United Way Kitchener Waterloo & Area

Observing Organization

United Way Kitchener Waterloo & Area logo

Reduction commitment: Observing Organization in Milestone 2

Business Type: Not-For-Profit / Charity

United Way KW mobilizes dollars, people and other resources to change community conditions for the better.  They the largest funder of social service programs outside of government, and annual workplace campaigns – together with other fundraising efforts, are an integral component of their success.

United Way KW is a catalyst for social change, targeting the source of local challenges to fix problems at the root. Through a proactive business model, United Way KW is working strategically to address the community’s needs on a long term basis.

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Notable GHG Reduction and Sustainability Projects:


Commuter Challenge: Employees participated in the commuter challenge for another year and the United Way KW was able to earn a first place finish.

2015 Carbon Cleanse: United Way KW was an active participant in the 20-day carbon cleanse. United Way KW was one of four organizations to max out their total score. As a result, United Way KW tied for first place and was awarded the Carbon Trophy.


Earth Day & Earth Week Events: Conducted a week long passport challenge for staff participation in fun and educational activities. The biggest challenge for staff was ‘No Waste Day’, whether its food, paper cups or water bottles, staff were encouraged to reduce or recycle for 1 day by putting nothing in the garbage.

Commuter Challenge: Employees participated in fun educational challenges aimed to increase awareness of green alternate methods of commuting. United Way KW achieved 2nd place with 18 of 22 employees registering and 15 actively logging their commute. 1225 total kilometers were traveled with 933.4 calories burned and 66.978 liters of fuel saved and 143.75 kilograms of C02 avoided.

Tonner & Cell Phone Recycling Initiative: United Way KW has partnered with ThinkRecycle maintaining a recycling program for all Marsland Centre tenants. Collection of empty toner/ink cartridges as well as discarded cell phones, iPads/iPod, or laptops ensures reuse and proper disposal of these items.


Waste Diversion: Installed an organic waste bin in the kitchen.

20 Minute Makeover: All employees participated in waste cleanup of downtown Waterloo.


Employeee Engagement: Led by their Green Team, they’ve held advocacy initiatives like Sweater Day and promote their successful initiatives to other small office green teams in the community.

Business Travel: Joined CarShare to reduce travel impacts.


Sustainability Culture:

United Way KW believes that being green is not a onetime event but an ongoing commitment. They have been able to achieve this by providing ongoing green events (almost monthly) and ensuring it’s a component of all committees. Social and Health & Safety all have potential for featuring something that is green. Education and active participation ensures that staff are always thinking green.

United Way’s Green Team is continually growing and is a standing agenda item for all staff meetings in order to provide updates and information. Here are some of their initiatives:

  • Provided staff with reusable mugs
  • Had 100% participation in “turn your monitor off” campaign
  • Implemented reusable cutlery and dishes for board and other meetings
  • Sweater day
  • Member of Carshare
  • Green Team exchange
  • Sustainability is imbedded in the strategic plan
  • “Green” component of the purchasing policy

Although staff has a high level of green commitment it is only at varying levels. United Ways KW Green Team understands this and is continually looking for ways to ensure all staff are engaged in events.


“Being green for some is something you can throw money at and feel you have done your part. At United Way KW we believe the opposite, it’s about ongoing dedication, a real belief in wanting to make a difference and in the sharing of those successes.”

Procurement Policy: United Way KW focuses on green initiatives. For example, when it comes to furniture purchasing new is not the way to go. United Way KW believes in the 3R’s and reuse of slightly used furniture fits with their green beliefs and Procurement Policy.


United Way

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uwaykw/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UnitedWayKW

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/united-way-kitchener-waterloo-&-area