Environmental consulting services are in high demand as companies seek expert advice on greening their operations and practices. In Alberta, the demand for these services is particularly strong, with nearly 27% of the province’s environmental workers in 2020 employed in the Professional, scientific, and technical services industry. Indigenous-owned environmental consulting companies are well positioned to serve the need for these services in Alberta, contribute their expertise and support their communities.
Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and the environment
Though climate change is a global issue, it is felt acutely by communities which are already vulnerable. For Indigenous communities in Canada, the impacts of climate change are complex and interwoven with other challenges.
To address these challenges, fully informed, community-guided decisions to support sustainable land and natural resource management practices are vital to building resilient communities. Incorporating Indigenous peoples’ experiences, perspectives, and values across industries and environmental projects can help ensure both people’s and the environment’s long-term health.
As part of this greater goal, ECO Canada is piloting a directory of Indigenous environmental consulting firms in Alberta. The project aims to promote these Indigenous enterprises and support job creation for a resilient and diversified Alberta economy.
ECO Canada’s Indigenous-owned Environmental Consulting Firm Directory
Ten Indigenous-owned environmental consulting firms in Alberta, offering a broad range of services, participated in this pilot project. These firms span numerous industries, including the forestry, utility, energy, mining, and education sectors.
Areas of expertise across the firms in the directory include:
- reclamation & remediation
- regulatory compliance
- risk management
- Indigenous Knowledge frameworks
- environmental monitoring
- project management & strategic planning
- environmental assessment
- education & employment programs
as well as a vast offering of other technical services.
The directory highlights the current offerings of the following Indigenous-owned environmental consulting firms:
- Weiser Environmental
- Cokel Environmental
- West Earth Sciences
- Apeiron Resources Ltd.
- Aseniwuche Winewak Nation
- Akamihk Kanataskiy Ventures
- Backwoods Energy
- X-Terra Environmental Services Ltd
- NuNenne Advision Environmental
The directory, including a full list of services and contact information, can be downloaded below.
Strengths, opportunities, challenges and solutions
Discussions with these firms identified their strengths, opportunities, challenges and solutions for future growth.
These firms identified their established reputations, commitments to sustainability, extensive experience within the environmental sector, and effective knowledge transfer as strengths. This allows for strong, long-term relationships with partners, accommodations based on meaningful consultation, mentorship networks, and increased awareness of Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Being and Doing.
Critical opportunities include the implementation of various frameworks and commitments to reconciliation, such as Call to Action 92, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
Challenges faced by these firms include a need for educational institutions to adopt a more agile approach with greater access to accessible skills development programs in rural and remote communities, general connectivity challenges in Indigenous and remote communities, the under-representation of Indigenous businesses in the environmental sector, and providing support to youth.
Some solutions include supporting the creation and maintenance of up-to-date curriculums in Western and Indigenous science, youth mentorship, and skills development training programs. This includes leveraging technology and promoting STEM careers for Indigenous communities, as well as an understanding of both social and environmental needs.