Prince George, BC – Prince George businesses will have the opportunity to become more energy efficient, improve local air quality, increase recycling, and reduce waste thanks to multi-year funding from CN.
CN’s Carbon Reduction Project for Business by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia, has already helped local businesses become more environmentally sustainable, while at the same time saving money. Primary sponsor CN, one of the largest employers in the Prince George area, has committed to funding the program for three more years.
“Sustainability is a core value at CN. Our railroaders live in the same communities we serve, so we want to see them clean, green, and safe,” said David Brogliatto, CN’s Regional Manager, Environment. “The Carbon Footprint Reduction Program is a great way to team up with the Prince George community and achieve concrete progress towards reducing emissions here at home.”
The Carbon Reduction Project has been operating for two years. It carries tremendous value for Chamber members and other local businesses by providing guidance, support, and encouragement along the path to carbon reduction.
“Many businesses, both large and small, are adopting a much broader Triple Bottom Line perspective when it comes to business health,” says Prince George Chamber of Commerce CEO Christie Ray. “Balancing the financial wellbeing of a business, with attention to the social and environmental outcomes, can be challenging. We are proud to champion this program with the generous support of our partners CN, The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable and UNBC.”
UNBC students participated in the project through 2016. Carbon Management students gathered information from local volunteer businesses on their energy consumption, fleet vehicles and paper usage. These businesses were rewarded with a free carbon footprint analysis, according to internationally recognized standards, along with recommendations on how they could use less energy thereby reducing operational costs.
The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable funded a summer intern position, filled by Leon Kennedy, a student from UNBC’s Environmental Engineering Program. He assisted businesses that wished to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Part of Leon’s work was to write feasibility studies addressing the identified needs for alternate solutions to business compost and another comparing paper towel versus hand dryer usage for businesses.
Course funding was provided by UNBC’s Undergraduate Experiential Service Learning program through unrestricted donations to UNBC.
“The Carbon Footprint Reduction Project provides UNBC students with opportunities to demonstrate leadership by working directly as consultants with local companies,” states UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “Through the Carbon Management course, students gain exposure to real-life business decision making and provide participating organizations with specific advice on how to reduce carbon emissions.”
The Chamber is recognizing the project’s success by dedicating a tree and park bench during a ceremony at Duchess Community Park as part of National Tree Day celebrations on September 21 at 10 a.m.
Theresa Fresco, Manager of the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable: “PGAIR is pleased to be able to support local businesses as they reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. PGAIR will continue to work with the Chamber and their partners on a project that will further improve air quality in the Prince George airshed on a long term basis.”
Project participant Eoin Foley, Co-owner of Nancy O’s Restaurant and UNBC graduate: "We've had a great experience working with the Chamber and students from UNBC to assess our carbon footprint. We have recently received a rebate from Fortis for purchasing new higher efficiency equipment."