The Vancouver Economic Commission recently joined more than 40 local businesses in the fashion and textiles, hotel and hospitality, and sustainability service sectors at Vancouver’s first Leverage Lab Camp to collectively tackle sustainability challenges. In bringing them together, the Camp aimed to help business leaders in Vancouver cut costs and push the boundaries of their sustainable business practices.
Throughout the day, representatives from Vancity, SPEC, THNK and ClimateSmart shared their data-driven approaches to identifying priority impact areas, while attendees contributed to the conversation by calculating the profit potential of greening their business operations and outlining the external influences on their operations.
The highlight of the day for the VEC team was joining in the sector-specific discussions in the late afternoon. Through expertly facilitated conversations, participants uncovered a series of collective actions that could be taken over the coming year to help improve the environmental impact of entire clusters of Vancouver businesses. Hotel and hospitality sector businesses identified a series of actions to reduce energy consumption and water use. In the textiles sector, businesses discussed banding together to develop regional “material loops” that promote local circular economies. The sustainability services sector showed a huge amount of enthusiasm for using our new greening businesses digital platform for connecting businesses that are looking to “go green” with the services, solution-providers, and advisors that can help them get there.
Sara Blenkhorn, the facilitator of the Leverage Lab Camp, is hoping to see six-month research and development collaboratives evolve from these conversations in order to take some of the actions forward. The Camp is a great reminder that Vancouver’s business community is actively working to reduce its impact on the environment – and provide paths forward for others to do the same. Further reflecting this leadership from our local business community, the VEC has partnered with the City of Vancouver to deliver Climate Pledge YVR – an opportunity for businesses to internationally voice their support for stronger climate action. The pledge will be shared with governments around the world at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December (known as COP21).
Vancouver businesses that who would like to join nearly 200 companies that have already shown their support for stronger climate action can do so now at climatepledgeyvr.com, and become part of Vancouver’s growing green economy movement.
Pietra is the Vancouver Economic Commission’s lead on sustainable community development. She works primarily with industrial businesses to spur the shift to a more circular economy, support the development of smarter logistics systems, and create a stronger business ecosystem for innovative, creative, and sustainable industrial operations.