Yearly Archives: 2012

Can you chew gum and be sustainable at the same time?

I like to chew gum, mainly the breath freshening type.  Yesterday, my wife returned from a grocery shopping trip and tossed me a small bottle of Dentyne Ice containing 60 pieces. “Check it out”, she said.  Examining the bottle I immediately noticed the label highlighting Earth Pack Compostable Bottle. Interesting, but why would a company go to all the trouble of developing a compostable gum container, unless of course there was a business benefit associated with it.  As it turns out, the company behind the product is Kraft, and a quick review of their website revealed a well-developed sustainability strategy.( ). Kraft definitely sees a business benefit to developing more sustainability business practices.

But sustainability isn’t a smart business strategy for solely for large corporations like Kraft.  You can also find it happening right here in small and medium sized businesses in the Peterborough region.  An upcoming event will feature a panel discussion by three local businesses who have first hand experience in the business case for sustainability. They include Dan McWilliams or McWilliams Moving and Storage, Greg Elmhirst of Elmhirst’s Resort, and Scot Murison of Wild Rock Outfitters.  Each will provide their take on the business case for sustainability at the upcoming launch of The Sustainable Business Initiative.

In addition, the event will also feature guest speaker Bob Willard, author of several books including The New Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line. Bob is somewhat of a business sustainability guru, having given more than 700 talks around the world on the business benefits of sustainability.

The event takes place on Thursday, January 17th from 7:30am – 9:30am at the Holiday Inn.  Tickets are $10 with proceeds to a Fleming College Sustainability Bursary.  You can register at

Sustainability – Does it Pay to be Good?

I recently have had the distinct pleasure of becoming part of a group of incredible people through Sustainable Peterborough (SP).  As Business Cultivator for the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation (GPA EDC), I find myself wearing a number of hats, one of which is Co-ordinator to the SP Committee.

One of the conversations I find myself engaging in more frequently now is the benefits sustainable business practices can have on business operations.  In an attempt to speak more logically, I have spent some time researching.  Although I am by no means an expert….yet, the research I have done suggests that the answer to my title question is a resounding YES!

In the fall of 2012, a Canadian consortium of leading sustainability experts, Leapfrog Sustainability, featured on their website, a survey conducted by Accenture, a global management consulting firm.  Over 250 senior business executives worldwide were interviewed to determine the relationship between sustainable business and commercial growth.  The results were staggering.

The definition of sustainability in the survey was “‘a company’s effort to drive profitable growth while achieving a positive economic, social and environmental impact”  Something I have heard many times sitting around the table with the folks from SP.  Overall the survey revealed that 78% of businesses agreed that sustainability is vital to the future growth of their business and 83% viewed spending on sustainable initiatives as an investment rather than a cost.

Bob Willard, a leading expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies, describes in his book “The new Sustainability Advantage” numerous benefits that companies can realize including:

  • Increasing revenue by at least 9%
  • Reducing energy expenses by at least 75%
  • Reducing waste expenses by at least 10%
  • Reducing materials and water expenses by at least 10%
  • Increasing employee productivity by at least 2%
  • Reducing hiring and attrition expenses by at least 25%
  • Reducing strategic and operational risks.

Although I am a relative “newbie” to the whole sustainability value proposition, I can’t ignore those numbers.

On January 17th, 2013, Bob Willard will be coming to the Peterborough Holiday Inn to discuss the Business Case for Sustainability.  He will be joined by a group of local businesses who will participate in a panel discussion about how sustainable business practices have enhanced their operations.  Tickets are available online or by calling Brigid Ayotte at 705-743-0777 ext. 2160

Educate, Motivate, Empower

Sustainable Peterborough launches the Sustainable Business Initiative, Educate, Motivate, Empower.  A program designed to foster sustainable economic activities among our regions small and medium sized businesses.

Kick off event to take place Thursday January 17, 2013 at the Holiday Inn Peterborough, 7:30am-9:30am.  Guest speaker is Bob Willard, author of The Sustainability Advantage – Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line.

Register online at or by calling Brigid Ayotte 705-743-0777 ext. 2160 .

