Our History

The founding idea for Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR) emerged from research projects completed by Chris DePaul and Mike Morrice, guided by Dr. Barry Colbert at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business and Economics. The research included the potential of creating a not-for-profit aimed at helping organizations in Waterloo Region achieve carbon reductions through collaboration and education.
In July 2008, Sustainable Waterloo Region was incorporated with a vision for an environmentally and economically resilient community that prioritizes the well being of current and future generations. The first SWR educational forum was hosted in January 2009 with over 200 people in attendance.
SWR launched with the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI), a program that helped local organizations enhance the sustainability of their operations through carbon emission reductions. Two community working groups collaborated to develop a locally relevant carbon reduction framework, and a passionate team of staff and volunteers was formed to support the program.
  In September 2016, the Regional Carbon Initiative evolved to become the Regional Sustainability Initiative. This program expanded the sustainability reduction targets beyond GHGs, incorporating both water and waste reduction. The program also supports the actions of organizations across Waterloo Region that may be unable to set targets in the areas of carbon, waste and water.