Waterloo Region businesses are leading by example when it comes to environmental initiatives, says the executive director of a group that helps companies become greener.
Mike Morrice of Sustainable Waterloo provided a progress report to Wellesley councillors meeting this week in Crosshill. Highlighted was an initiative to reduce carbon emissions across the region; the organization is currently creating a target plan.
Sustainable Waterloo tracks the carbon footprint of various organizations and companies in its fold and helps them to create and achieve environmental goals.
“As you know, the regional carbon initiative is our flagship that helps businesses and organizations across the region to reduce their carbon impact. Thirteen per cent of the regional workforce – about 31,000 employees – is part of an organization that is working to reduce its carbon impact,” he said.
The list of companies taking part in the program include St. Jacobs-based Home Hardware and Quarry Integrated Communications , and a long list of others such as two of the region’s hospitals, two universities and some 10 insurance firms.
One of the Sustainable Waterloo’s accomplishments in 2012, he said, was bringing in five new companies, including Waterloo North Hydro, which made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions.
“To give you a sense, there was 13,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from their sites every year and they’ve made a 25 per cent commitment to reduce their carbon impact over the next 10 years,” said Morrice.
“We’re really excited to see the size of the regional carbon initiative grow for the past year.”
He is leaving his executive position to start a similar initiative province-wide and says many communities surrounding Waterloo Region are taking notice of the projects undertaken in the last five years. The region’s entrepreneurs are also beginning to teach other regions to be green. London, York Region, Sarnia and Guelph, among others. have approached Sustainable Waterloo for assistance with their carbon initiatives.
“Thank you very much for improving our environment,” said Mayor Ross Kelterborn following the presentation.
“Keep up the good work,” added Coun. Paul Hergott.