Sustainable Waterloo Region is founded on the idea of there being a business case for sustainability. We know that organizations will only make a lasting change in their impact on the environment if it is good for their business. All our programs and community-based projects that we undertake are designed with this important underpinning. By focusing on the benefit of sustainability to an organization, we drive a culture change that creates a stronger connection to environmental change. Over my three years at SWR I have seen that there are a number of ways that leaders and their organizations benefit from a time and resource investment which reduces their impact on the environment. A recent article in the Globe and Mail talked all about the benefits of building retrofits. This great article showcases the benefits and impacts of renovations and management for existing buildings. It strongly reinforces the Regional Sustainability Initiative program and the supports that it offers to organizations including: best practices, learning events, networking, benchmarking and measurement tools, and one on one support. If you are not a member of the Regional Sustainability Initiative, check it out. We can help you reap the benefits of sustainability in your building and your business. In my three years at SWR, I have seen trends emerge in how businesses can benefit from action on environmental sustainability. These include: Operating costs More efficient buildings cost less to operate and maintain. It thereby offers a good return on investment for retrofits and renovations. Using less energy also means reducing carbon footprint, water footprint and more. As outlined in the article, there are often incentives and subsidies available to further support the transition and increase the ROI of projects. Risk mitigation As we are all aware, cap and trade is here, and energy costs are on the rise. One of the best ways for every organization to manage this risk is to use less energy and generate less carbon impact. For many organizations, this could also become a financial benefit in the cap and trade market. If capped organizations use less than their allotment, these credits can be sold to their financial gain. Green branding B2B and B2C organizations alike benefit from a “greener brand” in many ways. It is becoming expected that a business be considering its impact now and in the future. Participating in programs such as TravelWise and the Regional Sustainability Initiative can show this commitment. Furthermore, these programs avoid greenwashing by offering publicly reported and measured impact. For other organizations, installing electric vehicle charging stations, or integrating them into their fleet makes a visible and public declaration of their commitment to the environment. Employee retention and attraction Organizations are striving to find the bright young minds that will lead their business into the future, those bright young minds want to work in places that are aligned with their core values. Just as buildings that are more sustainable are “stickier” and “happier” (as indicated in the article), so too are organizations. Employees feel valued, connected, and more loyal to those that model the beliefs that matter to them. Plus, green teams can be great places to foster leadership in the up and coming. If you are a building owner, please take the time to read this article. It is an enlightening look into one retrofit project and the rationale behind it. If you are a member of the Regional Sustainability Initiative, let’s talk about how you can make further change and inspire others too. If you are not a member of any of our programs, let’s talk about how we can help you reap the benefits of sustainability.