(Waterloo Region, ON) April 11, 2012 – Green teams are proving to be the catalyst to creating environmentally sustainable change in organizations across Waterloo Region.

Sustainable Waterloo Region’s 2011 Report, being released on Thursday, April 12, reveals that Waterloo Region organizations are making commitments to reduce their GHG emissions, they are focused on strategically achieving their goals by creating action plans for these commitments, and projects being implemented are primarily led by green teams. Green teams are a diverse group of employees responsible for meeting and operationalizing an organization’s sustainability objectives.  “It’s the people behind these action plans who are driving the results,” says Mike Morrice, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region.

Taking action

A great example of people driving success comes out of Wilfrid Laurier University. Claire Bennett, Wilfrid Laurier’s Sustainability Coordinator, was brought onboard to help ensure that Laurier’s Sustainability policy would have steady funding and make real progress towards change. Her efforts allowed her to finish the Sustainability Action Plan, which addresses a number of items including the Sustainable Design, Open Space, and Building Material Reclamation Guidelines for all new construction and renovation operations across campus and involves a variety of improvements to education, operations, and community partnerships. The Plan details a timeline of goals and related action items, with the overall target of reducing GHG emissions by 15 percent to be achieved over a five-year period and includes actions such as diverting more than 60 percent of their waste, and using refill stations to make the campus free of bottled water.

“Having funds and commitment behind us has helped set us on the road to sustainable change at Wilfrid Laurier,” says Claire. “Through our green team, the Sustainable Campuses Committee, we’re building a culture of students, faculty, and staff who are taking action and challenging each other to find greater and more impactful ways to reduce our energy consumption all over campus, including residences and the local community. It’s collective action and commitment that will make the biggest difference in our success.”

Key highlights of the 2011 Report

Sustainable Waterloo Region’s 3rd year-end report celebrates the achievements and commitments of organizations across Waterloo Region that are taking measurable action to advance our community towards a more environmentally sustainable future. The theme of the 2011 Report is people of action, which highlights the success driven by people committed to creating environmentally sustainable change in their organizations.

Some key highlights of the 2011 Report include:
  • Membership in Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI) grew to 41 organizations in 2011 from 29 in 2010. Of that 41, 10 have committed to reduce their GHG emissions by 42,550 tonnes, which is the equivalent of taking 9,552 cars off the road.
  • In 2011, 75 percent of all RCI member projects were done with a green team, up from 35 percent in 2010.
  • 30 percent of RCI members have a measurable action plan already in place to reduce GHG emissions – almost 3.5 times higher than 2010.
  • RCI members with Green Teams are 21 percent more likely to have a measurable action plan for success.

Report being released at the 3rd Annual Evening of Recognition

Sustainable Waterloo Region’s 2011 Report, Celebrating People of Action, will be officially released on April 12, 2012 at the 3rd Annual Evening of Recognition. Members of the media are invited to join hundreds of sustainability leaders from across our community as they come together to celebrate the accomplishments of Regional Carbon Initiative members and the collective progress that Waterloo Region organizations are making towards sustainability.

Sharing their stories of inspiration and success at the event are:

  • Diane Stanley-Horn, Athena Software
  • Councillor Berry Vrbanovic, City of Kitchener • Roger Farwell & Elena Wiersma, WalterFedy
  • John Neufeld & Colin MacIntosh, House of Friendship

When:     Thursday, April 12, 2012
Time:     5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where:   The Waterloo Inn, 475 King Street North, Waterloo (map) 
Cost:       This event is free, registration is required. Visit www.sustainablewaterlooregion.ca/register or contact helena.kwiecinski@sustainablewr.ca.

An advance digital copy of the 2011 Report can be previewed by media at www.swr.ca/2011Report-media. Sustainable Waterloo Region asks that the report content be kept confidential until 4:00 p.m. on April 12, 2012.

About Sustainable Waterloo Region

Sustainable Waterloo Region advances the environmental sustainability of organizations across Waterloo Region through collaboration. Sustainable Waterloo Region’s flagship program is the Regional Carbon Initiative, which facilitates voluntary target-setting and reductions of carbon emissions by organizations across Waterloo Region.