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Supporting Sectoral Environmental Sustainability and Competitiveness

Status: Completed
Operational Plan: 2009

This project aims to gain further knowledge and policy insights on the link between environmental sustainability and North American competitiveness to promote policies and actions that will result in improvements to both environmental and economic performance. Building on the ongoing examination of this work, in 2009, it is expected that an integrated report on Environmental Sustainability and North American Competitiveness will be made available to the NAFTA Parties.

CEC Projects - Sectoral Environmental Sustainability and Competitiveness


North America faces environmental challenges that need to be addressed. The economic costs of introducing effective strategies to take care of these challenges, however, can be considerable. Studies suggest that opportunities exist to find a balance between both objectives and that improvements in environmental sustainability can be realized concomitantly with increased economic performance.

In 2008, the CEC initiated work in the area of environmental sustainability and competitiveness. Studies were commissioned to better understand the link between environmental sustainability and economic performance and to identify opportunities to promote their mutual supportiveness.


In 2009, the project aims to consolidate this work by developing action plans that will help the Parties and North American businesses to advance their environmental sustainability agendas while remaining competitive in the rapidly changing global economy.

Key Activities

  • Assembly of the advisory group and selection of areas for further work in light of findings from research on environmental sustainability and competitiveness.
  • Support of the creation of task groups to act upon findings.
  • Development of action plans to improve environmental sustainability and North American competitiveness, focusing on a number of sectors or issues.


  • Increased understanding of the relationships between environmental sustainability and competitiveness in North America.
  • Action plans to be implemented by industry or other stakeholders.
  • Identification of policies and actions to promote the incorporation of environmental services.
  • An intensive attempt to decouple economic growth from environmental impacts while enhancing North America’s competitiveness.

Future Work

Further studies will be developed, as necessary, to provide additional knowledge and policy insights into sustainability and competitiveness.

This project is expected to end in 2010. At this time, the CEC aims to catalyze further action by the Parties and stakeholders. The principle of subsidiarity will terminate the work of the CEC.

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