Borealis building exterior with text Think globally eat locally on the side
Photo credit: @borealis_grille on Instagram

Borealis Grille & Bar is not only a restaurant that serves locally crafted, natural foods and beverages, it is a leader for sustainability in the local community. As part of The Neighbourhood Group of Companies (NGC), Borealis, like all of their restaurants, is founded on core values that prioritize sustainability, with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint and overall waste annually.

“Our goal is to operate the facility in an environmentally sensitive fashion. We strive to continually search for ways to improve. We hope to eventually recycle and compost most of our waste. In the end, our ultimate goal is to achieve a zero carbon footprint.”

Founder Bob Desautels

They back this up with action as well. They are B Corp certified, and they have successfully reduced the amount of waste being sent to landfill by 35% and become 100% carbon neutral through the purchase of carbon offsets (which their founder is quick to say that he still thinks of this somewhat as “cheating,” and would like to move towards a more integrated approach). They look at equipment schedules to minimize energy consumption, use solar panels for hot water heating and staff have planted trees to offset their uniforms, which are made from organic cotton and bamboo. 

Like with so many in the food service industry, they have had to make difficult decisions in the wake of the financial realities that have come with the pandemic. However, they have not compromised the values they were founded on, by looking for ways to cut costs that do not jeopardize their ability to support their small suppliers and team members. 

Without the support of the membership subsidy from TD, Borealis would not have the means to continue its membership in the Regional Sustainability Initiative. As a long standing member, this subsidy allows them to pursue their goal of being the national leader in the promotion of local natural foods and beverages, sustainable practices and financial growth. The support of the Regional Sustainability Initiative is vital for them to maintain our B-Corp Certification and green team engagement.

It also provides the much needed capacity to maintain progress towards their sustainability goals, which continue to demonstrate their commitment despite the challenges of 2020. They are looking at new ways to reduce waste through takeout packaging, menu size and canning wine and beer that would have expired or gone to waste. They also continue to innovate. 

We also just had a staff member complete a project for one of her courses at Conestoga that used our restaurant as a subject – their idea is to build software that would tie in our heating / air conditioning system with our guest reservation system to set up “just in time” conditioning of our guest spaces”

COO, Neil Robinson

The Green Recovery Membership Subsidies, supported by TD, were established to support the membership fees of  small and medium-sized organizations across the Green Economy Canada network to continue building back better. They recognize the significant challenges Covid-19 has had on businesses, like Borealis.