The Southwest Booster
New CFIB report outlines 10 guiding principles to create environmental policies with Sask. small businesses in mind
Small business owners are taking steps to make their operations more environmentally friendly, but they’re facing barriers on their path to go greener, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
In 2022, two-thirds (66%) of Saskatchewan small business owners said there were simply higher priority issues that their business had to address first before investing in making their business more environmentally friendly. In addition, 54% of Saskatchewan businesses were uncertain whether any changes they make will have a meaningful impact on the environment.
“Small business owners have a lot weighing on them right now, from pandemic-related debt and skyrocketing costs to difficulty finding workers,” said Jasmin Guenette,
Vice-president of National Affairs at CFIB. When a new environmental policy is developed without small businesses in mind, the implications can be huge. For example:
• Small businesses are hit the hardest by the carbon tax. They pay close to half of the carbon tax revenue collected by the government, but they don’t get the same amount back like individuals and households do through rebates.
• The national singleuse plastics ban can add complications to businesses having to source new and sometimes more expensive alternatives.
Small businesses estimate it will cost them on average $6,605 to adhere to the singleuse plastics ban in the first year after it is introduced. • The federal government is also proposing regulations that will require at least 20% of new vehicles sold in
Canada to be zero emission by 2026, at least 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.
This change could cause issues for businesses operating in remote and cold areas. Most Sask. small business owners (81%) believe that it is possible to grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time.
In fact, almost two-thirds (62%) of small business owners said that recycling materials, from excess product packaging to shipping paper, was the most important environmental issue to their business.
Over half (55%) of business owners said reducing waste was an important environmental issue, followed by clean water and sewage treatment (39%) and preservation of natural environments (30%).
CFIB’S new report, entitled Working Together: Developing Environmental
Policy with Small Business in Mind, outlines 10 guiding principles and provides recommendations for the federal government on how to ensure that its environmental policies work for small business, including: • Environmental policies should support the principle it’s possible to grow the economy and protect the environment.
• Government should take an evidence-based approach when implementing new environmental policies and carefully consider any potential impacts on small business and the economy prior to implementation. • Government should consider the current state of small business and the economy when developing environmental policies. A small business lens should be applied to all environmental policies to ensure minimal impact on small business’ operations.