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New study by the Chamber: Ten actions to accelerate the green transition of our economy by building on downtown’s strengths

The Chamber has just released a study entitled Downtown Montréal's transition to a green economy: accelerating the shift to sustainability in business practices, buildings, urban planning and mobility. The study was carried out with the support of KPMG. It was conducted as part of the “I love working downtown” initiative, with the support of the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie.

The study proposes ten recommendations for making downtown Montreal a place where the green transition of the city and the province can be accelerated.

"The Chamber has been working to revitalize downtown for nearly three years. We ran a number of projects in parallel to identify the issues, encourage the return of workers and support its commercial base. Right from the beginning, we've seen a very strong consensus that revitalizing downtown should also be part of a strategy to accelerate the greening of our economy. Our analyses show that downtown is an ideal place to make this transition. The study identifies four priority areas for action: changing business practices, addressing mobility, reviewing certain practices in the real estate sector, and adjusting our urban planning. We're convinced we can achieve this," said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

"If the city core is to maintain its vital role in Quebec's economic growth and its international profile, we need to be bold and focus greater attention towards turning to a green economy. The CCMM's study offers some ideas that can serve as inspiration for our future actions aimed at decarbonizing Montréal," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region.

Environmentally responsible business practices

"At the heart of the green transition of our economy lies the transformation of business models and practices. Our surveys show that climate change is a major concern for the business community, but that making the transition ranks only fourth on the list of priorities. Our study highlights the importance of breaking down silos to facilitate information sharing and support for businesses. As a reflection of our commitment to that effect, we joined forces with BMO Financial Group to launch the ConVERTgence economic movement, which aims to accelerate the green transition of businesses in Greater Montréal. Given the urgency of the situation, we're ready to act," added Michel Leblanc.

Sustainable mobility

"With 39% of total emissions, the transportation sector remains the main contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Montréal. That percentage has in fact gone up by 5% compared with 1990. We need to significantly accelerate the electrification of downtown mobility, especially freight transport. We also need to draw inspiration from best practices elsewhere, with the introduction of low-emission arterial roads to improve air quality downtown. The challenge is great, and it's up to us to rise to the occasion," continued Michel Leblanc.

Sustainable real estate

"There is a need for renewal in downtown Montréal's real estate stock. Many Class B and C buildings require major work to comply with carbon neutrality targets. That said, the key issue in sustainable renovation remains financing. The various levels of government need to do more, by supporting private owners in this undertaking and offering financial incentives and accelerated administrative processes," noted Michel Leblanc.

Sustainable urban planning

"In line with the thinking behind Montréal’s Land Use and Mobility Plan, we recommend that the impact of new real estate projects on the ecological performance of the downtown area be taken into account through promotion of the principles of smart densification in TOD (transit-oriented development) areas and mixed use. We also believe that we should focus on redeveloping idle areas such as Bridge-Bonaventure. These areas, where redevelopment would take place from the ground up, present a historic opportunity to implement environmentally responsible practices from the very beginning. Their vision and their success must serve as inspiration for the green transition of urban planning practices downtown and throughout the city," commented Michel Leblanc.

"The findings of our study are clear on the need to activate economic levers to accelerate the green transition. This includes providing greater support to businesses, for whom there is still insufficient visibility as to the resources available to them. As part of our ConVERTgence initiative, we'll be making tools, training and content available to the community in the coming weeks. We want to inform, engage, equip and above all inspire businesses to embark on this necessary undertaking. Given the urgency of the situation, we want to act quickly and effectively to make a concrete difference," concluded Michel Leblanc. 

To see our study, visit the Chamber's website.

To find out more about the Chamber and BMO's ConVERTgence economic movement, visit the dedicated web page.


  1. Mobilize businesses to accelerate the green transition and enhance the support offered to increase the adoption of sustainable business practices
  2. Create a specialized cleantech innovation centre to capitalize on existing offerings and facilitate their commercialization 
  3. Optimize and accelerate the electrification of freight transport downtown. 
  4. Develop a downtown travel management plan with “low-emission arterial roads” to limit access by gasoline-powered motor vehicles  
  5. Optimize the use of public and private parking spaces and relocate street parking spaces
  6. Support property owners in the sustainable renovation of buildings to achieve the target of carbon neutrality by 2040 
  7. Offer financial incentives and tax breaks to encourage the decarbonization of buildings, ensuring that the provincial and federal governments contribute
  8. Promote the use and development of district heating and cooling systems
  9. Apply the planning principles of smart densification* to encourage the development of complete neighbourhoods, taking into account the impact of new real estate projects on the environmental performance of downtown
  10. Centralize and prioritize renaturalization efforts in the downtown area, and ensure their enhancement to promote adaptation to climate change and urban resilience

About the study

The study Downtown Montréal's transition to a green economy: accelerating the shift to sustainability in business practices, buildings, urban planning and mobility, led by the Chamber, with the support of the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie, documents the priority actions required to combine economic development and ecological transition under the “I love working downtown” initiative. It was carried out with KPMG in Quebec.

About the “I love working downtown” initiative 

“I love working downtown” is an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal carried out with support from the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie. Its objective is to accelerate the revitalization of downtown Montréal. 

About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)

With a network of over 8,000 members, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (“the Chamber”) is active on three fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community, delivering specialized services to businesses and their employees, and leading impact initiatives to strengthen the business environment. For 200 years, it has been acting on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of its Acclr experts, the Chamber’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world.

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Jean-Baptiste Portrait
Advisor, Public Affairs and Media Relations
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514-669-6768

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmm

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