COO of Botanical PaperWorks, Bryce Saunders shares a bit about Climate Smart certification, why it is important to our team, and what it will mean for Botanical PaperWorks going forward.
Hi, my name is Bryce Saunders and I’m an engineer and the COO of Botanical PaperWorks. As makers of eco-friendly seed paper products, the Botanical PaperWorks team has the opportunity to become a leader in climate action. This is something that both our employees and customers care deeply about.
Right now there are more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere than at any time in human history. For this reason, we chose “Leave the Earth a Better Place” as our company’s theme last year. Over the course of 12 months, our employees generated more than 100 ideas to make this happen which opened up so many possibilities to reduce our carbon footprint. From simple things like reducing paper waste to more significant process changes that will save water and energy.
With our theme in mind and ready for change, our invitation from Tanis Osterman of CanSustain to attend 3 sessions with Climate Smart (a Vancouver-based sustainability consulting firm) was perfect timing. The program is facilitated by Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA) and by completing it, our business would become Climate Smart certified and be able to measure, track, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We couldn't wait to join hundreds of Climate Smart certified businesses in their growing network.
On the first day, I met leaders from 10 other companies and communities who are passionate about reducing their negative impact on the environment. Together we would become the first organizations in Manitoba to achieve Climate Smart certification. Our sessions were led by Maureen Cureten, a brilliant and energetic member of the Climate Smart team.
Phase 1 – Measure
Measuring our current footprint was an important step, as it taught us the different sources of greenhouse gases and showed us the relative magnitude of each. This would be useful when deciding where improvements could have the greatest impact.
Capturing it all was a lot of effort the first time, but we put processes in place to make it easier going forward. We do this by gathering invoices from various suppliers (electrical utility, heating bill, garbage pickup, order shipping, etc.) and using tools created by Climate Smart to convert our consumption into equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The experience was full of surprises. I thought garbage and electricity would be some of our biggest contributors, but they weren’t even close. Together they make up only 6% of our footprint. The worst offender is heat for our building, accounting for a whopping 36% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Yikes!
Phase 2 – Reduce
Measuring our carbon footprint revealed a lot of low-hanging fruit and we’re excited to continue making improvements. Our hope is to improve the insulation in our very old character building to reduce the amount of natural gas that we consume to heat the place.
We also plan to show customers the environmental impact of air shipping vs ground shipping, so they can make a more informed choice when ordering from our website. Rush air shipping can have 5 times the environmental impact of choosing ground. Staff commuting is another big one. We’re working to coordinate carpooling opportunities for employees and will look into piloting a bus pass subsidy program.
Phase 3 – Leverage
A big focus for Botanical PaperWorks in 2019 will be communicating our footprint internally and externally. We'll continue asking our employees for improvement ideas since most of our company’s innovations come from the people who are closest to the process and we want to empower everyone to make a difference. We will also share our experiences and knowledge with our clients, customers, and friends so we can learn together and help other businesses make green choices. I also plan to stay in touch with the great people I met at the Climate Smart certification sessions, so we can share successes and suggest ideas.
~ Bryce Saunders, COO of Botanical PaperWorks
Is Climate Smart certification for you?
If your business wants to reduce its carbon footprint, Climate Smart certification is a great start that will help equip your team with some valuable skills and bring you one step closer to your sustainability goals. Not only will you have an impact on the world around you, but you'll also position your business as a leader and changemaker. However, to make this certification really meaningful for your business, you must be prepared to follow through and make some real changes.
At Botanical PaperWorks, we have already implemented changes and will continuously challenge ourselves and our team members to do better, and leave the Earth a better place.