The Cultural Challenges of Meeting Climate Change Goals: Montreal Weighs an Emissions Ban on Iconic Wood-Fire Bagel Shops

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: April 11, 2019
Length: 14 pages
Product ID#: 7-234-668

Core Disciplines: Social Impact, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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In 2018, the city of Montreal debated a ban on the commercial use of wood-burning ovens used by the city’s famous and iconic bagel shops. This consideration came after a domestic ban on wood-burning ovens went into effect, and amid concerns about public health and a citywide effort to substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020. City officials knew that commercial regulation of wood-fire bagel shop ovens could be perceived as a disruption of an important local tradition. But they also knew that failing to reduce environmental and health risks from wood burning would be seen as irresponsible. This case presents the dynamics of a situation in which environmental policy and regulation goes head-to-head with a city’s culturally-important food.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Assess the approach taken by Montreal to limit all sources of carbon emissions.
  • Define the cultural, economic, and environmental factors that a city must consider when taking measures to fight climate change and air pollution.
  • Construct a creative solution to the problem that serves the needs of all stakeholders, while still achieving environmental and economic goals.
  • Develop a mental model and framework for addressing complex problems with holistic solutions.