The Regional Sustainability Initiative is a program of Sustainable Waterloo Region that fosters the development of the local green economy by supporting organizations to set ambitious and realistic sustainability targets. 

Each year, we recognize member organizations that have gone above and beyond achieving their sustainability goals. Though we have previously celebrated award winners in person at an Evening of Recognition event, this year we took our celebrations to the airwaves, announcing our winners on 570 News

“The member organizations of the Regional Sustainability Initiative frequently impress us here at SWR with their commitment, innovation, and impact.” says Tova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region. “The three award winners this year are no exception. Organizations big and small, long standing members and new members, they all have gone above and beyond, reached into their spheres of influence and taken steps to create our cleaner economy in Waterloo Region. Thank you to them all for the privilege of supporting them on their sustainability journey.” 

Read on to learn more about the impressive accomplishments of this year’s award winners.

Rookie of the Year: Arcadian Projects

This award recognizes the most active and accomplished new member of the Regional Sustainability Initiative. In their first year, Arcadian Projects demonstrated a steadfast commitment to achieving their sustainability goals. Members of their organization attended all of our 2019 events, completed their greenhouse gas inventory, completed a waste assessment with us and kicked-off their Green Team.  In discussion with Mike Farewell on 570 News, Luke Shantz, President of Arcadian projects, discussed how sustainability has played a large role in their business with customers and how it’s reflected positively on his company as an employer. With so many impressive accomplishments in a single year, we are excited to see what your second year of membership brings!

“We help local businesses and across Ontario to implement their environmental and sustainability projects is a big part of what we do. It only made sense we need to practice what we preach.” says Luke Shantz,  President at Arcadian Projects.

Greatest Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Toyota Boshoku

This award recognizes the organization that has reduced the most greenhouse gas emissions relative to their size. This year’s winner is Toyota Boshoku, an automotive manufacturer with a regional facility based in Elmira. Their commitment to sustainability stems from the company’s core philosophy of supplying safe products that do not harm the environment. 

Toyota Boshoku decreased their absolute emissions by 16% since 2018 by introducing electricity and natural gas savings projects over the last year.  They installed higher efficiency IT room cooling equipment, updated old end-of-life equipment with more energy-efficient options and reduced run-time of equipment and lighting with timers and sensors. 

“Every year brings a new target and a new ‘stretch’ target to really challenge ourselves,” says Jason Psutka, a Senior Specialist of Plant Engineering and Environmental Officer with Toyota Boshoku. “When we measure our electricity and natural gas consumption at some regular interval, that makes us ask the questions like: ‘why is it more than yesterday?’, ‘we used less last month – how come?’, ‘what caused this spike?’ Energy reduction is not a destination for Toyota Boshoku Group companies — it’s a way of life and we continuously try to do more with less.”

Toyota Boshoku has corporate environmental key performance indicators in the areas of carbon emission reductions, waste reduction and water consumption reduction, and they continue to make progress towards their goals in each of these areas.

Sustainability Breakthrough: Downtown Kitchener BIA

The Downtown Kitchener BIA is the recipient of the Sustainability Breakthrough award to honour the BIA Waste Diversion Pilot –  the first of its kind in Ontario and perhaps Canada! The pilot is an amazing display of organizations coming together to support the local circular economy by creating much-needed jobs, diverting waste from landfill and generating a renewable source of energy. 

Participants in the BIA’s pilot project include: 

Square, Starbucks, THEMUSEUM, Terminal, Smile io, La Cucina, McCabe’s, Pure JBK, Bobby O’Brien’s, Matter of Taste, Legacy Greens, Mark’s Caribbean Kitchen, Living Fresh, Full Circle Foods, Grand Trunk Saloon/ Grand Surf Lounge,  Café Pyrus

In The Pilot, organic waste generated by these businesses are collected by the Working Center’s Job Cafe, creating employment opportunities for at-risk populations. The organic waste is then transferred by RTC Bins to Bio-En Power Inc.’s processing plant in Elmira where it is converted into green energy through anaerobic digestion.