VANCOUVER, BC – Reducing business air travel by using teleconferencing software turns out to be the most popular strategy for companies that are trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

That is the finding from our work with over 172 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Climate Smart is a Vancouver hi-tech startup and leading provider of carbon tracking tools, training and technical support to SMEs. The Top 10 most popular carbon reduction strategies among SMEs include:

  1. Reducing business air travel by using teleconferencing software
  2. Reducing paper use by increasing electronic communication and using paper with higher recycled content
  3. Improving lighting efficiencies by switching to compact florescent lamps or LED lights, and turning off lights at night
  4. Introducing an employee carpool program and alternative transportation incentives
  5. Improving heating efficiencies from furnace upgrades, ceiling fans, new windows, weather stripping and other insulation
  6. Reducing waste through recycling and composting programs
  7. Optimizing routes for delivery vehicles or other transportation fleets
  8. Implementing anti-idling and top-speed reduction programs through driver education
  9. Consolidating shipments
  10. Putting “sleep mode” on office equipment and turning it off at night

“In the past three years, we’ve seen entrepreneurs grow increasingly savvy about ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions while improving their financial bottom line,” says Elizabeth Sheehan, President of Climate Smart. “Companies are realizing that a bit of research and creative thinking can go a long way in finding novel ways to green their operations. It’s a winning strategy for company profits and the planet.”

Climate Smart also singled out eight companies and organizations for introducing innovative strategies that cut both greenhouse gas emissions and business costs. (See Backgrounder for more details). The honour roll of innovators include:

  • Vancouver law firm Clark Wilson LLP for its employee engagement strategy
  • West Coast Air for fleet management that cut 12 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions
  • Sunrise Soya Foods for heating efficiency that saves $22,400 per year in natural gas
  • Duncan manufacturer Gillingham Cabinets for waste reduction that will cut its emissions by more than 50 percent
  • Jamie’s Whaling Station in Tofino for switching to more efficient boat propellers that saves $10,000 in fuel each year
  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver for greening its bottles and thereby saving $28,000
  • YWCA Hotel in Vancouver for dramatically improving its energy efficiency which will cut its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2013
  • The Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Centre for Sustainability and Whistler Chamber of Commerce for their comprehensive community engagement strategy.

These findings and the honour roll were presented at an evening reception on Thursday, January 28 at Climate Smart’s new office
in the Flack Block at 163 West Hastings in Vancouver. Some of BC’s leading green entrepreneurs and special guest The Hon. John Yap, B.C. Minister of State for Climate Action, attended the reception.

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 greenhouse gas management tool for SMEs was rated No. 1 in North America by CarbonZero.
For more information, visit www.climatesmartbusiness.com

BACKGROUNDERClimate Smart is proud to highlight eight companies and organizations that have introduced innovative strategies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and costs of doing business. All employee numbers are in full-time equivalents and all greenhouse gas emissions are in CO2 equivalents.

>> EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT. Clark Wilson LLP is a business law firm in Vancouver with about 225 employees and a carbon footprint of 545 tonnes. The firm introduced an office supply “amnesty day” in which all staff are periodically invited to “liberate” unused supplies from desks and drawers. The windfall of “liberated” stationery cut four office supply deliveries that saves about $4,000 to $6,000 per year and reduced the firm’s greenhouse gas emissions by 14 tonnes.

>> FLEET MANAGEMENT. West Coast Air is a scheduled and charter airline flying between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. It has
about 130 employees and annual greenhouse gas emissions for 2008 of 7,297 tonnes. By maximizing efficiencies in route planning and scheduling, and by flying at higher altitudes to reduce drag and decrease fuel consumption, the company cut 889 tonnes from its
footprint which saved 12 percent on its annual fuel bill.

>> HEATING EFFICIENCY. Sunrise Soya Foods is a Vancouver tofu manufacturer with about 135 employees and an annul carbon footprint of 2,925 tonnes. The company installed a boiler economizer to capture waste heat and pre-heat cold water which saves 3,200 gigajoules a year in natural gas and reduces their emissions by 180 tonnes. The new technology paid for itself in about 10 months and will save the company about $22,400 per year in natural gas.

>> WASTE REDUCTION. Gillingham Cabinets is a kitchen and bathroom cabinet manufacturer in Duncan with 15 employees. Its annual greenhouse gas emissions are 182 tonnes. The company switched to low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) material which allowed it to divert 69 tonnes of waste from the landfill to a local recycler. The innovation reduced the company’s disposal fees by $5,700 each year and cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 96 tonnes, which is more than 50 percent of its total emissions.

>> PROPULSION TECHNOLOGY. Jamie’s Whaling Station is a Tofino whale-watching and eco-tourism company. It has 20 employees and a carbon footprint of 723 tonnes. The company replaced propellers on its fleet of inflatable Zodiac vessels with a more efficient
design. The new propellers lead to a 10-percent fuel saving and reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 24 tonnes. The
new propellers paid themselves off in eight months and will save the company $10,000 in annual fuel bills.

