Latest News

Township of Wilmot Featured in Case Study
Township of Wilmot Featured in Case Study
Having been a member of the Regional Sustainability Initiative since 2015, the Township of Wilmot has become the first township in Waterloo Region to set a public greenhouse gas reduction target. They are working towards reducing their emissions by 25% using 2012 as their baseline. Some of their projects are already showing successful savings in both cost and energy usage. Check out their case study to learn more ...
Read More
Change Management and Sustainability
Change Management and Sustainability
On June 13th, professionals gathered at the Walper Hotel in Kitchener for a Change Management and Sustainability event, where change management practice, tools, and how to apply them were discussed. Matthew Day, Manager of SWR’s Regional Sustainability Initiative, opened the event with a brief overview of Regional Sustainability Initiative’s end-of-year member survey. The top three goals across all members were: reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reducing energy use, and increasing employee engagement. The goal of employee engagement stuck out because many members expressed a desire for ...
Read More
Event Recap – It’s All About the Numbers
Event Recap – It’s All About the Numbers
On May 22nd 2018, Paul Rak (President and founder of Cambridge-based VeriForm Inc.) made the business case for implementing low-technology sustainability initiatives into everyday business operations. The event took place at Waterloo North Hydro and was attended by an assortment of professionals looking to learn how to optimize sustainability, efficiency, and cost-savings in their operations. Rak began by giving an overview of the company, when they started their journey towards sustainability, and the results the company has achieved since. VeriForm is a metal fabricating company which specia ...
Read More
Evening of Recognition 2018 Recap
Evening of Recognition 2018 Recap
Thursday, April 12 was a big day for Sustainable Waterloo Region and the many program participants and volunteers who help make everything we do such a success. On April 12, we celebrated our 9th Evening of Recognition. The Turret at Wilfrid Laurier University was standing room only as sustainability leaders gathered to celebrate their successes and achievements, swap stories, and share learnings. That the event was held at Laurier was particularly meaningful; for 10 years, Wilfrid Laurier University has played a critical role in helping SWR and all Regional Sustainability Initiative members a ...
Read More
10 ways our volunteers ROCK!
10 ways our volunteers ROCK!
Over the four years that I have been at Sustainable Waterloo Region, I have been repeatedly amazed and touched with the kinds of time and talent that are shared in this community to work together for the creation of a shared vision of the future. From students to community leadership, the volunteers at SWR are incredible. I could try to articulate all the things that people have done, but my memory is, as many of you have heard me say” like a steel sieve”, so I would rather share the top 10 ways that volunteers make all of us at SWR so very grateful. Professional expertise. Many of our volunt ...
Read More
Volunteers Support Professional Development
Volunteers Support Professional Development
I’ve been a member of the SWR team for a long time, starting as a volunteer back in 2008. The volunteer structure at SWR is very close to my heart. Over the years, I’ve seen the power of this model and what it’s done for the organization, helping us to reach higher and do more, with limited financial resources. I’ve also seen the valuable and transferable work experience that volunteers have gained from being part of the SWR team. Recently, in the last year and a half, I’ve come to truly appreciate a new layer that’s been added to the model. To set the context, historically our Human Resources ...
Read More
Thank you to all the Green Team volunteers
Thank you to all the Green Team volunteers
What many folks might not realize about sustainability-focused efforts is that not all organizations have the capacity to have a designated role for this. On many occasions, it is the voluntary work of one or handful of employees who are passionate about the environment. The effort to pull together a green team, engage the whole organization, integrate sustainability awareness, report on energy consumption and waste diversion – these tasks are completed alongside their primary role but with equal amounts of enthusiasm. This is why at the Regional Sustainability Initiative, we refer to them as ...
Read More
5+ Years’ of Volunteerism and Counting!
5+ Years’ of Volunteerism and Counting!
Sustainable Waterloo Region’s greatest resource is our people. We are able to accomplish SWR’s great work with a committed team of volunteers and a small staff driven by a shared passion to achieve an environmentally sustainable Waterloo Region for current and future generations. Fueled by this passion, our volunteers join us for any number of reasons; from gaining meaningful work experience, to expanding professional networks, connecting with other like-minded individuals, or contributing their professional expertise to improve their local community. Our volunteer base is dynamic: as we welco ...
Read More

Introducing the 30 Day Carbon Cleanse (Starting March 30th)

Each year the Regional Carbon Initiative gathers feedback from its members. This comes from events, round tables, one-on-ones and year-end questionnaires. This feedback is key to how the RCI operates and the direction their members feels the program should develop. One piece of feedback that the RCI has noted for a number of years now […]

Blog post image

Community Engagement in the Online Era

As I try to imagine what community consultation might have looked like a few decades ago, tools that come to mind include: telephone trees, posted letters, print advertising, type-written statements, and town-hall meetings to inform and engage community members. Many of these same tools are still in use today, but they are quickly being offset […]

Blog post image

Building a community through social media

On March 22, we hosted our second annual Evening of Recognition. You can read Mike’s blog about it here so I’m not going to speak too much about the event itself; instead, I’m going to share one of the elements that really stood out for me – the social media buzz that accompanied the event. […]

Blog post image

Finally Facebook

It is the biggest social networking site of this generation. Boasting over 500 million active users, it’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says the words “social media.” 700 billion minutes are spent browsing the site every month. And yet, before today, you would not find an official Sustainable Waterloo Region presence […]

Blog post image

A Valuable Lesson: Social Media Breakfast Waterloo Region

This past Wednesday, September 22, Sustainable Waterloo Region’s events manager, Helena, and I attended Social Media Breakfast Waterloo Region at the Kitchener Market. The guest speaker, Joe Thornley, spoke about “Building Relationships. Creating Opportunities” within the sphere of social media. I enjoyed attending Social Media Breakfast Waterloo Region and would recommend attending future breakfasts – […]

Blog post image

A Change of Heart

When we started discussing the possibility of a Sustainable Waterloo Region team blog a few months ago, I was more than a little sceptical. After having suffered under the weight of maintaining a blog for several months in early 2009 – while under some acute time pressure to lead the team towards launching the Regional Carbon Initiative before the summer of that year – I knew of how a blog can quickly become “that-thing-you-know-you-should-do-but-always-have-something-more-important-on-the-list”. On top of this, I’m keenly aware of the excess of blogs already at all of our fingertips, the reality that this growth is sputtering in lieu of other social media tools, and the simple truth that without relevancy and crisp insight, there is little point to even starting.

But over the past few months, not only have I been convinced (a) that this is a valuable addition to how our team communicates with the community and (b) that this will directly help us achieve our mission, but I’m even more importantly, I’m genuinely excited about being a part of it.