Latest News

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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Faces of SWR – Kelly McMath

Kelly McMath is a long-time volunteer on the SWR PR team. In fact, when SWR was in its younger years, Kelly was the PR Manager, but now serves as a PR Generalist. When she started, Kelly was new to Waterloo Region and was looking for a way to develop her communications and networking skills while […]

Shad Valley Entrepreneurship Program a guiding force, then and now

Ten years ago I had the opportunity to spend a month at Lakehead University facing science, technology, engineering, math and entrepreneurial challenges as a 2004 Shad. On Oct 23rd, memories of that month flooded back as I joined SWR staff and volunteer colleagues at the 2014 Shad Valley Entrepreneurship Cup to present a group of 2014 Shads with […]

A Big Thank You to our Volunteers

This week has been National Volunteer Week, and we here at Sustainable Waterloo Region want to send out an extra special thank you to the amazing volunteer team that is the foundation of our organization. We recently did a volunteer satisfaction survey and were thrilled to see that 87% of our volunteers are very proud […]

Change is Good

Evolutionary theory has taught us that it is not the strong that survive, rather it is those that can adapt best to their environment that survive and thrive! As a true lover of change, my faith in this tenet has been tested in the past few weeks, and has remained strong. I have now finished […]

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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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To Pay or Not to Pay? Probably both.

I was following a conversation on Twitter a couple of weeks ago between passionate Waterloo Region advocates, James Howe and Jason Shim. A discussion had sparked about whether an organization could rely on pro bono work and volunteers to drive their communications strategy, or whether consistent, quality communications are best left to paid professionals. Paid […]

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The Moving Diaries

In September 2011, 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 half very formative years of the organization, the team is excited to make the move to the vibrant, creative and collaborative space that is the Tannery District. […]

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Organizational Culture – on a Budget!

Earlier this summer, some friends of Sustainable Waterloo Region nominated us for the prestigious Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures award, presented by Waterstone Human Capital. It was a challenge for us to decide whether or not to go ahead with this application, particularly because, although we pride ourselves on our organizational culture, as a […]

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A Change of Heart

When we started discussing the possibility of a Sustainable Waterloo Region team blog a few months ago, I was more than a little sceptical. After having suffered under the weight of maintaining a blog for several months in early 2009 – while under some acute time pressure to lead the team towards launching the Regional Carbon Initiative before the summer of that year – I knew of how a blog can quickly become “that-thing-you-know-you-should-do-but-always-have-something-more-important-on-the-list”. On top of this, I’m keenly aware of the excess of blogs already at all of our fingertips, the reality that this growth is sputtering in lieu of other social media tools, and the simple truth that without relevancy and crisp insight, there is little point to even starting.

But over the past few months, not only have I been convinced (a) that this is a valuable addition to how our team communicates with the community and (b) that this will directly help us achieve our mission, but I’m even more importantly, I’m genuinely excited about being a part of it.

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Welcome!

It’s finally here! I’d like to welcome you to Sustainable Waterloo Region’s most recent contribution to the world of social media – our Team Blog. Having dedicated months to putting together the business plan and getting everything in place along with the incredible and immeasurable help of CuteGecko, to say I’m excited to see this […]