Waterloo Community Spotlight: Sustainable Waterloo Region
180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo connected with Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Executive Director, Tova Davidson and Communications Manager, Liz Dirksen to discuss their organization’s various initiatives, mission and impact in the community.
What is Sustainable Waterloo Region?
Sustainable Waterloo Region is a social enterprise committed to helping businesses and the community as a whole to become more environmentally and economically stable. SWR’s focus is to help these businesses adopt more sustainable practices through efforts like climate change mitigation.
Sustainable Waterloo Region has 5 main initiative programs:
What is Sustainable Waterloo Region’s impact?
Under SWR’s Regional Sustainability Initiative, they relaunched the campaign in 2016 to align to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals with an increased focus on quantifying the sustainable actions of their members. The organization has the constant challenge of figuring out how to effectively quantify the environmental impact of businesses in the community but they have been developing different strategies to consolidate the issue.
Beyond this, one of the biggest accomplishments that the organization has achieved was the construction of the evolv1 building in 2018: Canada’s first zero-carbon building. The evolv1 building was created in partnership with The Cora Group and generates more clean energy than it consumes. It is also home to their innovation workspace evolvGreen.
As of their 2019 Year End report:
How has the pandemic affected Sustainable Waterloo Region?
The pandemic has not stopped Sustainable Waterloo Region’s efforts and commitment to creating a more environmentally friendly community. While they agree that it’s most ideal to meet members and interact with the community in person, they take full advantage of the virtual world. Now more than ever, they are able to host more events for the general public to raise awareness and advocate for sustainability practices.
What can you do to help and why is it important?
Sustainable Waterloo Region’s vision is to transform the region into a leader of environmental sustainability innovation. As a major goal, SWR wants businesses to know that sustainability practices are not only advantageous for the environment, but create more profitable and economically feasible businesses. Beyond that, it is also important to understand the intersectionality between environmental issues and social issues such as poverty or racism.
To get involved with Sustainable Waterloo Region, check out their website for different volunteer opportunities: SWR highly encourages recent graduates to look for leadership opportunities within the organization. Be sure to also ask your employers about becoming members of the Regional Sustainability Initiative, start green committees of your own, or follow and spread the word on social media.
Once again, thank you to Tova and Liz for taking the time to chat with us!