On June 16th 2009, Sustainable Waterloo Region officially launched its flagship program, the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI). The launch event celebrated the organization’s first three Pledging Partners, which has since grown to a membership of over 60 organizations. In 2015, Veriform was one of three organizations to reach their carbon reduction target, and the first member to become carbon neutral, making them the RCI’s first ever alumni. The RCI has had a great deal of success, with impressive commitments from members to reduce their environmental impact. Despite that success, the program has also faced numerous challenges.
  • Some RCI members are stuck as an Observing Organization because they are in a leased space and can’t make big changes to the infrastructure of their office and often cannot measure their individual carbon footprint
  • Other organizations, such as startups, don’t yet have a carbon footprint, making it impossible to set a reduction target.
  • There are still others for whom, carbon isn’t their biggest impact. For these members, setting a carbon target is not relevant, yet other measurable targets would be.
Sustainable Waterloo Region realized that to have the greatest impact, sustainability has to be more accessible and has to include more than carbon reduction targets. In the new Regional Sustainability Initiative, members will also be able to set waste and water reduction targets, creating a more holistic approach to sustainability. Sustainable Waterloo Region has also partnered with B Corp for additional support. This partnership allowed Sustainable Waterloo Region to incorporate the E-Score, which also considers things like business policies and processes. The program will continue to help organizations that want to focus on carbon reduction, but it can also help a wider range of organizations that were not able to participate fully in the RCI. Between now and the official Regional Sustainability Initiative launch event next week, blogs will be posted outlining some of the program highlights and changes. Follow along to learn more! Talk to you soon, Sustainable Waterloo Region