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Vancouver needs to move faster on "green" jobs to meet 2020 goal 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

A worker at Vancouver's dPoint technologies builds membrane materials used to improve the efficiency of climate control systems in buildings. 
(Michael Mui, 24 hours)

A worker at Vancouver's dPoint technologies builds membrane materials used to improve the efficiency of climate control systems in buildings. (Michael Mui, 24 hours)

Vancouver's going to need to grow its "green" economy a bit faster if the city's 2020 goal of doubling the number of environmentally sustainable jobs over decade are to be met.

Mayor Gregor Robertson trumpeted new numbers on Vancouver's green job growth Thursday, saying the city's green sector has sprouted jobs by 6% each year since 2010.

He called the figure "astounding," but despite the fanfare Vancouver will still need to grow faster — 7.7% each year from here to 2020 — to hit the city's goal.

The current number of green jobs in the city is about 20,000 of Vancouver's estimated total of more than 400,000 jobs across all sectors city-wide.

"I'm still bullish that we're going to get there," Robertson said.

"Six per cent is astounding in these economic times - almost triple the rest of the economy on growth."

The city attributed its policies, such as helping the local food cart industries grow and a 2010 rezoning regulation that forced new buildings being constructed to match a more environmentally friendly code.

Ian McKay, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission, said "green" jobs range from architects, construction contractors, asbestos removers, electric vehicle engineers and local food and drink vendors such as craft breweries which source ingredients locally.

Robertson said the VEC didn't break down how many jobs were directly attributed to city policy, and how many would have materialized anyway due to industry trends to be more environmentally conscious.

"There's overlap there," Robertson said. "Obviously city policy and our greenest city action plan is helping to create jobs and encourage companies, but Vancouver has a long history of this - so many of the projects are also created by the businesses themselves." 

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