DECEMBER 10, 2007 (VANCOUVER) – As negotiations are underway for a U.N. agreement on climate change in Bali, Indonesia, a group of B.C. small businesses is announcing today that they are committing to cut and offset their greenhouse gas emissions on average by 64 percent or 999 tonnes next year. That's equivalent to removing 360 cars from city streets.

The ten small businesses are participants in the first Climate Smart Workgroup for Small Business organized by Ecotrust Canada in partnership with the Pembina Institute. The Workgroup's purpose is to help small businesses with the technical challenges of measuring, shrinking and offsetting their carbon footprint.

“Small business is the engine of BC's economy and any action plan on global warming must involve this crucial sector,” says Ian Gill, President of Ecotrust Canada. “The entrepreneurs who participated in our first Climate Smart Workgroup are the early adopters proving the business case for taking action on global warming. By cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, many will cut costs while creating greater consumer loyalty for their eco-friendly products and services. That's called being carbon smart.”

The first Climate Smart Workgroup brought together ten companies and nonprofits from the North Coast, Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland. They represent some of B.C.'s most progressive and innovative small businesses in the fields of tourism, fisheries, manufacturing, transportation, philanthropy, food distribution and green building.

“More and more customers are coming to us because of our environmental performance and local manufacturing. We're seeing growing demand for green building products,” says Steve Roscoe, owner of Woodland Flooring in Comox, a manufacturer certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. “Last year, we invested in a new energy efficient kiln which saved us $1,500 in power and cut our carbon emissions by 17 percent. Next year, we plan to offset our remaining carbon footprint and become a carbon neutral company.”

Other businesses going carbon neutral are Small Potatoes Urban Delivery in Vancouver, King Pacific Lodge on the Central Coast and Chislett Manson & Company in Courtenay.

"Our ultimate goal is to be the most socially responsible grocery delivery company in North America, but right now we need local solutions for global warming,” says David Van Seters, President of SPUD (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery). “SPUD is helping people to reduce their ecological footprint with the everyday act of grocery shopping. By being the first grocery retailer in Vancouver to go carbon neutral, we hope it will engage and inspire other businesses to do their part."

Commitments to carbon reduction for each business range from two to 50 percent. Reduction strategies include using more energy efficient lighting, reducing idling times in vehicles, investing in new energy-saving technologies, reorganizing logistics to save time and energy, cutting paper consumption and other measures. On average, the ten businesses plan to reduce their carbon footprint by almost nine percent. About 55 percent of their combined carbon footprint will be offset by purchasing carbon credits.

The ten businesses have a combined carbon footprint of 1,560 tonnes. About 67 percent comes from transportation, 17 percent from electricity, 11 percent from heating and five percent from other sources.

Demand for Climate Smart Workgoups has been so strong that Ecotrust Canada is announcing today that they will hold three workgroups in the Lower Mainland, one on southern Vancouver Island and one in Tofino in 2008. About 75 companies will participate in the five workgroups. Vancity will fund a portion of the cost.

"Vancity has been taking action on climate change since the early ’90s," says Ellen Pekeles, Senior Vice President of Strategy for Vancity. "We’re working hard to become a carbon neutral organization, and are proud to provide assistance to small businesses who are also leading in this way."

The David Suzuki Foundation, Vancity, Mountain Equipment Co-op and King Pacific Lodge financed the first Carbon Neutral Workgroup this year.

The workgroup included three workshops to help companies calculate, reduce and offset their carbon footprint, and learn about strategies to market their climate-friendly products and services. The Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation developed innovative software to help these businesses calculate their carbon footprint. The Pembina Institute also provided one-on-one technical assistance through a “cool climate hotline.”

