From supply chain issues, to talent shortages, to increased fuel and operating costs, New Brunswick businesses are feeling the pinch in many ways these days.
While the need to take climate action has never been greater, working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) can feel like a luxury that many organizations find challenging to prioritize right now.
In reality, the tight economic conditions are exactly why businesses should look at climate action today — it’s an untapped tool for New Brunswick organizations of all sectors and sizes to become stronger and more competitive. Through our work at Green Economy New Brunswick and the work of other Green Economy Hubs across the country, we know first-hand that reducing emissions often leads to cost savings, a more engaged workforce, and stronger relationships with customers and stakeholders. That’s exactly the kind of edge that New Brunswick businesses need right now to stay resilient through economic downturns and an accelerating global shift to a low-carbon future.
Climate action can sound complicated but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it’s just good business sense. A big source of emissions for many businesses comes from the energy used to heat and cool their office or production facility, and to power the lighting and equipment that they use. Measures like insulating your building, reducing air leaks from windows and doors, installing a programmable thermostat, increasing the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, upgrading to LED lights, and shutting off equipment when not in use are all proven actions that can make a big difference to reducing your emissions and your energy bills.
Take Veriform, for example. They are a small steel and metal fabricator in Cambridge, Ontario, and a member of our sister Green Economy Hub in the Waterloo Region. A significant portion of Veriform’s GHG emissions came from natural gas usage. By installing a programmable thermostat, and a disconnect on their bay doors to turn off the heating when the doors were opened, they were able to save over $20,000 each year. Through this and other projects, Veriform has now cut its monthly energy bill from $6000/month to $540/month, reduced their overall emissions by 75%, and saved over $2M cumulatively since implementing these changes.
Transportation is another big source of emissions for many companies, and a growing expense item as gas prices increase. Reducing the need for business travel and employee commuting, and encouraging more collaborative and active forms of transportation can save money for both businesses and employees. It can also have employee health and time saving benefits.
Shifting the company fleet to electric vehicles is another way to save on both gas and maintenance costs, and helps future-proof businesses as Canada shifts to an all EV sales future by 2035. For businesses that transport goods, consolidating shipments, optimizing delivery routes, and implementing anti-idling policies can all serve to reduce company expenses and emissions.
In the struggle that many companies are facing to recruit and retain top talent, sustainability can be an important differentiator. It can also help businesses connect with customers who are increasingly looking for green products and services, and stay competitive as larger businesses and government customers start to include sustainability as part of their purchasing criteria.
Businesses tell us they may want to do more to address climate change, but it can be tough to know where to start, what actions to take, or how to take their sustainability programs even further. That’s exactly why Green Economy New Brunswick launched in January 2022– to be a local resource for businesses looking to set and achieve sustainability goals and maximize the business benefits of taking action.
Our non-profit Hub provides training, resources, 1:1 support, a peer network, and public recognition to help organizations on their sustainability journey.
We know that with a little support, businesses can do their part to address climate change and increase the well-being of our communities while leading the transition to a low-carbon economy. There has never been a better time for climate action and resources like Green Economy New Brunswick exist to help on that journey.