Launch of Green Economy London marks 7th hub in growing network

Will Heeman of Heeman's Garden Centre and Strawberry Farm on May 13, 2019. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

The official launch of Green Economy London marks the seventh hub of a growing movement.

Green Economy Canada is a network of hubs, currently all in Ontario, that allows businesses to set and achieve sustainability targets for energy, waste, and water reduction.

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“They offer different services to the businesses so they can actually hit those achievements. A lot of businesses, especially small- to medium-sized enterprises don’t have somebody on staff to do sustainability work so that’s where we come in,” said Skylar Franke, executive director of the London Environmental Network.

One of those businesses is Heeman’s Garden Centre and Strawberry Farm at 20422 Nissouri Rd. in Thorndale, which also served as the site of Monday’s official launch. The business is hoping to improve energy efficiency by conducting a complete heat audit and to continue efforts to reduce plastic use.

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“There’s little things that we’re already in steps to action, in terms of replacing all of our containers for all of the delicious strawberry sundaes and coffees that we have, we’re going to be moving over to completely biodegradable containers on those,” Will Heeman began.

“But we look forward to, quite frankly, the things that we don’t know yet. There are things that you know that you need to change within your business but I really look forward to finding out the things that are right in front of us that we can improve that we don’t know about yet.”

Mayor Ed Holder was also at the launch event, where he encouraged all of London’s roughly 14,000 businesses to take part.

“We all have that sense about climate change and the impact, but when you can do it in such a way that also has a positive impact as a business to your pocketbook, why wouldn’t you? Not only does it make great sense as a human being, it makes great sense as a business as well which is why we encourage all businesses to embrace this.”

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The London Community Foundation is providing a $200,000 grant while the City of London is giving $50,300 in start-up capital. Labatt’s, TRY Recycling, and MTE Consultants are also supporting the launch as founding partners.

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“Then the founding members kind of supplement that,” Franke added.

“So essentially, we have three years of seed funding to kickoff and then after four years the membership fees sustain the program.”

Green Economy Canada began in Waterloo Region and also has hubs in Ottawa, Hamilton and Burlington, York Region, Sudbury, and Kingston.

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