Regional Carbon Initiative
ClimateWise Business Network is based on the successful and proven Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI) program operating in the Waterloo Region.
The Regional Carbon Initiative, a program of the non-profit Sustainable Waterloo Region, has grown from humble beginnings in 2009 to become a self-sustaining program where over 67 businesses – representing 14% of the local workforce – are plugged into a local network of organizations that are setting and achieving meaningful carbon emission reductions and proving the business-case for sustainability.
Nine out of the top ten employers in the region are members of the Regional Carbon Initiative and over the years there have been many success stories to showcase from network members.
In 2015, after just four years as a Regional Carbon Initiative member, Crawford & Company Canada met its Bronze 20% reduction target and re-set a Silver level pledge (40% reductions). Conestoga Mall has also upped its target from 20% to 40%. Athena Software made similar progress. While its team grew by 46%, they upped their target to 60% by restructuring their international partnerships.
VeriForm, a custom metal fabricator from Cambridge, was among the first organizations to join the Regional Carbon Initiative when it launched in 2009. VeriForm entered the program with an ambitious 100% target over its 2006 baseline. Now, seven years after this first-of-its-kind target in the Region, they are leading once again. VeriForm has become the first Regional Carbon Initiative member to reach carbon neutrality.
By implementing dozens of projects, VeriForm reduced their energy demands by a whopping 70%, and have purchased high quality Canadian carbon offsets to neutralize the rest of their emissions. It is about to become Canada's 4th company to achieve certification for the energy management system, ISO 50001.
The founding of Green Economy Canada
In response to interest from communities across Ontario in replicating the success of Sustainable Waterloo's Regional Carbon Initiative program, Sustainable Waterloo launched the new non-profit program Sustainability CoLab (now Green Economy Canada) in 2014.
With funding from the Government of Ontario, Green Economy Canada is creating a provincial network of member organizations, each building their own local business networks to support Ontario businesses in setting and achieving carbon emission reductions. ClimateWise is one of these local business networks.
By collaborating, sharing best practices, and coordinating efforts and carbon accounting tool costs, Green Economy hub member businesses are demonstrating that not only can aggressive carbon emissions targets be achieved, there is also a sound business-case and bottom-line advantage in doing so.