Climate Smart is a social enterprise based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We enable organizations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen their businesses and build a resilient economy.
Climate Smart grew out of the recognition that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—the engines of our local economies—have been largely overlooked by climate change policy. We believe that this dynamic and innovative sector can play an important role in addressing climate change and lead the transition to a prosperous, low-carbon future.
Since our beginnings in 2007, Climate Smart has worked with more than 30 host partners (e.g., local governments, financial institutions, ports and airports) to engage more than 800 businesses — representing approximately 78,000 employees — in profitably tracking and reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG, or carbon) emissions. On average, businesses we work with achieve an impressive 11% reduction in emissions within two years. Top-performers achieve a 30% reduction in emissions. Case studies from a sample of 70+ Climate Smart businesses show a total annual cost savings of $2.5 million.
As part of the transition to a low-carbon, resilient economy, Climate Smart works with a wide range of businesses — across different sectors of the economy, geographic regions, and varying in size — to help them reduce their operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We believe that, in order to achieve the scope and scale of change required to adequately address climate change, all business sectors must be engaged to find better, less carbon-intensive ways to produce and distribute goods and deliver their services. This means that Climate Smart works with and certifies businesses that are leaders in environmental sustainability, and also with companies that are just beginning to consider their environmental impact. We meet businesses ‘where they’re at’ and help them to make positive change from there.
Climate Smart began in 2007 as a program of Ecotrust Canada with a pilot cohort of ten BC businesses and organizations. We tested the viability of a service that lowered the financial and technical barriers for SMEs to take action on climate change. The pilot was generously supported by various foundations and corporations, including Vancity, the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation.
In early spring 2009, we incorporated as a social enterprise and in 2010, Climate Smart launched the first municipally supported climate change program designed specifically for the local SME business community.
On the technology front, our web-based software is custom built to serve private sector businesses and non-profit organizations, and is maintained in-house. We pride ourselves on creating software tools that are user-friendly yet rigorous. Our software was ranked the #1 software solution for SMEs in an independent study by Carbonzero and was granted honourable mention in the 2010 Globe Award for Excellence in Emerging Technology by the Globe Foundation.
In 2015, Climate Smart was awarded a City of Vancouver Greenest City Leadership Award, for helping to make progress toward six goals of the Greenest City Action Plan. And in 2016, Climate Smart was selected as a finalist in the 2016 MIT Climate CoLab contest in the ‘Smart Zero Carbon Cities Challenge’ category.