Canadian Manufacturing

Clean technologies: out of sight, but not out of mind

Without geosynthetics, people living in most urban centres wouldn’t be able to drink their water, major structures like bridges would be less resilient and natural resources would be depleting at a faster rate


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PHOTO: Samples of geosynthetic materials/Werner W Müller and Fokke Saathoff via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever heard of “geosynthetics”? If you haven’t, it’s OK – you’re in good company with millions and millions of Canadians.

If the word is unfamiliar, it might surprise you to hear geosynthetics are all around us, affecting our day to day lives.

Broadly speaking, synthetic liners, grids and textiles are used in Canada and internationally to help manage and protect resources.

Geosynthetics are so pervasive, in fact, every roadway in Canada uses them. They are also under many landfills preventing soil contamination, used to reinforce steep soil hills, and can be found below the surface of sports fields to ensure water can drain without taking the soil with it.

Without geosynthetics, people living in most urban centres wouldn’t be able to drink their water, major structures like bridges would be less resilient and natural resources would be depleting at a faster rate.

This subject is on my mind today because Export Development Canada (EDC) just entered a deal providing financing to a major player in supplying and installing geosynthetics.

Titan Environmental Containment is an innovative and growing Canadian cleantech company that started in a Manitoba garage and now does business around the world, working on every continent to minimize the environmental impact of major infrastructure projects as our growing population demands.

Titan’s chief financial officer, Derek Bishop, has said every product they sell is designed to benefit the environment and decrease carbon footprints. Whether it’s to retain drinking water, prevent soil contamination at waste management sites, or reduce the need for sand, gravel and crushed stone in road construction – it’s all about protecting our natural resources.

Globally, the market for geosynthetics is growing, and could be worth more than USD$20.8 billion in 2023, increasing from USD$11.3 billion in 2015, according to a report Transparency Market Research released in February. The research firm estimated the market will have a compound annual growth rate of more than nine per cent over those eight years.

Much of that growth, according to the research, will be on account of increasing demand for cost-effective technologies in civil engineering and construction. At the same time, the rising number of infrastructure developments around the world – especially in developing markets – will drive growth in the market, according to the research.

The innovators at the helm of Titan have ambitious plans for exports. They want to see their wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, which saw growth of 60% last year, continue to add to the bottom line, and hope to clear an additional 20 per cent in sales from completely new markets next year.

But Titan is just one among hundreds of Canadian companies making its mark on the international cleantech stage. Even if, like with geosynthetics, we don’t see these technologies on a regular basis, they are all around us, everywhere we go.

EDC’s recent direct financing loan to the company highlights the need to support trade creation for growing Canadian companies, especially those working to protect our planet and limit dependence on non-renewables.
Nationally, the sector is brimming with potential and – with business, government and industry organizations working in concert to build and bolster it – it’s on the right path.


This article was submitted by Sophie Dumoulin-Mondoux, Cleantech Director, Export Development Canada.

EDC is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, we equip Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to take on the world with confidence. Underlying all our support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business.


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