The power of
community

Cal Fichter

Cal Fichter is Vice-President Energy at Federated Co-operatives Limited, and Chair of the Canadian Fuels Association.

I was pleased to learn that Canadian consumers figure prominently in this issue of Perspectives, which explores their awareness, behaviour and options in relation to transportation fuels, and energy and climate policies.

Without question, the automotive and petroleum refining industries have a role to play in responding to climate change. Given the scale of our operations and the central importance of our products in the daily life of Canadians, we understand our responsibility. We have demonstrated a readiness to be part of the global dialogue on the environment. We have responded with genuine and tangible efforts to reduce the emissions related to our products and meet the expectations of regulators and Canadians.

“The role of consumers in the transition to a lower-emissions economy is pivotal, and the impact of their choices will be immense.”

But what of consumers? They exercise the power of choice when it comes to mode of transport, transportation fuel, automobile type and driving behaviour. The role of consumers in the transition to a lower-emissions economy is pivotal, and the impact of their choices will be immense.

As Vice-President Energy at Federated Co-operatives Limited, I believe the co-op model offers valuable insight into the consumer opportunity where petroleum transportation fuels are concerned. In our business model, consumers are more than customers; they’re owners, with shared values and goals. The family filling its van at the pumps, the farmer fuelling her machinery—they all own a membership share in local co-ops that are part of the fabric of their communities. As our co-op model has grown and flourished over nearly a century, we have come to understand the power of community to meet the needs of people across Western Canada.

Currently there’s a new worldwide need to be met—reduced transportation-related emissions. As Canadians, we are at our best when we respond together. Now nearly 37 million strong, we can pack a punch when it comes to achieving this goal.

It’s time to harness our collective potential. To choose vehicles that truly meet our needs. To leave those vehicles at home if the bus or a bicycle makes more sense. To drive smarter and take better care of our vehicles.

As we consider what a lower-emissions economy will look like in Canada, there is a great deal of room for more progress in vehicle efficiency and fuel performance. I think there’s even more room for us to show our potential as Canadians—individually and collectively.

In this community we call Canada, let’s all do our part.