Dharm Makwana, Sun Media, June 29, 2007
VANCOUVER – A group of 13 small- and medium-sized B.C. businesses is about to learn the exact cost of going green.

Ecotrust, the Pembina Institute and the Suzuki Foundation launched a joint pilot project yesterday to teach participants how to calculate carbon footprints using a new computer program. By October each business will have created a strategy to determine how their emissions can be reduced to the point of being carbon neutral.

"For the businesses here, their cost … is they’re the guinea pigs. Their benefit is they get the first learning," said Ecotrust president Ian Gill.

The province is home to 370,000 small- and medium-sized businesses that employ 58 per cent of the population.

Gill pointed out federal and provincial programs are mostly concerned with industrial-scale greenhouse gas emitters largely ignoring entrepreneurs as carbon emitters and innovators who use shrewd business sense to survive.

"This is not assisted by the government, this is just businesses with some groups in the background trying to figure this out in real time, in the Canadian economy," he said.

In an effort to apply the program province-wide the trio of environmental groups is planning to release a free version of the carbon footprint calculator once it passes the beta-testing stage.