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Canadians have been hit in 2020 with a triple threat. Not only are our citizens facing the largest public health crisis in a century, but Canadians are also met head on with the biggest global economic contraction since the 1930s and an unprecedented collapse in energy prices that affects everyone - both personally and professionally. And this is merely icing on the cake to five years of tough economic times. 

This report is less about the challenges but more about the opportunities that lie buried within these struggles. Specifically, it speaks to opportunities that lie on the horizon within some of the core industries that continue to be the backbone of our nation.  

Regionally speaking, energy and agriculture have long been the two foundations of Alberta’s economy and its two main export industries. As they too are challenged, so too is the future of the provincial economy, and by direct extension, the future well-being of all Canadians.  

This report looks at how today's situation just might be the inflection point we need - to draw gains from the connectivity that already exists in Alberta between these two sectors. 

The wellsite and farmyard have long been powerful innovation icons in the collective Alberta ethos; powerful symbols that define the contributions both sectors make to the province’s sense of itself.  But they’ve never been strategically linked in a way that catalyzes conversations around sustainability, innovation and next-generation economic resilience - until now. 

In September of 2020, Glacier Resource Innovation Group organized a virtual summit with more than 125 representatives from the energy and agricultural sectors; with direct intent on reimagining and reinvigorating the environmental, social and governance collaboration required to accelerate innovation and sustainable development within both sectors. This report speaks to some of the highlights that came out of that session. 

Energy and Agriculture 

New frontiers like blue hydrogen, geothermal, bioenergy and the plant-based alternatives food movement being undertaken by the energy and ag sectors may at first, seem independent of each other. But, if more strategically linked through defined collaboration mechanisms, subject matter expertise from energy and agriculture will undoubtedly have a powerfully positive cross-sector benefit. 

Both sectors are well attuned to their own respective air, land and water strategies but have not put in a concerted effort to drive innovation - together. This new "Growing Forward" movement is serving to help the sectors (and by extension, Canadians) reap the rewards from the efficiencies that could naturally come from shared resourcing, new best practices, pooled funding, shared technologies, and synergistic communications.  

We invite you to download this report and reach out to us, if you have any questions - or interest in taking part in any of the upcoming coalition programming. 

Those with interest in participating in any of our upcoming workshops or articles are asked to please reach out directly to Wendy Ell, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Industry Development at well@jwnenergy.com

Growing Forward Together: The
Next-Gen Alberta Advantage