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Township of Wilmot Featured in Case Study
Township of Wilmot Featured in Case Study
Having been a member of the Regional Sustainability Initiative since 2015, the Township of Wilmot has become the first township in Waterloo Region to set a public greenhouse gas reduction target. They are working towards reducing their emissions by 25% using 2012 as their baseline. Some of their projects are already showing successful savings in both cost and energy usage. Check out their case study to learn more ...
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Change Management and Sustainability
Change Management and Sustainability
On June 13th, professionals gathered at the Walper Hotel in Kitchener for a Change Management and Sustainability event, where change management practice, tools, and how to apply them were discussed. Matthew Day, Manager of SWR’s Regional Sustainability Initiative, opened the event with a brief overview of Regional Sustainability Initiative’s end-of-year member survey. The top three goals across all members were: reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reducing energy use, and increasing employee engagement. The goal of employee engagement stuck out because many members expressed a desire for ...
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Event Recap – It’s All About the Numbers
Event Recap – It’s All About the Numbers
On May 22nd 2018, Paul Rak (President and founder of Cambridge-based VeriForm Inc.) made the business case for implementing low-technology sustainability initiatives into everyday business operations. The event took place at Waterloo North Hydro and was attended by an assortment of professionals looking to learn how to optimize sustainability, efficiency, and cost-savings in their operations. Rak began by giving an overview of the company, when they started their journey towards sustainability, and the results the company has achieved since. VeriForm is a metal fabricating company which specia ...
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Evening of Recognition 2018 Recap
Evening of Recognition 2018 Recap
Thursday, April 12 was a big day for Sustainable Waterloo Region and the many program participants and volunteers who help make everything we do such a success. On April 12, we celebrated our 9th Evening of Recognition. The Turret at Wilfrid Laurier University was standing room only as sustainability leaders gathered to celebrate their successes and achievements, swap stories, and share learnings. That the event was held at Laurier was particularly meaningful; for 10 years, Wilfrid Laurier University has played a critical role in helping SWR and all Regional Sustainability Initiative members a ...
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10 ways our volunteers ROCK!
10 ways our volunteers ROCK!
Over the four years that I have been at Sustainable Waterloo Region, I have been repeatedly amazed and touched with the kinds of time and talent that are shared in this community to work together for the creation of a shared vision of the future. From students to community leadership, the volunteers at SWR are incredible. I could try to articulate all the things that people have done, but my memory is, as many of you have heard me say” like a steel sieve”, so I would rather share the top 10 ways that volunteers make all of us at SWR so very grateful. Professional expertise. Many of our volunt ...
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Volunteers Support Professional Development
Volunteers Support Professional Development
I’ve been a member of the SWR team for a long time, starting as a volunteer back in 2008. The volunteer structure at SWR is very close to my heart. Over the years, I’ve seen the power of this model and what it’s done for the organization, helping us to reach higher and do more, with limited financial resources. I’ve also seen the valuable and transferable work experience that volunteers have gained from being part of the SWR team. Recently, in the last year and a half, I’ve come to truly appreciate a new layer that’s been added to the model. To set the context, historically our Human Resources ...
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Thank you to all the Green Team volunteers
Thank you to all the Green Team volunteers
What many folks might not realize about sustainability-focused efforts is that not all organizations have the capacity to have a designated role for this. On many occasions, it is the voluntary work of one or handful of employees who are passionate about the environment. The effort to pull together a green team, engage the whole organization, integrate sustainability awareness, report on energy consumption and waste diversion – these tasks are completed alongside their primary role but with equal amounts of enthusiasm. This is why at the Regional Sustainability Initiative, we refer to them as ...
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5+ Years’ of Volunteerism and Counting!
5+ Years’ of Volunteerism and Counting!
Sustainable Waterloo Region’s greatest resource is our people. We are able to accomplish SWR’s great work with a committed team of volunteers and a small staff driven by a shared passion to achieve an environmentally sustainable Waterloo Region for current and future generations. Fueled by this passion, our volunteers join us for any number of reasons; from gaining meaningful work experience, to expanding professional networks, connecting with other like-minded individuals, or contributing their professional expertise to improve their local community. Our volunteer base is dynamic: as we welco ...
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Exciting News! What are you Doing January 16?

I was driving home from the Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI)’s launch event, in January 2011, when I first fully came to grips with an important realization: while the past year of coaching NSI had been rewarding and exciting, it couldn’t continue on in such an ad-hoc way. At the time, I blogged about it here. This then […]

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After a year of planning, clarity: we convert sustainability interest into action

At the most recent SWR Board meeting we supported a motion for full partnership with the Region of Waterloo’s TravelWise program, as it moves beyond its two year pilot and expands on its mandate. TravelWise will continue to provide incentives to employers to support their efforts to reduce the number of people driving alone to […]

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365 days and counting

How much can happen in a year? Relationships can build and fall apart. New skills can take shape, old ones can be perfected, and houses can be bought or sold. You move jobs, you make new connections, and you visit new places. You learn how to embrace self-reflection, you find a new mentor, and you […]

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With Excitement for What Comes Next

As a board at Sustainable Waterloo Region, we’ve been talking about my transition for over 2 years now. Why? I blame it on Evan Di Valentino. Evan was the first one to ask me to share the SWR business plan, so that he could bring a program modelled after the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI) to […]

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Where to Next? SWR Embarks on Strategic Planning

“We’re undertaking a strategic planning process.” How many of you just groaned or rolled your eyes? Have you ever been involved in a “strategic planning” process that was lacking in real purpose, or seemed to be about chasing funding, or about nothing more than saying it’s done? If you’ve ever had anything to do with Sustainable Waterloo […]

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Community Engagement in the Online Era

As I try to imagine what community consultation might have looked like a few decades ago, tools that come to mind include: telephone trees, posted letters, print advertising, type-written statements, and town-hall meetings to inform and engage community members. Many of these same tools are still in use today, but they are quickly being offset […]

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Reaching a Tipping Point: What 60 Members Mean, and Why it Can Be Replicated

This month, Sustainable Waterloo Region reached a milestone, announcing its 60th member of the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI). When we launched the RCI in June 2009, 60 members seemed well out of reach with only 3 members in what was still very much just an idea. However, these ambitious and visionary first members – VeriForm […]

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Last December, I vividly remember walking into the SWR office (unit 430C in the Tannery building at the time) the morning after some sneaky ‘elves’ had decorated for the holidays. I remember I was getting in early on a Monday morning, in a now-familiar effort to get ahead of the week. I remember it was […]

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A Delicate Balance

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with an SWR team member, and we were just ending a somewhat emotional conversation. Before we hung up, this team member reminded me, provocatively and with exasperation: “Mike, you need to let me and my team make mistakes, so that we can learn from them ourselves.” […]

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Coming Home

It was August 2010 when I left the Events Manager staff position at Sustainable Waterloo Region. Having volunteered and worked here since the organization’s start, it was truly heartbreaking to leave, but I had my mind set on entering the world of teaching. For that reason, September saw me start at the WLU Faculty of […]

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