The idea for Sustainable Waterloo Region came from two undergraduate research projects completed by Mike Morrice and Chris DePaul, under the guidance of Dr. Barry Colbert at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business & Economics. Their research focused on the business implications of imminent carbon pricing mechanisms and the viability of establishing a not-for-profit in Waterloo Region that would help organizations achieve carbon reductions through collaboration and education.

Inspiration was found in the business model and success of Sustainable Silicon Valley and CivicAction (formerly the Toronto City Summit Alliance). And in July 2008, Sustainable Waterloo Region incorporated as a not-for-profit with a vision towards a thriving Waterloo Region with a healthy environment and a vibrant economy. Sustainable Waterloo Region hosted its first Educational Forum in January 2009 with over 200 people in attendance, confirming community-wide interest in GHG reductions and support of the organization.

Launch of the Regional Carbon Initiative

Sustainable Waterloo Region’s next goal was to launch the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI). To achieve this goal a partnership was formed with e3 Solutions Inc to provide future RCI members with a carbon reporting tool, two community Working Groups were formed to establish the RCI carbon reduction framework, additional staff were hired, and a team of 20 volunteers emerged.

On June 16th 2009, Sustainable Waterloo Region held its Regional Carbon Initiative Launch Event, with well over 200 local supporters in attendance. The organization announced the first three Pledging Partners of the RCI and the publication of the Guide to the Regional Carbon Initiative, which details the official reduction framework, reporting procedure, and GHG accounting methodology used by all RCI Pledging Partners.

A New Name, A Fresh Look and A New Home

In September 2011, Sustainable Waterloo Region underwent a significant change when it updated its name, brand and office space. At the start of the annual event season Sustainable Waterloo launched its new name: Sustainable Waterloo Region. This name was chosen to better reflect the regional element of the organization’s mission and the geographical diversity of Regional Carbon Initiative members.  To accompany the name change, the organization shed the “squiggle” in exchange for a logo that better communicates inclusivity and holistic sustainability.

At the same time, Sustainable Waterloo Region’s office moved from its cherished Uptown Waterloo location. While sad to say goodbye to the office that saw the first two and a half very formative years of the organization, the team was excited to make the move to the vibrant, creative and collaborative space that is the Tannery District.

Where We Are

Today, Sustainable Waterloo Region is continuing to grow our impact through the Regional Carbon Initiative, ClimateActionWR, and TravelWise. To find out where we’re going, visit our Strategic Plan page.