Event sponsored by Cambium Environmental in partnership with Green Business Peterborough, Peterborough Business Advisory Centre and Sustainable Peterborough.

We want your input on our survey about buying local food!

The Peterborough Social Planning Council is conducting this survey to better understand purchasing habits, attitudes and perceptions of local food. The information we gather will be used to help support and direct food policy development locally. It will take only 10 minutes of your time to fill out. Just click on this link to follow the quick and easy steps:  go to

While overall survey results will be made public in a report on food and farming in Peterborough County, your individual responses will be kept in strict confidence.

If you have any questions, please contact Dawn Berry Merriam at .

Please consider forwarding this to 5 to 10 contacts(colleagues, friends, co-workers, family, neighbours) to help us reach our goal of gathering as many responses as possible to reflect our diverse community. 

Dawn Berry Merriam, M.A.,
Research & Policy Analyst,
Peterborough Social Planning Council,
Peterborough Square,
Lower Level,
360 George Street North,
Peterborough, ON,
K9H 7E7
phone: 705-743-5915,
fax: 705-748-6174

Life & Health Sciences Building “Block D”; Earns LEED; Gold Status for Sustainable Design

The special qualities of Block D of the Life & Health Sciences Building may be imperceptible by the students and staff working in the new labs, but for those who know what is behind the walls, the building’s status is golden, at least by the standards of the leading sustainability organization in Canada.

Block D, the most recent construction project on the Trent University campus), has achieved LEED gold status from the Canada Green Building Council, a non-profit, national organization working to advance green building practices in Canada.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and recognizes sustainable designs, practices and operations by offering four levels of certification (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) to projects meeting LEED certification criteria.

On the surface, students, staff and faculty may notice recycling bins, bike racks and showers for cyclists as obvious environmentally-friendly aspects of the new building. Since access to low-impact transportation is a valuable criteria in the LEED requirements, having year-round bus service also gained a point for the project.

But the rest of what earned the project LEED Gold status is everything people won’t see: building materials that were extracted and manufactured within 800 km of the job site, wood used from certified managed forests, and reflective paint used on the roof.

“Trent has a reputation for being green”, says Linda Smith, one of two project managers in the Physical Resources Department, and the one who oversaw the Block D construction from start to finish.

Ms. Smith talked about every aspect of the LEED designation with enthusiasm, not missing the irony that some aspects, like the large cistern installed to collect rainwater, takes us right back to our grandmothers time.  The cistern provides non-potable, or graywater, for flushing toilets; when water levels get low, the system switches to the municipal feed.

Following LEED criteria within the day-to-day building process presented constant challenges. “Construction waste diversion was difficult to manage sometimes,” said Ms. Smith, adding that, “the general contractor had to work with sub-trades on that and did very well. Fifty per cent of waste on site was diverted to recycle, salvage, and an implemented plan.”

According to the CaGBC website, “Buildings generate about 35 per cent all of greenhouse gases, 35 per cent of landfill waste comes from construction and demolition activities, and 80 per cent of all water is consumed in and around buildings”. This is why they are commending Trent University for their commitment to sustainability.

“I would like to congratulate Trent University for certifying their Block D LEED Gold” said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. I’m pleased that the university is committed to providing healthier, more sustainable facilities for its students. Walking the talk is key in preparing future professionals to have an appreciation and  take a leadership role in sustainability.

Managing the project from start to finish, Ms. Smith had to balance the input of many stakeholders, advisors, and consultants, from staff and faculty to engineers, architects and designers.

“We had a wonderful team here and everyone worked together”, she said.

That team can be credited with finishing on time and on budget, but the best news came when Ms. Smith was notified in October 2012 that the original goal of LEED Silver accreditation had been surpassed, and that they would instead be awarded LEED Gold certification.

Construction of the approximately 50,000 square feet building was funded by a $10.8-million contribution from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) and $9.9 million from the province of Ontario.

Block D of the Life and Health Sciences Building is only the second LEED Gold certified building in Peterborough. It is home to Trent University’s Department of Biology.