small sample of the incredible innovations arising from our research and entrepreneurial communities right across the country. Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster is home to these innovators, as well as the investors, corporations and various support organizations that have enabled these solutions to come to fruition.

With the elevated climate discussion now and into the future, Canadians can be proud of the many contributions our entrepreneurs, researchers and government programs are making to the solution.