New federal incentives will help small- and medium-sized businesses take needed climate action and improve bottom lines

Written by Tess Wittmann

Written by Tess Wittmann

Small and medium business owners in Ontario have a tight timeline of opportunity to receive federal funding to improve the sustainability of operations and their bottom lines. 

The Government of Canada’s newly launched Climate Action Incentive Fund: Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises Project stream, covers new sustainability projects undertaken by businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Eligible projects range from retrofitting a fleet of trucks to use biodiesel, to purchasing energy-efficient industrial equipment upgrades, to adding solar and insulation to an office building. There is $72.4 million is earmarked for Ontario.

Applications for funding are open until October 15, 2019, or until funding is exhausted.

Eligible projects include:

  • Switches to low emitting fuels in buildings, agriculture, industry, and transportation

  • Building and vehicle retrofits that save energy by improving efficiency or reducing waste

  • Improvements to the energy efficiency of industrial and agricultural processes

  • Low emission fuel production or renewable energy production for own use

The Climate Action Incentive Fund will provide $20,000 - $250,000 to offset up to 25% of the cost of qualifying projects in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick. This first-come, first-served opportunity gives owners of small- and medium-sized businesses a unique chance to get paid to save money for their businesses while doing the right thing for our environment.

For businesses who want to take advantage of the opportunity to go green but don’t know how to get started, contact Kristin Mullin, Executive Director, Sustainable Kingston at 613-544-2075 ext 1 or by email at kristin@sustainablekingston.com

Sustainable Kingston is one of seven non-profit Green Economy Hubs across Ontario that support businesses with reducing their greenhouse gas emissions while becoming more economically competitive. Hubs provide tools, guidance, and a network of businesses to learn from so that any organization can take action on climate change and seize the business benefits of going green.

Green Economy Canada, in cooperation with Sustainable Kingston, are running webinars to give Green Economy Program Leaders a chance to learn about this incentive by walking through project details and the application process. Want to receive resources like this? Join the program!

You Have the Power to Change Business for the Better

Written by Kristin Mullin

Written by Kristin Mullin

The new model for the business world is impact-based. The lines between “non-profit” and “for-profit” are blurring and market demand has changed.  Our ideals of transparency and communication are evolving, and consumers are relating to brands like they do to each other, using goods and services as an outlet for self-expression of not just wealth, but of personal values. 

Preserving our way of life, our environment, and our economy for future generations is fundamentally something that everyone cares about. But with the global market, we have more options than ever and consumers (especially millennials) who care about social and environmental issues, often can’t find businesses that are taking action towards the things that they care about.  Companies who are used to getting questioned on the quality of their items are ever increasingly fielding more questions like “where was this made?”, “how was it made?” and “who made it?”  We want to ensure that our purchases have been ethically produced – environmentally, socially or both and are even willing to pay a little bit more if that is the case.  

In response to this gap, Sustainable Kingston is ensuring that consumers have access to the information they crave. The new platform sustainably.eco makes it easy to determine which businesses in the area are creating long-term measurable impact towards people and planet.  Giving customers power to patronize businesses that are acting in ways that fit into their own value systems. With this information, consumers feel like they are part of the movement and through the insights provided on the site, they can see the measurable impact that they are contributing to. 

With climate change and environmental issues in the forefront of all media outlets, sustainable business is definitely on everyone’s minds.  Consumers have more power than ever to use their combined purchasing power to shift the way that business works.  In our opinion, only the most mindful and inventive businesses will be the most successful in the future and will have the potential to drive the biggest societal change.

Walk the Talk: Evening of Recognition 2019

Written by Tess Wittmann

Written by Tess Wittmann

At Sustainable Kingston, we do our best to walk-the-talk at all our events. We see it is an opportunity to demonstrate simple and effective ways to make an event more sustainable. We are proud of the numerous initiatives that will reduce the environmental impact of the event and promote building a more livable and resilient city.   

Keep reading to learn how Sustainable Kingston is doing its best to walk-the-talk and promote our Six Priority Areas at the Evening of Recognition on May 30, 2019.

 

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Food Security- ZERO Waste

To address issues of Environmental Stewardship and local Food Security, Sustainable Kingston will ensure the event is zero waste with nothing going to landfill.

Sustainable Kingston is working with St. Lawrence to eliminate all garbage bins as everything at the event can be reused, recycled, donated, or composted.

We are also excited to partner with Loving Spoonful and FoodRescue.ca to donate any rescuable food to be redistributed in the community after the event. Any non-rescuable food will be sent to a local farm to ensure no food is wasted.

A vegetarian meal with vegan options throughout will be served to further reduce the event's environmental impact.

Climate Action- Carbon Neutral and LEED Gold Targeted Building

Through a Carbonzero sponsorship, the Evening of Recognition will be a carbon neutral event.

These offsets will go toward supporting the Southern Quebec Afforestation Project: http://www.carbonzero.ca/projects/southern-quebec-afforestation-project-sqap 

This year's Evening of Recognition will be held at St. Lawrence College's newest building that is targeting LEED Gold Certification.  To be certified, this building will consume 57% less energy and will have 64% less GHG emissions, when compared to a conventional building construction. 20% of materials used had recycled content and 35% was regionally sources.  100% of the wood selected was sustainably harvested and 90% of the construction waste was diverted from landfills.

Economic Prosperity- Local Winery and Brewery

Sustainable Kingston is partnering with Bergeron Estate Winery and MacKinnon Brothers to showcase the vibrancy of the local economy.

Bergeron Estate Winery is THE closest winery to the venue and will be providing wine and cider samples.

MacKinnon Brothers produces unique beers using ingredients sourced solely from their farm. 2018 is their third year producing this 100% farm beer.

Environmental Stewardship – Awards and Centre Pieces

As part of our Evening of Recognition, we present awards to individuals, businesses, and organizations making Kingston a more livable and resilient city. This year, to make our awards as sustainable as possible, we will make them from local reclaimed wood.

Through a generous donation from the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority and a partnership with Root Radical CSA, 30 trees will be planted at an organic farm on Howe Island. It will be part of a bigger tree-planting project to increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity near streams and hedgerows.

(we even reused the mason jars from last year’s centre pieces!)

Sense of Community- Supporting Local Artists

To celebrate local art and culture, Sustainable Kingston is proud to showcase a local musician during the networking portion of the event.

Sustainable Transportation

We are partnering with Kingston Transit to provide free bus transportation for ticket holders. Just show your ticket on May 30th to get to and from the event for free!

St. Lawrence College has solar powered e-bike charging stations and electrical vehicle charging stations available.

There are also many bicycle racks around the campus, so jump on your own or try out Drop Bikes!

Want to see these fun initiatives in action? Come to the event this Thursday!

Want to implement these strategies in your own events? Contact Tess at tess@sustainablekingston.com for information on how to do these.