Sustainable Waterloo: Making Tech Greener
By Reid McCarter
Sustainable Waterloo is making big waves with its passion for ecology and entrepreneurship. The non-profit company aims to provide yet another reason for the world to view Waterloo, Ontario, as a leader in the technology industry, through a focus on increasing the region’s environmental reputation alongside its already outstanding tech output.
Currently, Sustainable Waterloo is backed by three founding partners, including Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo North Hydro and Virtual Causeway, a provider of integrated sales and marketing services. It has also established a board of directors drawn from the community business leaders, a move that has proven instrumental in securing commitments from volunteer groups.
Describing Sustainable Waterloo’s CO2 initiative, executive director Mike Morrice says the program will “facilitate a voluntary carbon emission reduction target by providing participating organizations with an online tool to measure their carbon emissions, educational forums to learn from their peers around how to reduce emissions and as much public recognition as possible for those companies that are successful in reducing emissions.” This model is inspired by a similar program in the United States, Sustainable Silicon Valley, which has been operating (and achieving results) for the last seven years.
Sustainable Waterloo hosted its first forum in January, drawing author Thomas Homer-Dixon and director of eco-responsibility programs at Sun Microsystems (which has reported a 20% CO2 reduction since 2002) Lori Duvall. The venture hopes to create quarterly editions of these forums in tandem with more technically focused sessions. It also aims to sign at least 10 “pledging partners” by year’s end, with the primary goal of reducing regional CO2 output by 20% and promoting a sustainable future for the business sector.