White Paper: Taking a Strategic Approach to Industrial Transition

This white paper was written for Canada’s Net-Zero Industrial Strategy Summit, October 27, 2022, with the support of Smart Prosperity Institute, The Natural Step, The Transition Accelerator, and Ivey Foundation.

The rise of green industrial policies across the world has made it imperative that Canada also develop its own low-carbon industrial strategy. Our major trading partners and competitors are moving fast and the global value chains of the 21st century are forming rapidly. Canada must act now, or risk being left behind.

Canada needs a strategic approach to building the industries that will create value in the Canadian economy throughout the energy transition and beyond. Done well, a modern industrial policy can build a coalition to drive deep decarbonization while reducing the costs of new technologies and building geopolitically resilient supply chains.

This white paper lays out a vision for a Canadian net-zero industrial strategy rooted in the principles of effective modern industrial policy.

About the Authors

Bentley Allan, PhD

Transition Pathway Principal

Bentley Allan, PhD, is a Transition Pathway Principal at the Transition Accelerator, as well as an Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Allan is an award-winning scholar who has written on the dynamics of international order, science and politics, climate policy, and the political economy of decarbonization. He provides regular advice to government and industry on geopolitics, industrial strategy, and policy.

He has co-lead the development of three sector strategies and roadmaps in collaboration with industry partners. He is the co-coordinator of the Centre for Net-Zero Industrial Policy which advances research and action to strengthen and mobilize Canada’s expertise in modern industrial policy, enabling strategic collaboration between government, industry, indigenous communities, labor, and financial institutions in pursuit of good jobs and a competitive economy.


Derek Eaton, PhD

Director of Future Economy

Director of Future Economy at the Transition Accelerator, Derek Eaton is an economist with more than 30 years of experience in developing policy insights and recommendations to integrate sustainability into decision-making. Derek’s global career has ranged across the energy, agriculture, food, water, trade, investment, finance and innovation sectors. His professional focus has centered on understanding how economic change and transformation takes place. He brings valuable insights from his experience working for the UN, government, research organizations, universities, think tanks and consulting spanning the research, policy and practice interface.

Prior to joining the Transition Accelerator, Derek was Senior Director of Public Policy Research at the Smart Prosperity Institute. Some of his previous positions include Principal Consultant, Technopolis Group (the Netherlands); VP Research, the Global Footprint Network (Oakland, CA and Switzerland); Executive Director, Centre for International Environmental Studies, Graduate Institute (Geneva), Green Economy Research Lead, United Nations Environment Programme (Geneva). Derek holds a PhD in Economics from Wageningen University, Netherlands.


James Meadowcroft, PhD

Transition Pathway Principal

James Meadowcroft, PhD, is professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University where he has held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Governance for Sustainable Development. He has written widely on environmental politics and policy, democratic participation and deliberative democracy, national sustainable development strategies and socio-technical transitions. Recent work focuses on energy and the transition to a low-carbon society and includes publications on carbon capture and storage (CCS), smart grids, the development of Ontario’s electricity system, the politics of socio-technical transitions and negative carbon emissions.


Cite as: Allan, B., Eaton, D., and Meadowcroft, J. (2022). Taking a Strategic Approach to Industrial Transition: A Vision for Canadian Net-Zero Industrial Strategy. Transition Accelerator, Smart Prosperity and The Natural Step.