Ever wonder what the carbon footprint of your business is?
Close to 50 Prince George businesses know exactly what their carbon footprint is and have received suggestions on what they can do to reduce that footprint, thanks to the Carbon Action Plan, funded by CN and operated through the Prince George Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the University of Northern British Columbia.
“We’ve had 46 local businesses participate, we’ve had 50 carbon footprints done, we’ve had more than 30 students impacted by this project,” said Barb Otter of the Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, the program allows the chamber to hire an intern to work on the program.
Through the program students from UNBC’s carbon energy management class are sent to businesses wishing to take part and they develop the business’ carbon footprint. The carbon footprint analyses are created as per internationally recognized standards and facilitated by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. The program recognizes the capacity for business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions often through routine operational practices.
“Each student is matched with a participating business,” she said. “Each set of data is new, each study is new. Students take the data from the businesses and turn out the analysis. This is actual data that the businesses can make decisions on.”
Northern Lights Estate Winery, Prince George Driving for Life Academy, and Timberline Footfitters continue to utilize the program to become carbon neutral. The 46 businesses that have taken part represent all different sectors including manufacturing, retail, wholesale, restaurant, health care, non-profit, charity, First Nations, consulting, service, and agriculture. The variety of participants is key to the project as fossil fuel reliance affects all business.
The program was launched in 2015 and CN has committed to funding the program until 2021.
CN planted more than 100,000 trees in the Prince George area in 2015 and since 2012 has planted more than 1.6 million trees.
“This is an example of one of our core values, sustainability,” said Jason Maidment, Assistant Superintendent, Transportation for CN.
The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) has returned to sponsor a full-time intern.
“PICS shares a global vision of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century alongside all communities adapting to a changing climate,” said Michelle Connolly the program manager for PICS. “Communities, business and individuals all have a role to play in limiting emissions and we’re proud that PICS intern Hannah Renaud supported local businesses in reducing theirs. The Internship program will continue to create capacity among young people to address emissions in a material way.”
For Renaud, a fourth year environmental and sustainability student at UNBC, the experience has been a wonderful education and she has worked with Team Powerhouse Realty and Workforce Development Consulting.
“This course allowed me to get out of my comfort zone,” she said.
The chamber recognized the continued success of the program by dedicating trees at Duchess Community Park as part of the National Tree Day celebration.