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Case study

DreamRider Productions

Key Initiatives

  • created a digital interactive program to replace paper materials


  • $16K in annual paper savings
  • annual reduction of 50 tonnes CO2e

Key Outcomes

  • new digital program allowed scaling across Canada

DreamRider Productions started as a project of the City of Vancouver back in 1997, engaging elementary school kids in water conservation through theatre. Word spread, and soon they were working with municipalities to reach schools, teachers and kids throughout the Metro Vancouver region. Due to popular demand, they became an independent non-profit DreamRider Productions Society in 2002, before becoming a registered charity in 2005.

In 2012, DreamRider participated in the Climate Smart program. Measuring their emissions for the first time led to an aha moment for the company:

“As a virtual team in an almost paperless office, we thought that our touring van would be our biggest source of emissions. However, it was in fact the 100% recycled activity books that we printed for each child in our audience of most shows. That surprised us a lot. We thought that by using 100% recycled we were all good!”

Their inventory showed that paper was responsible for over 90% of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions – over 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is equivalent to a car idling non-stop for one and a half years.
Becoming Climate Smart inspired some big changes for the company – they stopped printing most of their activity books and began to create digital interactive follow up materials for their shows, as well as a new online program.

This shift was not without challenges. While the clients (municipal governments) were largely onboard with the removal of the printed books, the main issue with the digital format was uptake – how to ensure that children and teachers would actually use the digital material and continue to stay engaged in the program? The company overcame this challenge by creating a whole new program based entirely on digital media, The Planet Protector Academy. This new program solved problems for teachers in engagement and classroom management, and actually increased the uptake when compared to the paper-based program.

In addition to over $16,000 savings in printing costs, The Planet Protector Academy allowed DreamRider to scale across Canada, which their live shows would not easily do, and made up for dwindling Theatre revenues.

“Climate Smart makes the footprint analysis surprisingly easy to do. We were glad to see where we were creating carbon – and it motivated a whole new product line for us! Our team is excited about the new interactive product line and happy to be reducing our footprint,” says DreamRider’s Executive Producer and Creative Director Vanessa LeBourdais.

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