Alberta's energy minister says Canada needs to work harder to become part of the global market and improving the province's environmental reputation is the way to do that.

Ken Hughes spoke at the Calgary Petroleum Club Friday morning and said Alberta needs to do a better job communicating it's environmental initiatives to the world. 

"We're doing a lot to  ... get our products to market, making sure the rest of the world knows we do things well," he said.

In his speech to the club, Hughes highlighted Alberta's environmental monitoring, land-use planning and carbon capture and storage initiatives as examples of things that should be communicated more effectively to global markets.

The poor environmental reputation of the oilsands has led to international criticism and even boycotts.

Chiquita Brands, cosmetics giant Avon and U.S. drugstore chain Walgreen's have pledged in the past to avoid using fuel from Alberta's oilsands.

There have also been widespread protests across Canada and the U.S. over the last year over proposed pipeline routes that would carry Alberta crude to refineries.

Both the provincial and federal governments have committed to finding larger markets for the oilsands. 

More market access needed

Just last month, Alberta and China signed what they called a landmark deal to increase energy trade.

'We need all of these markets.'- Ken Hughes, Alberta's energy minister

Hughes defended that pact Friday morning, addressing concerns it could impact ongoing negotiations with the United States.

"We need all of these markets," he said. "Thoughtful Americans who understand what's going on in Canada recognize that every barrel of oil that leaves Canada, off this continent, has a big American content in it. So that's good for America, that's good for Canada, for us to export oil."

During his recent trip to Asia, Hughes also met with officials in Korea and Japan to work on expanding access for Alberta's resources.