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Press Release – Canada Has “200 Million Tonne Opportunity” to Address Warming

VANCOUVER — As governments turn over rocks in search of opportunities to cut carbon emissions, a new report concludes that a leading solution may be hidden in plain sight.

Canada’s 1.2+ million small- and medium-sized businesses have direct control over roughly 200 million tonnes of carbon pollution, the same amount produced each year by every car, truck, train, plane, and ship in the country, the report finds. With coaching and support, these businesses could significantly shrink Canada’s overall carbon footprint, its authors conclude.

Climate Smart revealed the findings today in the new report, 200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity: How small and medium-sized businesses are driving Canadian clean growth, available at 200million.ca.

The title refers to the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions under the authority of Canadian small and medium sized businesses, and the opportunity those businesses have to profitably reduce that pollution while helping the nation reach its climate-change goals.

“Hundreds of thousands of printers, restaurateurs, roofers, retailers, and others are already profitably reducing their carbon footprints and driving clean innovation and clean growth,” said Elizabeth Sheehan, the president of Climate Smart. “As Canada works to meet its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, it’s exciting that thousands of private-sector climate champions are already taking the lead.”

The report compiles a decade’s worth of data gleaned from hundreds of companies with fewer than 500 employees, and presents case studies from across the country. The business owners are using a wide range of strategies to profitably reduce carbon emissions, including fleet upgrades, route optimization, heat recovery, employee engagement, and more. The report serves as a how-to manual for staying competitive in the low-carbon economy.

With hands-on training and data analysis, Climate Smart supports companies working to profitably reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and helps governments more effectively engage with private sector partners. The company is a social enterprise and Certified B Corp.

Backgrounder: What they’re Saying about “200 Million Tonnes”

“Small and medium sized businesses are the heart of Canada’s economy. Clean tech firms and high tech startups make headlines, but the bulk of SMEs are in more traditional industries. Through the insights in this report and their award-winning training program, Climate Smart is making action on sustainability more accessible to the roofers, bakeries and dry cleaners across Canada. The Canadian Chamber is proud to be partnering with Climate Smart to show how effectively reducing greenhouse gas can also be smart business.”
Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“Through its Greening Government Strategy, the Government of Canada has committed to being a global leader in low-carbon and climate-resilient procurement. I am impressed by the tremendous opportunities identified in 200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity. Today Canada’s private sector leaders are proving that going green is the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do and this report is further proof of this opportunity. I look forward to seeing the results of our Centre for Greening Government as it collaborates with innovative enterprises across Canada.”
Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada

“Cities remain at the forefront of the global push to slow, stop, and eventually reverse climate change, and effective private-sector engagement is crucial to municipal efforts. If local governments are to make the most of available time and limited resources, they need good, fine-scale data. Climate Smart’s “200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity” points to a treasure trove of practices and trends, it highlights what Canadian small and medium sized businesses are doing, and where the opportunities lie. It is a must read for elected officials and their planning and sustainability teams.”
David Miller, North American Regional Director and Global Ambassador for Inclusive Climate Action, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

“For a decade, Climate Smart has helped a wide diversity of companies unlock previously-hidden cost savings while reducing their carbon emissions—everything from small businesses you might find down on Main Street, to larger players that serve as critical links in the supply chains of national enterprises. 200 Million Tonnes shines a light on all these efforts, and shows how many small efforts can add up to a massive potential impact. When we are surrounded by gloom and doom, this report offers an inspiring and exciting vision of what is possible.”
Nancy Olewiler, Professor and Director, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University

“Our country’s small- and medium-sized businesses are key to building a strong, growing, clean economy. 200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity shows that through leadership, Canadian businesses can succeed—both at home and globally—while cutting carbon pollution. In fact, a lower carbon footprint is increasingly a competitive advantage.”
Merran Smith, Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada

“Small and medium sized businesses have a big footprint in Canada’s economy and our greenhouse gas inventory. There is immense potential to scale up low carbon innovations of leaders so this critical part of our economy treads more lightly on the atmosphere and more sure-footedly in our competitive world.”
Alex Boston, Executive Director of Renewable Cities and Fellow, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

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