Green Economy North makes case for competitive advantages within sustainability

 In Media Coverage

The Manitoulin Expositor covered how businesses in Green Economy North are showing that sustainability can produce a competitive advantage. 

Sustainability can be a competitive advantage. That is a key message of Green Economy North, a Sudbury-based non-profit organization that works with communities in Northern Ontario. Communities and businesses that reduce their exposure to rising costs in electricity, gas and oil will be in a better position to succeed in the future. To assist small communities to adapt, Green Economy North organized a conference in Little Current called “Building Capacity to Plan,” which focussed on community planning.

Municipalities and First Nations on the Island and the North Shore area are very aware of the high costs of energy and the need to change to mitigate the effects of future price increases. At the conference, community administrative and elected representatives as well as interested citizens gathered to learn about funding opportunities and to find out what progress others have already made.

Keynote speaker Maury O’Neill, CEO of the Wawa Economic Development Corporation, described how Wawa has already started to deal with their issues. Faced with an estimated $6 million per year in electricity use in the community, a declining economy, and water consumption three times the Canadian average, they decided to act about four years ago. They struck a Municipal Energy Committee and initiated a series of consultations, surveys, green educational days, workshops, informational displays, and outreach to youth. With funding from the Trillium Foundation they completed an energy demand study which identified areas of high electrical usage, like the arena, the airport and street lighting. In 2016, Ms. O’Neill’s team helped the city develop an energy plan. Their goals include reducing electricity use in the community by 10 percent by 2025 and water usage by 25 percent.

Read the full article at the Manitoulin Expositor.