ClimateSmart: Redux - a ongoing journey

Aug 04, 2011 | All Blog Posts

This week we were happy to graduate from our 2nd ClimateSmart session!  We first completed ClimateSmart in 2007 when the program was initially launched, however this time we wanted to take a more ambitious approach to calculating our carbon inventory. We were also excited to see how some of the commitments that resulted from our earlier participation had turned out.

The ClimateSmart workshop consists of 3 half-day sessions and some homework on your company energy bills. The goal is to calculate how much green house gas (GHG) your company generates, then learn creative ways to make your organization more resilient by reducing your emissions. This session was particularly fun because there were some great companies there with us, including Saul Good, Fairware, Van Houtte, and Albion Fisheries.  The classes passed quickly as we shared stories of our successes and challenges and how we approach generating value from reducing our carbon footprints.  

I really like how the program helps companies look at their businesses from an energy perspective - we’ve found that this has lead us to some creative insights and serious cost savings....and we're not the only ones.

This time around, we found that our carbon reduction efforts from 2007 had really started to pay off. We found that we had reduced our overall footprint from 31.94 tonnes in 2007 to 27.04 tonnes in 2010....a net reduction of nearly 15%! This is significant because in 2010 we also increased our Scope 3 calculations to include all outbound shipments as we hadn’t included this in 2007. The chart below outlines what we know about ourselves and we’re looking for meaningful metrics to incorporate.  Maybe it will be tonnes of C02 produced per $10k of revenue, or tonnes per award. 

The more data we have available, the more we can predict patterns, so as part of our ongoing commitment, we are going to be tracking our GHG data and water usage on a quarterly basis instead of annually.  We're simply building it in to our regular bookkeeping. 

Towards the end of ClimateSmart, we reviewed the goals we had written earlier for 2007-2012.  Some we had completed, some we hadn’t yet.  Some had had tremendous impact, others hadn't.  And 2012 is only a year away, then what happens beyond that?  So we brainstormed some ideas for future plans:

  • Research rooftop solar panels powered or wind turbine system to power festive night lights. **update: we installed our rooftop solar panel system in 2019!
  • Measure and track electricity and gas consumption on a monthly basis with a view to reduction
  • Measure and track water consumption
  • Gather baseline information
  • Purchase energy star appliances or better for equipment that needs replacing
  • Developing new eco-friendly awards & trophies with local suppliers
  • Continue moving our company to the cloud to reduce our hardware requirements
  • Collaborative consumption
  • "Watts Up" Campaign: measure and track energy and cost savings from turning off office equipment
  • Encourage computer shut down at night and on the weekends
  • Better maintenance of equipment for higher and cleaner performance
  • Build an office worm composter to manage organic waste and create food for office plants
  • Educate staff on how to use Strathcona BIA Resource Exchange, and encourage use
  • Participating in the Strathcona BIA Zero Waste Challenge
  • Making a new "Brown Bag Award" for the person who eats in for lunch the most (reducing travel miles)

Do you have other ideas we might try?  We'll see how these play out in the years ahead.  Like so many things, our GHG inventory is an ongoing journey and one that helps us look at business in new ways.  Whatever happens, I'm sure it's going to be interesting.  But by reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible, we help decrease the carbon footprint of clients that choose us as their partner.

What is your organization doing to reduce your footprint?  Our green awards can help keep your footprint as low possible.  If you have any tips or ideas, share them here!