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Case study

SYLVIS

Overall Impact:

  • 4% reduction in fuel use
  • 31% reduction in flights & 27% reduction in ferry travel
  • 83% reduction in garbage

Solutions:

  • Satellite offices
  • Carpooling to work sites
  • Video conferencing
  • Garbage & recycling initiatives

Benefits:

  • 31% savings on air travel & resultant emissions
  • Reduced travel time for staff

SYLVIS Environmental is a leading Canadian residuals management consulting and contracting firm with a focus on beneficially using organic residuals to build healthy soils. SYLVIS works with municipalities and industries that produce organic residuals (such as wood ash, and municipal biosolids) to find beneficial methods of using these within the environment. SYLVIS connects these residuals with landowners and land managers, providing the professional and operational services required to use the organics, build healthy soils, and mitigate climate change through carbon addition to soil and reductions in fertilizer use.

SYLVIS began measuring its carbon footprint with Climate Smart in 2012, and immediately recognized corporate travel as its biggest emissions source.

New Westminster-based SYLVIS has projects throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, requiring frequent travel for environmental sampling or operations. SYLVIS opened satellite offices in Edmonton, Calgary, and Nanaimo, reducing air and ferry-travel related emissions. Where possible, SYLVIS employees now use online videoconferencing in lieu of travel. Employees take efforts to combine trips when travel is unavoidable, a strategy which has reduced emissions and improved efficiency. From the 2012 baseline through to 2017, SYLVIS reduced its emissions by 31%, for air travel. In the same time period, SYLVIS reduced its ferry travel by 27%. Both reductions also carry significant financial benefit.

Long-distance vehicle travel is an operational necessity for SYLVIS, responsible for 39% of corporate emissions in 2017. Bundling and scheduling activities to occur concurrently reduced the total trips taken and kilometres driven. Vehicles have been stationed at some project sites, reducing commuter kilometres. Since 2012, this effort has led to a 4% reduction in total fuel use, even while the company experienced a 50% growth in projects and revenue.

SYLVIS’s environmental operations result in the sequestration of thousands of tonnes of carbon in soils every year. By participating in the Climate Smart program, the company was able to quantify and improve on its internal carbon footprint, so that day-to-day processes have effective emissions reductions to match its core business. Through five inventories, SYLVIS has systematically implemented changes resulting in a worthwhile carbon footprint reduction and an equally impressive change in company culture, prioritizing efficiency through all facets of the business.

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