Conestoga MallWith lots of activity in the last few months, Sustainable Waterloo Region has grown its membership (most importantly, intention by organizations in the region to commit to the reduction of GHG emissions).  At a grassroots level, Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI) members work to reduce their environmental impact, but also find cost savings associated with energy usage, heating, and travel.

The RCI’s newest member, Conestoga Mall a property of Ivanhoé Cambridge, is a unique organization in terms of their commitment to sustainability, whereby the public space – washrooms, food court, parking lot, and waste removal, for example, are areas that Conestoga Mall is responsible for.  They are also making incredible strides to reduce their impact, and educate shoppers.  To date, Conestoga Mall has installed a hydration station for visitors, reduced energy usage by keeping lights turned off and using natural light through skylights in the food court, placed a plug-in charger for electric vehicles, and focused on diverting waste to landfill through clearly marked recycling, compost, and garbage bins, among many other initiatives.  Craig Walsh, Operations Manager, has headed these initiatives – and they have put out a YouTube video of their efforts to date.

In thinking about the mall’s unique situation, there is a distinction to be made between the general space and its retail stores in the mall.  As a member of the RCI, Conestoga Mall will account for public space, while this does not include the individual stores.  This is different from some of the RCI’s current members, as each organization accounts for their total space. But I think this is an exciting opportunity as Conestoga Mall sets a strong example for the stores that operate within.

As Conestoga Mall moves forward in their membership, and in their commitment to sustainability, they will continue to find energy and cost savings, with the potential to influence the individual stores under its roof.  SWR is thrilled to welcome Conestoga Mall as its newest member – they come to the RCI with many sustainable initiatives already under their (green) belt.