Harnessing Canadian Cleantech Power for Greener Conferences

13th April 2023

Canada provides a unique opportunity for business events in the cleantech space. Known as a welcoming, safe and easily accessible destination - with world-class conference infrastructure - Canadian cities like Vancouver, Montréal and Halifax are home to a wealth of sector expertise which visiting associations can leverage to enhance their event.

Words Marc de Faoite

With a flourishing industry dedicated to sustainable solutions, Canada is at the forefront of the cleantech space. Decades-long investment from Canada’s public and private sector has fuelled the country’s leadership in sustainable transportation, clean energy and much more, making Canada the ideal conference destination for associations eager to engage with the latest developments in this arena.

Canada has some 1100 companies active in a cleantech market that Clean Energy Canada predicts will employ almost 650,000 people by 2030, and which by Canada’s Innovation Economy Council estimates was worth $2.5 trillion in 2022.

Speaking at the last Cleantech Forum,  Canadian start-up launch pad MaRS’s cleantech director, Tyler Hamilton discussed the thirteen Canadian cleantech ventures – out of a field of 11,000 applicants – that made the prestigious Global Cleantech 100 list, the highest number of any country: “The record number of Canadian companies on this year’s list demonstrates we are more than just a cleantech innovation powerhouse. We are producing high-impact companies and commercializing climate and environmental solutions that the world needs and wants as we march to net-zero.”

Innovative Vancouver

Vancouver Convention Centre ©Destination Vancouver/Hubery Kang

Six of the thirteen Canadian companies featured on the Global Cleantech 100 list are based in Vancouver and its surrounding area, as are more than 200 cleantech companies, employing in excess of 3,500 people. These include world-leaders like Ballard Power SystemsIonomr, and Carbon Engineering. Vancouver has the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell industry, accounting for an impressive 16% of the global market share, and the smallest per capita carbon footprint of any major North American city.

Meanwhile the University of British Columbia’s Clean Energy Research Centre, and Simon Fraser University’s partnership with Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, are among the many institutions engaged in cleantech research. Conference organizers can leverage Canada’s expertise and experience to make conferences both informative and inspiring, by hearing from local expert speakers, engaging in B2B exchanges, and participating in site tours of cutting-edge facilities.

While all this intellectual capital provides plenty of interest to associations, knowing that the Vancouver Convention Centre is the world’s first double LEED Platinum Convention Centre, in a city that has the highest percentage of sustainable hotels of any city in the world, makes Vancouver’s appeal as a prime cleantech event destination self-evident. 

Leading Montréal 

Montréal’s skyline © Photo Hélico Inc – Tourisme Montréal

Host to the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference: COP15, Montréal topped the Union of International Associations’ annual list of top host cities for international conventions in the Americas, while it was also the first city in Canada to join the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index. The Palais de Congrès de Montréal conference centre has an Eco-Conditionality Policy, which includes discounts of up to 10% to organizations taking tangible actions relating to sustainable development, while its Palais Boreal programme, established in 2019, facilitates carbon emissions offsetting.

Montréal’s focus on sustainable solutions extends beyond the MICE industry, with 1000 organizations and over 200 public research groups working in the cleantech sector. The city is home to phenomenal research institutes and organizations – like the McGill Centre for Innovation in Storage and Conversion of Energy – which are focused specifically on innovation, and cutting-edge companies like CarbiCrete. This carbon removal technology company aims to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by replacing cement as a binding ingredient in precast concrete products, injecting CO2 into the fresh concrete to provide strength instead, while permanently sequestering CO2.

Meanwhile, Montréal’s Effenco is focused on the electrification of heavy-duty vehicles through the use of ultra-capacitors, instead of the more standard lithium batteries, while GHGSat, as its name suggests, specialises in the remote monitoring of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Montréal’s cutting-edge expertise is available to conference organizers, with the possibility for bespoke facility tours, as well as keynote speakers, allowing associations to tailor exciting and engaging events that add real value to the conference delegate experience.

Smart Halifax

Halifax at sunset

Associations in the cleantech space would be in good company when considering Halifax for their event. With the highest number of cleantech firms in Atlantic Canada, the city was chosen to host the 2023 Smart Energy Event, Canada’s CleanTech Event for Municipalities and Utilities. The city’s home province of Nova Scotia produces the least waste per capita, and has the highest waste diversion rate, of any province in Canada. This makes it easy for meeting planners to take advantage of leading recycling/composting programs.

Halifax is also demonstrating its commitment to sustainability as one of sixteen Canadian destinations to participate in the GDS Index as part of the Canadian Business Events Sustainability Plan

For impartial insights, inspiration, and introductions, planners can reach out to any of the Destination Canada team, or directly contact Virginie De Visscher (Senior Director, Business Events, Destination Canada Business Events) at

The city is home to cleantech research centres like FORCE (Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy) and Dalhousie University’s Clean Technologies Research Institute

Similar to Montreal’s CarbiCrete, Halifax’s CarbonCure is also focused on potentially industry-disrupting technology in the reduction and sequestering of greenhouse gases in concrete manufacturing and applications. The chance to see this type of technology in action, and to speak with the innovators and technical experts, can help planners to add meaningful value to events.

In conclusion, these are just some of the impressive list of green and cleantech credentials that Canada brings to the table, and part of what has burnished Canada’s reputation as a global leader in sustainable meetings. But while cleantech is obviously important to the national economy, as well as its future, it is just one of the key sectors Canada has prioritized. Beyond these three key cities, Canada is home to a multitude of destinations from coast-to-coast-to-coast capable of providing associations with the perfect place to host their events

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