VANCOUVER, BC — Climate Smart announced today that about 52,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been tracked by over 160 BC small businesses as part of its program to help them reduce costs by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. That’s equivalent to annual emissions from more than 9,450 passenger vehicles or 4,700 homes.

“A growing number of businesses see a competitive advantage in greening their operations,” says Elizabeth Sheehan, President of Climate Smart, a leading provider of carbon tracking tools, training and technical support for small- and medium-sized enterprises. “They want to build brands that customers can trust and respect. In these tough economic times, entrepreneurs are also being innovative in reducing waste and removing inefficiencies. That’s good for the bottom line and great for the planet.”

Some of the most innovative measures, which also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, include:

  • West Coast Air reduced the fuel consumption of its fleet of floatplanes by flying at higher altitudes and maximizing efficiencies in route planning and scheduling.
  • Best Western Inn – Kelowna is installing geothermal heat in its new addition. The hotel expects the new system to almost entirely replace heating by natural gas, thereby reducing its annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 200 tonnes or 30 percent— a savings of about $40,000 per year.
  • Gillingham Cabinets in Duncan switched to using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) wood products last year and is now able to recycle its wood waste. The company anticipates this recycling will cut its carbon footprint in half.
  • Peak Ventures, a fine custom-home builder and general contractor in Whistler, is reducing its fuel consumption through improved planning and coordination of both its safety program and its materials transportation plan.
  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver is testing the use of glass wine bottles that are 42 percent lighter than conventional bottles.  Switching to the lighter model would represent a significant reduction in natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing the bottles and transporting them to the winery.

“It is great to see the leadership that the small business community is bringing to climate action,” says BC Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap. “I have seen a lot of ingenuity in how small businesses are helping their bottom line and helping lower our province’s carbon footprint.”

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards sees Climate Smart’s training as critical to its innovation. “This type of program is really important to us at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards,” says winemaker Sandra Oldfield. “Climate Smart gives us the tools to see where we can reduce our carbon footprint as well as help us set goals to increase our efficiency in the future.”

This year Climate Smart held training sessions in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Whistler and Portland, Oregon, with a diverse group of businesses from law firms and tourism operators to transportation and technology firms.

The Whistler Centre for Sustainability partnered with Climate Smart to deliver training to Whistler businesses for the 2010 Winter Games. The Resort Municipality is the first municipality in BC to use its carbon tax rebate to support local business participation in measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are very happy with the leadership shown by our first cohort of Climate Smart participants in Whistler,” says the Centre’s Executive Director Cheeying Ho. “Not only are they reducing their emissions and costs, they are deepening their commitment to Whistler2020, our community’s long-range sustainability plan.”

About Climate Smart
Climate Smart is a Vancouver-based social enterprise launched by Ecotrust Canada in 2009. It is the leading provider of carbon tracking tools, training and technical support to small- and medium-sized businesses. Its online carbon management tool for SMEs was rated No. 1 in North America by CarbonZero. Visit:
www.climatesmartbusiness.com

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Sheehan, President, Climate Smart, cell: (778) 858-4680

Rick Baxter, President, West Coast Air, cell: (604) 834-7755

Greg Salloum, Owner/CEO, Best Western Inn – Kelowna: (250) 979-6907

Stacy Griffin, Administration/Finance, Peak Ventures: (604) 938-0688

Duncan Wilcock, Technical Manager, Gillingham Cabinets: (250) 746-4989 x. 107

Sandra Oldfield, Winemaker/Chief Operations Officer, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards: (250) 498-3743