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For more information contact:

Ian Gill, President of Ecotrust Canada, at (604) 340-5297
Alison Jamison, Corporate Consultant, Pembina Institute, at (778) 233-4051
David Van Seters, President of Small Potatoes Urban Delivery, at (604) 841-6730
Steve Roscoe, President of Woodland Flooring, at (250) 897-8865
Jane MacCarthy, Media Relations Consultant, Vancity, at (604) 877-4539

Photographs: Contact Eric Enno Tamm at Ecotrust Canada for digital images of many of the participating companies: erict@ecotrustcan.org or mobile: (604) 219-1472

BACKGROUNDER

Carbon Smart Companies: Footprints and Strategies

  • CFV Helen II is a commercial fishing vessel owned by Dan Edwards in Ucluelet. The Helen II has an annual carbon footprint of about 79 tonnes. Edwards has partnered with Ecotrust Canada to carryout a research and development project on a new energy-efficient sustainable fishing boat to “green”the commercial fishing fleet.
  • Chislett Manson & Company is a Comox Valley architecture, planning and landscape firm committed to designing ‘’net zero” buildings. It has a carbon footprint of eight tonnes which it plans to offset next year to be a carbon neutral company.
  • King Pacific Lodge is a luxury wilderness lodge on the Central Coast which has a carbon footprint of 492 tonnes. They have committed to cut their carbon by 15 percent next year and offset the rest to be a carbon neutral company.
  • reSource Rethinking Building is a Vancouver-based development and green building consulting company that specializes in creating innovative solutions for buildings and communities. It has a carbon footprint of nine tonnes and is currently exploring options, including offsetting, to become a carbon neutral company.
  • Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD) is an organic and local food home delivery service in Vancouver, Seattle, Victoria and Calgary. SPUD plans to cut its 429-tonne carbon footprint by 10 percent next year and to offset the remainder to become a carbon neutral company.
  • Tofino Bus is a long-distance and rural commuter bus service. The fast-growing company has a carbon footprint of 276 tonnes and provides the public with transportation alternatives to using cars on the West Coast.
  • Trilogy Fish is a locally owned processor and retailer in Tofino that prides itself on local, sustainable seafood. The company has a carbon footprint of 30 tonnes and plans to cut it in half by reorganizing its delivery logistics and through energy efficient technologies.
  • Upholstery Arts is an innovative furniture manufacturer and retailer which is leading the green design movement in Vancouver. The company has moved away from petroleum-based materials. Its carbon footprint is an already low 86 tonnes and they plan to cut three percent from its emissions.
  • Vancouver Foundation is Canada's largest community foundation and its staff recently conducted a detailed inventory of its carbon footprint, which totaled 103 tonnes. The Foundation has established a Sustainability Working Group to implement carbon reduction strategies throughout its operations.
  • Woodland Flooring, a value-added manufacturer using FSC-certified or salvaged BC woods for their specialty Wideplank flooring in Comox, has a carbon footprint of 48 tonnes. A new energy efficient kiln helped the company reduce their GHG emissions by 17 percent this year. Woodland plans to go carbon neutral next year.

FACT SHEET

Climate Smart Workgroup: Carbon Footprint

  • 10 businesses have combined greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1,560 tonnes
  • 67 percent of their carbon footprint comes from transportation
  • On average, the ten companies have committed to reduce their carbon footprint by 8.7 percent in 2008
  • On average, the ten companies have committed to offset their carbon footprint by 55 percent in 2008
  • The combined reduction and offset is 999 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to removing 360 cars from city streets
  • Four companies have committed to be carbon neutral in 2008 including ChislettManson and Company, King Pacific Lodge, Small Potatoes Urban Delivery and Woodland Flooring

Climate Smart Workgroup: Business Profile

  • 10 participating companies from the sectors of transportation, tourism, fisheries,
  • forestry, manufacturing, philanthropy and green building
  • Companies collectively represent more than $22.3 million in annual sales
  • Companies have more than 235 employees and a payroll of $5.4 million
  • Companies collectively own or lease more than 42,500 square feet of building
  • space and 50 vehicles including cars, trucks, seaplanes and fishing vessels
  • Companies collectively have more than 271 suppliers
  • The average company is ten years old and was founded in 1997
  • The average growth of their sales between 2005 and 2006 was 19 percent

B.C. and Climate Change

  • Between 1895 and 1995, the average temperature in B.C. has risen by .6 to 1.7 degrees
  • Celsius and sea surface temperatures by .9 to 1.8 degrees Celsius. The sea level has risen by 4 to 12 cm.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by sector:

  • Transport 36 percent
  • Other industry 19 percent
  • Fossil fuel production and pipelines: 17 percent
  • Residential and Commercial 13 percent
  • Agriculture, waste and other 13 percent
  • Electricity 2 percent

SOURCE: Government of British Columbia. Weather, Climate and the Future: BC's Plan. December 2004