ALBERTA—Today Alberta’s top business leaders are launching a new non-partisan, non-profit organization—the Business Council of Alberta—to boldly meet the challenges facing our province and build a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada.
“Leaders from across the province have come together, determined to make life better for the people of Alberta,” says Hal Kvisle, chairman of Finning International and ARC Resources, and founding chair of the Business Council of Alberta. “Alberta has many strengths—people, resources, infrastructure and environment—and through thoughtful action, we can create a future with long-term economic and social prosperity for all Albertans.”
The Council’s work will be initiatives, research and collaborative work focused on the long-term prosperity and attractiveness of Alberta. Topics include skills training, education, environmental protection, resource development, trade, innovation and Canada’s overall investment climate.
“Business isn’t the only driver of prosperity, but business does have a responsibility and a significant role to play, both economically and socially,” says Dawn Farrell, president and chief executive officer TransAlta Corporation, and a founder of the Business Council of Alberta.“ That means being a part of building better lives, environment, health, education and better opportunities for everyone. It means building businesses that contribute to the world’s greatest needs, and creating jobs that enable every Albertan to live the life that they aspire to.”
Alberta has been hit hard in the past several years. In recent a poll conducted by Janet Brown Opinion Research, only 17% of people in Alberta feel their household is better off than a year before. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 76% of Canadians want to see businesses take specific actions that improve economic and social conditions in the communities in which they operate, and a greater percentage (79%) expect CEOs to take the lead. The Council is launching in response to these urgencies.
The first output of the Council is AlbertaBETTER, a vision framework for generating sustainable shared prosperity. The paper is meant to guide the early work of the Council and is based upon input from stakeholders and members. It has three themes:
- Doing what’s right: Alberta business is focused on the right things, with a strong commitment to environment, society and good governance (ESG) innovation and leadership, as a means of achieving shared prosperity
- A model business climate: Alberta is the place that enables opportunity and innovation, creates jobs, and attracts people and investment
- The future, on purpose: An Alberta economy that is adaptive, resilient and thriving, enabling better lives for current and future generations
“We are a world leader in environmental protection and safety. We rank at the highest level for human rights, and among the least corrupt countries in the world,” says Mac Van Wielingen, president and founder of Viewpoint Group and a founder of the Business Council of Alberta. “However, often the opposite impression plays out, which drives away investment. Generating greater prosperity will involve businesses working together to both improve our ESG performance and to verify and communicate related progress.”
AlbertaBETTER is intended as a starting point for further engagement, discussion and collaboration with others as we develop a vision for a better Alberta.