Greening Greater Toronto

Greening Greater Toronto

October 07, 2011 10:42 ET

CivicAction Shares Five Keys to Transforming Organizations, City Regions at World's Largest Green Building Conference

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2011) - To tackle a city region's toughest challenges, well-respected senior leaders should invite the "unusual" suspects to the table and work to find common ground, said CivicAction Chair John Tory at CivicAction's presentation at the US Green Building Council's Greenbuild International Conference and Expo Wednesday in Toronto.

He and three senior executives who are voluntary leaders of CivicAction's environmental initiative, Greening Greater Toronto, shared advice on how to advance a city region's economic, social and environmental prosperity. CivicAction was one of the Best in Canada Top Seven organizations selected to present at the US Green Building Council's annual conference, which has drawn 25,000 participants from 100+ countries and is being hosted for the first time outside the U.S. in Toronto, in partnership with the Canada Green Building Council.

These five keys to CivicAction's model create an unbeatable way to address sometimes seemingly intractable problems:

  1. Clearly define the problem and the strategies to address it
  2. Build a compelling vision
  3. Secure multi-sectoral collaboration
  4. Attract volunteer leadership
  5. Identify attractive benefits for all

John Tory drew out successes and lessons learned by panellists Linda Mantia, Head, Enterprise Services and Chief Procurement Officer, RBC, and co-chair of Greening Greater Toronto and its Commercial Building Energy Initiative; Jim Johnston, Director, Environmental Sustainability & Compliance, BMO Financial Group, Corporate Real Estate Technology & Operations and member, Greening Canada Fund advisory council; and Cara Clairman, President and CEO, Plug'n Drive, and former chair, Green Procurement Initiative.

Guided by Greening Greater Toronto's vision, Flourish through environmental action and innovation, the panellists shared stories of accelerating action to improve the Toronto region's environmental performance.

  • Linda Mantia cited Greening Greater Toronto's signature energy efficiency office building challenge, the Race to Reduce, noting that its impact will equate to taking 18,900 cars off the road* and participants will save over $18 million in energy costs and annual savings of $9 million in perpetuity**, based on the more than 20 per cent of the Toronto region's landlords and tenants already signed on and committed to achieve the Race's 10 per cent collective energy reduction goal over four years.
  • Cara Clairman referred to the culture of green purchasing created by bringing together 45 senior leaders with over $45 billion in annual purchasing power, and securing members' pledges to continuously improve the environmental sustainability of their purchasing decisions through the Commitment to Buy Green.
  • Jim Johnston spoke of how Canadian corporations are supporting carbon emissions projects by local organizations such as the Toronto District School Board (that will earn $1.7 million over five years by selling carbon credits) through the Greening Canada Fund, and how these projects have reduced carbon emissions by 233,000 tonnes in the Fund's first year - the equivalent of taking more than 62,000 cars off the road for one year.

"Greening Greater Toronto's successes to date are transportable examples of what civic leaders can do to make their buildings and city region more environmentally sustainable," says Linda Weichel, CivicAction's Vice President, Partnerships. "These five keys will guide attendees in tackling their own challenges and transforming their organizations and city regions world-wide."

Greening Greater Toronto is an initiative of CivicAction, a coalition of thousands of civic leaders acting collectively to tackle tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region. More than 200 partners from corporations, government, and the non-profit sector have joined Greening Greater Toronto and support the vision of a flourishing region renowned for its environmental action and innovation.

*Source: US Environmental Protection Agency

** Source: Halsall Associates and Enerlife Consulting

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