Saving money and the environment through corporate sustainability

Halton Region is committed to working together with residents, businesses and our Local Municipalities to make sure we can meet the needs of Halton today and in the future. Residents have indicated that protecting the natural environment is a top priority, and Regional Council is focused on making positive changes to help minimize our impact on climate change.

In the 2011-2014 Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, residents included Corporate Sustainability as a priority area for Halton. In response, Halton staff developed a Corporate Sustainability Action Plan which is used to provide guidance and support for some of our programs and services to ensure we consider sustainability in all we do.

The Action Plan includes focusing on:

  •          Corporate Facilities and Land Management by implementing green building practices in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of Halton Regional facilities;
  •          Transportation and Fleet Management by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants associated with transportation;
  •          Corporate Energy Management by reducing corporate energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while participating in energy conservation programs;
  •          Water Conservation and Waste Management by reducing water consumption and increasing waste diversion at corporate facilities and from Regional projects;
  •          Green Procurement by including sustainable practices and products for bid calls and future contracts of goods and services; and
  •          A culture of sustainability by promoting sustainability awareness among staff and reducing paper use, including paperless Council meetings.

But we can’t do it alone and that’s why Halton’s commitment to sustainability extends past our corporate operations. Whether we’re planning how our communities will grow while protecting our natural heritage systems, creating water efficiency programs or introducing sustainable waste management practices, our local actions make a difference and help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

For example, Halton’s landfill was originally planned to close in 2012. Thanks to the diversion efforts of our residents, the landfill life has been extended to 2044. With a replacement cost running up to $1 billion, this commitment to increasing diversion not only benefits our natural environment, it’s also good for Halton’s taxpayer.

Halton also makes it easier for you to make sustainable choices while on the road. Carpooling is something that not only saves you time and money, it also helps to remove pollutants from our air. With every carpool having the potential to take at least one car off the road, it’s a smart alternative and that’s why Halton has partnered with Metrolinx through the Smart Commute Halton program. Working together, we’re making it easy for you and your company to have sustainable transportation options.

We’re committed to making it easy for you to make sustainable choice in your home, on the road and in your community. Working together we can help preserve our vibrant communities and the natural environment. If you would like to learn more about Halton Region’s sustainability initiatives, please visit www.halton.ca/sustainability.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Creating healthy communities through active transportation

In Halton we have many programs and policies in place (and in development) that support Halton as a great place to be active and live sustainably. We value citizen’s input in the work that we do, and a great example of this is the Health Department’s walkON program.

walkON is a program that promotes the idea of the walkable, bikeable, and transit walkOnsupportive communities, encouraging people to walk, bike or take transit as an alternative to driving.

One of the unique features of this program is that it is based on a partnership that includes many different members of our community. Some of these members include:

  • Citizens
  • Activists
  • Government staff
  • Elected officials
  • Service providers
  • Businesses

The role of the Health Department is to coordinate and bring people together and to support communities that are working to organize and improve their neighbourhoods. walkON also offers a variety of tools to help support those interested in making a change. In 2012, the program focused on delivering two successful multi-sectoral workshops, as laid out in our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.

The first workshop was held in Georgetown and focused on the walkability, safety and accessibility of older adults. The end result of the workshop was that commitments were made by both the Town and residents to inquire about local infrastructure changes to help seniors access local shops with ease.

The second workshop held in Oakville has led to a coalition of many existing partners called the Oakville Sustainable Transportation Coalition. This coalition is still in its infancy and they are building on the Town’s strong policy base to work hand-in-hand making walking, cycling and transit use more practical for its local residents.

Currently Halton Region is creating an Active Transportation Master Plan to help connect our communities.  To learn more about how you can get involved, or if you would like to learn more about walkON and other health related programs, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Participate in Earth Hour this Saturday

Halton Region encourages all residents and businesses to participate in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Earth Hour is an annual, world-wide event, organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The event encourages businesses and households to turn off non-essential lights and appliances for one hour.

Earth Hour

The purpose of Earth Hour is to bring awareness about the importance of taking action to fight climate change. Earth Hour brings people together for a common goal; to think about our role in climate change and consider the steps we can take toward greener, sustainable living.

Halton Region is focused on making positive changes to help minimize our impact on climate change. Corporate Sustainability is noted as a key initiative in the 2012-2014 Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. Residents have indicated that this initiative is of great importance in Halton.

Internally, Halton staff has developed a Corporate Sustainability Action Plan. This is our plan of how we will meet the sustainability priority set in the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan as a corporation.

The plan focuses on several initiatives:

  1. Corporate Facilities and Land Management – Energy Star electronic equipment (printers, photocopiers, computer monitors) used in all Halton Regional facilities
  2. Transportation and Fleet Management – reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and other air pollutants associated with transportation
  3. Corporate Energy Management – reduce energy consumption, participate in energy conservation programs
  4. Water Conservation and Waste Management – increase water diversion at corporate facilities; Green Cart program expanded to all Regional facilities
  5. Green Procurement – include sustainable practices and products for bid calls and future contracts of goods and services
  6. Sustainability Culture – reduce paper use, paperless Council meetings

Starting at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, lights and non-essential electrical equipment at Regional facilities, those that do not compromise public safety or interfere with essential services, will be turned off for one hour in support of this global initiative.

I encourage you to join other communities across the world in this event to show your commitment to fight climate change. Turn off all non-essential lights and appliances in your own home during Earth Hour. Spend some time thinking about what you and your family can do to reduce your energy consumption.

What can you do to live more energy efficiently? How will you make a difference?

For tips on what you can do to reduce climate change, please visit our website www.halton.ca.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Sustainability (video)

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”