January 11th, 2024

Wild Rock Outfitters in Peterborough is committed to climate action and promoting environmentally conscious enjoyment of the outdoors. To reduce emissions, Wild Rock decided in 2022 to no longer offer their overseas cycling tours through Wild Rock Travel. As loved as these tours were, the business has received a lot of support from customers for this decision and is now offering rewarding journeys closer to home. (Photo courtesy of Tori Silvera / Wild Rock Outfitters)

Wild Rock Outfitters in Peterborough is committed to climate action and promoting environmentally conscious enjoyment of the outdoors. To reduce emissions, Wild Rock decided in 2022 to no longer offer their overseas cycling tours through Wild Rock Travel. As loved as these tours were, the business has received a lot of support from customers for this decision and is now offering rewarding journeys closer to home. (Photo courtesy of Tori Silvera / Wild Rock Outfitters)

By: Jackie Donaldson, Program Coordinator, Green Economy Peterborough

As we haul ourselves out of the cozy holiday season, a time of reflection and the occasional overindulgence, we are faced with a new year, and of course, the potential for a fresh start.

Like the New Year’s resolutions we make for ourselves, a business too, can make a commitment that aims for improvement. A business can increase their efficiency, costs savings and resiliency, for example, when they resolve to address their environmental impact.

In our region, many small business leaders recognize the value of setting green goals, like those related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

“Adopting sustainability practices is not only a moral responsibility but also a strategic business decision,” states Tori Silvera, General Manager of Wild Rock Outfitters, in downtown Peterborough. “Both employees and consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental issues, and many prefer to support – and work for – businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.”

Small enterprises are uniquely positioned to become sustainability leaders.

“Small businesses have the flexibility to do more ‘unconventional’ things than large corporations,” says Adeilah Dahlke, owner of Jigsaw Organizing Solutions. “We should be inspiring others to do the same as we lead the way to make change within our industries!”

Adeilah Dahlke of Jigsaw Organizing Solutions in Peterborough stands in a kitchen that is ready to be decluttered. As a Green Economy Leader passionate about waste reduction, Jigsaw Organizing Solutions is working to set sustainability goals that are measurable and attainable. (Photo courtesy of Adeilah Dahlke / Jigsaw Organizing Solutions)

Adeilah Dahlke of Jigsaw Organizing Solutions in Peterborough stands in a kitchen that is ready to be decluttered. As a Green Economy Leader passionate about waste reduction, Jigsaw Organizing Solutions is working to set sustainability goals that are measurable and attainable. (Photo courtesy of Adeilah Dahlke / Jigsaw Organizing Solutions)

If you own a business or work for one, why not make a commitment to a healthy environment this new year? As with making personal resolutions, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Business resolutions are measurable, relevant, achievable, and time-bound commitments (SMART goals, to those in project management). Like a personal resolution, a well-defined sustainability goal can keep us moving forward and can allow us to celebrate once we get there. These goals should be tracked and re-evaluated regularly and are most effective when communicated across multiple platforms, whether internally to staff, or externally to customers or other stakeholders.

Environmental business goals, like personal resolutions, are based on a deep understanding of the long-term implications of taking no action. Ultimately, they reflect a commitment to a healthy future. “Our guests feel good knowing that we’re investing in the care of humanity, animals, and the protection of our natural environment for future generations to enjoy,” states Steve Wildfong, co-owner of Lake Edge Cottages, a resort near Young’s Point.

As with personal resolutions, knowing where to begin and getting help along the way can dampen any discouragement or frustration encountered. As we might seek guidance from friends and family, support groups, or experts, businesses should similarly seek sustainability insight from other companies, business and industry associations, governments, and non-profit organizations.

Jakob Wildfong of Lake Edge Cottages, a member of Green Economy Peterborough, conducts a tour of their resort property near Young’s Point, which includes a 110-panel solar array installed in 2023. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

Jakob Wildfong of Lake Edge Cottages, a member of Green Economy Peterborough, conducts a tour of their resort property near Young’s Point, which includes a 110-panel solar array installed in 2023. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

Lake Edge Cottages, Jigsaw Organizing Solutions, and Wild Rock Outfitters are all members of Green Economy Peterborough, a program of GreenUP. Alongside their 26 business member peers, these business leaders have made a commitment to reduce their environmental impact.

States Silvera, “The climate crisis is no longer a far-off threat, but a backyard reality. Thankfully the market is evolving alongside our growing awareness. As business owners, we must keep pace for our own good, and for the good of the land and future.”

For more information on Green Economy Peterborough, visit www.greeneconomypeterborough.ca.