The federal government is throwing a challenge, and some incentives, at Canada's industrial manufacturers to scale back their energy use.

Industrial manufacturing is the most energy-intensive sector of the economy, producing more than one-third of Canada's greenhouse gases, so it's a good place to seek efficiencies, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr said Tuesday in Winnipeg.

"The challenge: for all industries to cut their energy intensity by 10 per cent over the next five years," he told a crowd gathered inside the massive bakery for Weston Foods.

The incentives are obvious, he said: greater efficiency, enhanced competitiveness, improved productivity and environmental performance, and a more sustainable operation.

As an extra incentive, those successful in meeting or exceeding the 10 per cent cut will be formally recognized as Energy Star Achievers.

Carr calls it "a prestigious designation that will let customers know they're doing business with a company that is serious about the environment."

He said the challenge is a followup to this past summer's launch of the Energy Star for Industry program, designed "to help industrial manufacturing facilities to reduce their energy intensity and related costs."

Carr thanked Walter Kraus, vice-president of environment and corporate sustainability at Weston Foods, for taking on the challenge and highlighting "that you can make a lot of dough" saving energy.

He made the announcement one day before he hosts the Generation Energy Forum in Winnipeg.

The two-day forum is expected to draw 500 people, from youth to industry, academic, Indigenous and community leaders, "to explore Canada's path to affordable energy, the next generation in technology and innovation, energy governance and Canada's role in the global energy transition."