>> PRODUCT DESIGN. Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, based in Oliver, has 20 employees and annual greenhouse gas emissions of 155 tonnes. The company is testing the use of Tricorbraun ECO Bottles which are 42 percent lighter than regular wine bottles. The switch will cut transportation and production costs, saving 67,500 pounds in raw material (4 tonnes CO2). It will also save the company $28,000 each year.

>> ENERGY EFFICIENCY. The YWCA Hotel in Vancouver has 250 employees and annual greenhouse gas emissions of 953 tonnes. The hotel reduced its energy costs by upgrading to Energy Star appliances and Power Smart lighting, and by investing in new technology to manage its heating. The YWCA calculates that its $200,000 capital investment will pay itself off in five years. The upgrades will cut its annual emissions by 170 tonnes and save $40,000 in energy bills. The hotel has set a 25 percent reduction target by 2013.

>> COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND SUPPORT. The Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Centre for Sustainability and Whistler Chamber of Commerce are working together to deliver Climate Smart’s training and technical support to their local businesses. The municipality also committed to use its funding from the Province’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program to reduce emissions in both the community and its municipal operations. It is using part of the carbon tax rebate to support local businesses to participate in Climate Smart and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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QUICK FACTS
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Since its start in 2007, Climate Smart has worked with 172 companies, training their employees to manage greenhouse gas emissions using Climate Smart’s innovative online data management tool. Here are some quick facts about Climate Smart’s impact:

>> 172 enterprises trained since 2007

>> 250+ employees trained

>> 55,251 tonnes (CO2e) measured which breaks down as follow:
– 75% Transportation
– 17% Heat
– 3% Electricity
– 5% Other (mostly landfilled waste and paper consumption)

>> The 55, 251 tonnes is equivalent to:
– 10,851 hot air balloons
– 12 BC Places
– 331,506 pine trees
– 10,638 cars or all the cars in Penticton in 2008
– 23,045 households’ annual heating in BC or more than heating all the homes in West Vancouver

>> 581.6 average annual emissions per enterprise

>> $483 cost per tonne CO2e (an estimate calculated based on the average breakdown of a Climate Smart business and estimated expenditures on energy and fuel, including the 2010 BC Carbon Tax)

>> Upcoming Training Sessions:
– Vancouver on March 16, 2010
– Whistler in April 2010
– More info at www.climatesmartbusiness.com

CLIMATE SMART COMPANIES

As of January 28, 2010, 88 companies and organizations have completed the Climate Smart program. They have used Climate Smart’s online data management tool and training to calculate their annual greenhouse gas emissions and identify reduction strategies. More than 75 others are working toward completion. Below is the list of those that have completed the program.

– Accent Inns
– Agency for Cooperative Housing
– Artizen Home Renovations
– Ash Creek Associates
– Atleo River Air Service
– Ballard Power Systems
– Bamboobino
– BC Teachers’ Federation
– Best Entertainment Corp
– Best Western Inn Kelowna
– Black Stilt Coffee House
– Bluewater Adventures
– Boardroom Eco Apparel
– C2 Media
– Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
– Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
– Canadian Snowmobile
– Canadian Springs Water Company
– Canadian Tourism Commission
– Canopy
– Cedar Corner
– Chislett Manson Architects
– Clark Wilson LLP
– Coffee Bean International
– College of Midwives of BC
– Columbia Institute
– Common Loaf Bake Shop
– Cooperative Housing Federation of BC
– Costless Express
– Council of Tourism Associations of BC
– Courtney Agencies
– Creative Packaging Solutions
– Digitech Renewable Print Cartridges
– District of Ucluelet
– Eclipse Awards International
– Ecotrust Canada
– ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates
– Frogbox
– Frogfile Office Essentials
– Gillingham Cabinets
– Glacier Creek Contracting
– Gone Eatery
– Great Pacific Adventures
– Green over Grey – Living Walls and Design Inc.
– Green Step
– Green Table Network
– Hemmera
– Jamie’s Whaling Station
– Janitors Warehouse/m-Chem Technologies
– King Pacific Lodge
– Long Beach Lodge Resort
– Mills Basics
– Nicklaus North Golf Course
– Open Box Integration Inc.
– Pacific Coast Fishermen’s Conservation Company
– Pacific Coach Lines
– Pacific Sands Beach Resort
– Paragon Consulting Services
– Peak Ventures
– Recycling Alternative
– Remote Passages
– Residence Inn by Marriott Whistler
– Salt Spring Coffee
– Saul Good Gift Co.
– SFU Community Trust
– Sierra Systems
– Sliced Tomatoes Foods Ltd.
– spud!
– Sunrise Soya Foods
– Sustainable Urban Forest/Carbonsync
– Szolyd Development
– Thai Away Enterprises
– Timberline Natural Resource Group
– Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
– Tofino Botanical Gardens
– Tofino Bus
– Tofino Sea Kayaking
– Tourism Victoria
– Trilogy Fish
– Upholstery Arts
– Urban Impact Recycling
– West Coast Air
– Western Principles
– Whistler Housing Authority
– Woodland Flooring Company
– Working Enterprises
– YWCA Vancouver
– Zipcar Portland

For more information, visit www.climatesmartbusiness.com