Local businesses are taking up a City of Vancouver challenge to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—and in the process help Vancouver meet its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020.
Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the creation of the Corporate Climate Leaders Program in a keynote speech at the GLOBE 2010 Conference in Vancouver today.
"By teaming up with local businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, we are moving closer to our goal of becoming the greenest city in the world," said Mayor Robertson. "Over the next year we’ll be working with the first wave of businesses to help them save money, reduce their carbon emissions, and communicate their environmental commitment to their customers.
"I want to make it clear that if you’re a Vancouver business and you want to go green, City Hall is ready to partner with you to make it happen."
The Corporate Climate Leaders Program includes energy savings studies for businesses who commit to undertaking measures that are identified as cost effective. Engaging local businesses in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one of 44 actions in the Greenest City: Quick Start Recommendations report released last spring by the Greenest City Action Team.
To support action by small and medium sized companies, the City has partnered with Climate Smart, a Vancouver-based social enterprise launched by Ecotrust Canada. Climate Smart works with businesses to develop GHG inventories and reduction plans, while facilitating their access to utility and government programs and incentives.
"We're delighted to be partnering with the City of Vancouver," says Climate Smart president Elizabeth Sheehan. "With our training and support, entrepreneurs become savvy about ways to cut costs by cutting carbon. We have worked with more than 170 businesses to date, and we're excited to help unleash the potential in Vancouver's small business sector to drive innovative action on climate change."
A dozen businesses have already signed up for the City of Vancouver's Climate Smart training, including Choices Market, the Listel Hotel, and the PNE. The program is available to up to 45 businesses with between 50 and 500 employees. The training cost is split equally between the business, Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver.
Photo credit: City of Vancouver