“Businesses are discovering that paying attention to sustainability is not only good for the environment and the community,” says Bob Willard, author and internationally-recognized corporate sustainability expert with Sustainability Advantage, “climate action is also good for business and the local economy.”
On April 22, from 3 – 4:30 pm, Willard will be joining businesses across the greater Peterborough area to virtually welcome the region’s newest business hub, Green Economy Peterborough.
Willard’s keynote presentation on the business case for environmental practice will tap into his decades-long experience as a senior management trainer and corporate greening expert. He will share with local businesses how to leverage opportunities, reduce risk, and ultimately secure financial benefits by becoming more sustainable.
Along with Willard, attendees will hear from local business leaders on the connection between a thriving, local business community and a climate-friendly economy. “I think the (local) business community is a lot more aware of not only the micro reasons to consider the climate, but also that it’s good financially for them,” says Terry Guiel, Executive Director of the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area. “They really see it as a worthwhile endeavour.”
Among large corporations, the momentum to develop strategies that both protect the environment and secure a business advantage is steadily increasing; small and medium-sized enterprises, however, are being left behind. “Due to their size, these organizations require specific supports to help them overcome capacity, knowledge, and resource barriers,” states Natalie Stephenson, Coordinator of Green Economy Peterborough. “Our network can help fill in these gaps.”
Green Economy Peterborough members are supported to achieve tangible results in emissions, water use, or waste reduction. To do this, they receive coaching, training, and tracking tools; their successes are promoted among their hub peers and in the greater community.
“I felt that it was really important to get involved with Green Economy Peterborough,” says Founding Member, Sparo Lindsay of Union Studio, “so that I could have some guidance from a local organization about the energy consumption that we’re having and waste management… to get some tangible information that I can share with my staff and clients about what we’re doing and how we’re trying to make an impact in a positive way at the salon.”
For many, local peer support and recognition is key: “Being part of (the) local network is an important part for our business, so that we can share ideas, learn from others, and set an example that others can follow,” says Scott Murison, also a Founding Member of Green Economy Peterborough and co-owner of Wild Rock Outfitters. “It’s important to be connected to the local community.”
Green Economy Peterborough is hosted by GreenUP, a local leader in sustainability, and is guided by an Advisory Committee made up of local business and community leaders, including Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, and the Peterborough DBIA. They are connected to a national network of community-based Green Economy Hubs – in cities like Waterloo, Burlington, Ottawa and Edmonton – through their national partner, Green Economy Canada.
“We’re thrilled to see Green Economy Peterborough launch,” says Priyanka Lloyd, Executive Director of Green Economy Canada. “The Hub will help Peterborough businesses to build back better, and lead the transition to a vibrant and inclusive low-carbon economy.”
Green Economy Peterborough’s official launch will take place virtually this Earth Day, Thursday, April 22nd from 3 – 4:30 pm. All those interested in learning more about the benefits of business sustainability are welcome to attend.