On Thursday, April 12 the Sustainable Waterloo Region team proudly launched our 2011 Report at the 3rd Annual Evening of Recognition. The theme of this year’s report is Celebrating People of Action and as I stood in the ballroom at the Waterloo Inn, surrounded by hundreds of people who work every day to make our region more environmentally sustainable, I found I was overwhelmed with pride, gratitude and humility. Every person in that room has been doing amazing work to improve the environmental sustainability of both our region and our economy.
It was humbling to be standing shoulder to shoulder with the people who are on the ground and in the trenches, slogging through pages and pages of data to find opportunities to save, working with green teams to find solutions and ways to take their environmental sustainability to the next level. Their focus is on their organization and how their organization can make an impact, but the real success is the collective impact those individuals are having – of 41 RCI member organizations, 10 have committed to reduce their GHG emissions by 42,550 tonnes, the equivalent of removing 9,552 cars off the road. From installing roof top solar panels to lighting retrofits to building automation systems to sustainable procurement practices, RCI members are engaged, they’re working, and they’re sharing their ideas with one another, helping to propel Waterloo Region to the forefront of Canadian communities committed to a more environmental sustainable economy. You can read about the work these organizations are doing by reading our 2011 Report here.
One of the key results we saw come out of the 2011 Report was the importance of green teams. These green teams are a diverse group of employees responsible for meeting and operationalizing an organization’s sustainability objectives and in 2011, 75 percent of all RCI member projects were done with a green team, up from 35 percent in 2010. As I reflected on the highlights of the Evening of Recognition, I realized that Sustainable Waterloo Region has its own “green team” – the staff, coops, and volunteers at Sustainable Waterloo Region who worked tirelessly in the back ground to help make the 2011 Report and the Evening of Recognition such an amazing success.
What an honour to be able to work with this amazing team of young professionals. From brainstorming the report, to researching and writing content, to shooting videos, to developing marketing and PR materials, to stuffing envelopes and sorting name tags, the success of both the 2011 Report and the Evening of Recognition is a true testament to the power of teamwork. Planning for the report and the event began months ago, and in the weeks leading up to the event it was not unusual to see groups of people, heads down and focused on their work, often late into the night. In spite of the stress that accompanies deadlines and event planning, the team remained cheerful and optimistic. The high-fives continued, as did the laughter and positivity. It was that encouragement, that collaboration, that collective determination to create the best possible 2011 Report and to execute the best Evening of Recognition to date, that helped every one of us persevere when all we really wanted was a nap.
To the people in the trenches, the people who are doing the work, the teams who are tirelessly collaborating to find solutions that willhelp us realize a more environmentally sustainable economy, thank you. I can’t wait to see where your efforts will take us in 2012.