Tag Archives: sustainable business practices

Peterborough Rocks!

The Peterborough region has many economic strengths to brag about. Our close tie to our many lakes and rivers ensure our region is a magnet for tourists. Industries such as General Electric and Quaker are doing well, providing jobs and spurring the local economy, and we have an ever-growing small business community and vibrant downtown.

Businesses large and small are key to the growth of any region, and we in Peterborough are fortunate to have a solid business community.

Our business community is also very forward thinking, which adds to its continued success. When it comes to taking the environment into consideration in day-to-day operations, there are countless examples of local businesses that have stepped up to the plate, serving as positive examples for others.

Examples include Kawartha Chrysler Dodge Jeep Fiat, East Side Mario’s and Merrett Home Hardware who all upgraded their lighting and are now using significantly less energy because of it. One of the largest and most recognizable faces of the retail business community, Lansdowne Place, has worked hard to achieve environmental excellence. They’ve done everything from sending away organic waste for composting to installing a weather-based smart irrigation system to control water usage outside.

To further help businesses go green, Sustainable Peterborough in partnership with the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation and the Green Business Peterborough program are launching the Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI).

The SBI is designed to foster sustainable economic activities among our region’s small and medium sized businesses and aims to educate, motivate and empower local businesses.

The SBI kick-off event will embrace the compelling case for sustainability with guest speaker Bob Willard author of The Sustainability Advantage- Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line. Mr. Willard is a leading expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies and has given hundreds of keynote presentations to corporate, government, university, and NGO audiences. Mr. Willard applies his business and leadership experience from his 34-year career at IBM Canada to engage the business community in proactively avoiding risks and capturing opportunities associated with environmental and social issues.

Mr. Willard identifies three ways to frame the business case for sustainability: improved profit, high return on investment (ROI), and higher share price/market valuation.

Sustainability has become the new buzzword similar to green business. However, as Mr. Willard notes, the success of any corporate sustainability initiative needs to revolve around more than just what is socially correct.  In short, it needs to measure up financially, demonstrating it will increase profit, provide a higher more aggressive return on investment and, for publicly traded companies, must improve share value.

As a business leader with IBM Canada, Mr. Willard actively engages the business community to be proactive in capturing opportunities associated with environmental and social issues.

The SBI is supported by local small and medium size business, those who can speak firsthand about the compelling case for adopting sustainable practices.  Some of these local sustainability champions will participate in a panel discussion at the event on January 17th.  This intriguing perceptive will provide justification for embracing sustainability strategies within our local region.

Since September 2012, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and GreenUP have been running a program for local businesses that supports the SBI. Called Green Business Peterborough, the program recognizes and encourages businesses to formulate goals and a plan of action that will help move businesses down the path to environmental sustainability.

The Green Business Peterborough program will help local organizations, discover how becoming more environmentally sustainable can bring many lasting benefits.  This program will help to identify incentives, opportunities, resources and create a network within Peterborough of mentors and testimonials; further making the case for businesses to embrace sustainability as a corporate practice that leads to success.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sustainable Business Initiative, be sure to attend the kick off event on Thursday, January 17th at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough.  The event runs 7:30 to 9:30 am and includes a local continental breakfast. The registration fee is $10. Those interested in attending can register online at http://businesscaseforsustainability.eventbrite.com/ or contact Brigid Ayotte 705-743-0777 ext 2160 or by email at ..

This blog appears courtesy of Peterborough Green-Up.

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

Greening your Business through Energy Conservation

This morning a number of local businesses were brought together by a joint initiative between the Peterborough Business Advisory Centre and Sustainable Peterborough.  The group gathered at the GPA EDC to hear David Whitehouse, Director Corporate & Customer Services/Conservation Officer of Peterborough Utilities and Alex Mortlock from Green Business Peterborough speak about a number of cost saving programs and incentives for small businesses.

Whitehouse spoke to the group on the Small Business Lighting, Retrofit and Peaksaver plus programs.

The Small Business Lighting program provides qualifying businesses up to $1,000 worth of energy efficient lighting and equipment upgrades as well as access to further incentives.  PDI supplies, installs, cleans up and recycles – making it easier for the business owner.  For more information on eligibility visit the saveONenergy website.

The Retrofit program addresses the capital costs associated with investing and participating in a retrofit program. With the Retrofit program businesses can instal energy efficient measures and earn up to 50% of their project costs.  There are a number of financial incentives available to businesses who replace existing equipment and installing new control systems that will improve efficiency of operations.

The program offers three Tracks to conservation,

  • prescriptive
  • engineered
  • custom.

Prescriptive provides you with the ease of selecting from a defined list of end-use measures with a corresponding per/unit incentive, while the engineered track provides a series of preset calculations worksheets that help you estimate reductions in peak demand and/or electricity consumption that apply to the installation of more energy -efficient equipment or solutions.

For those more complex or innovative solutions, not covered in the previously mentioned tracks. there is the custom track.  The custom track evaluates demand and energy performance on technology, equipment and system improvements. Incentives are paid after installation and once the savings have been measured and verified.

Whitehouse noted that the benefits of these programs are that the reduce operating costs, energy, increase occupant comfort and productivity and adds value to property or asset. Many retrofits pay for themselves in under 2 years which represents pure profit to the business.

Alex Mortlock, from Peterborough GreenUp spoke to the group about a recent program launched through Peterborough GreenUp and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce called Green Business Peterborough. The program will recognize businesses that have pledged or have implemented strategies for waste reduction, energy conservation and/or any form of sustainable business practices.

There are a host of incentives for business owners to become part of the Green Business Program:

  • Recognition on the Green Business Peterborough website
  • Recognition on the Chamber of Commerce website
  • Recognition on the Peterborough GreenUp website
  • Press coverage, promotional events and special recognition
  • Window decals, certificates and promotional materials for your business
  • Green Business Peterborough logo to use in your advertising

This session was the first of a number of sessions being held over the next year to promote sustainable business practices. They fulfill a mandate set forward by Sustainable Peterborough’s Plan for Economic Development in that it provides the business community with concrete tools from which to build or transition to sustainable business practices.

Keep coming back to our website for more information on how you can save through energy conservation!

How Sustainability Can Save Business – Jim Harris Huffington Post

Jim Harris, an international bestselling author and management consultant is doing a series of weekly columns with Tyler Elm, on how sustainability as a business strategy can cut cost, raise revenue and mitigate risk for business.

In this particular feature, Harris highlights how sustainability can prompt “both incremental and radical improvements in operations while managing risk”.  Harris used Canadian Tire as an example noting that in a two year period sustainability initiatives saved the Corporation approximately $10.7 million in annual avoided costs; 215,000 gigajoules (GJ) of energy (enough to power more than 2,000 homes for a year); 14,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and more than 6,600 pounds of waste.

Over the next few months, Sustainable Peterborough, together with numerous partners, will be hosting a series of seminars focused on how sustainability can save your business.  Stay tuned!

Read the article by Jim Harris and Tyler Elm!