The City of Victoria has committed itself to being a leader in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use from its municipal operations in order to be carbon neutral by the end of 2012.

Now, not everyone can commit to a goal like this; not just yet. Some are ahead
of the game and some are just getting started. The Inn at Laurel Point, since 2010, has led the way by being the first hotel in BC to offset their greenhouse gas emissions and be
a carbon neutral accommodation. Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours, winning
Vancouver Islands 2011 Tourism Sustainability Award, believes that it's more
than the day to day activities, although a large component, but the focus needs
to be long term. Here at Tourism Victoria, we are proud to be among such
environmentally responsible businesses. Our accreditation as a Climate Smart
has given us the opportunity to communicate small and
medium sized businesses to help manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While we help educate, we're also
practicing the following in order to green our business and to encourage others
to do the same:

  • We have a recycling centre in our staff room where
         disposable coffee cups and lids, paper towels, glass, paper, tin,
         refundables and soft plastics are separated and sorted into a series of

  • We use a compost system for all compostable materials
         and the compost is picked up weekly by Pedal to Petal, a local bicycle powered
         compost pick up service

  • Instead of buying bottles of water, we've setup an
         in-house water filtration system

  • All computers have been set to energy smart modes
  • 100 per cent post-consumer waste paper is used
         throughout the office

  • 100 per cent recycled cardstock is used for all
         business cards

  • Instead of printing and sending paycheques, ePost is used as an

  • Recycled printer toner cartridges are used where

Maybe you're doing some of these already, maybe you're not, but it's never too late to start practicing these simple steps and become a more environmentally responsible business.
If you're in the early stages and are looking to get started, here are a few
steps to get your business started:

  1. Set goals. What do you want to achieve? What do you
         want your company to achieve?

  2. Choose a nonprofit or other organization to partner
         with. Get to know the group, and make sure it's sound, upstanding,
         geographically convenient and willing to cooperate with you in developing
         a partnership. This will help you paint your vision of the future

  3. Involve employees. Unless you get employees involved
         from the beginning, they won't be able to communicate the real caring
         involved in the campaign to customers

  4. Involve customers. Don't just do something good and
         tell your customers about it later. Get customers involved, too. A
         sporting goods store could have customers bring in used equipment for a
         children's shelter, then give them a 15 per cent discount on new
         purchases. Make it easy for customer to do good; then reward them for
         doing it

Hopefully now you're getting excited about moving forward in a more environmentally responsible direction. Tourism Victoria is always thrilled to hear your ideas and success stories and is ready to answer any of your questions or at least, point you in the right direction. We're very active on our social media platforms so please join us in the conversation as we aim to greenify our operations more and help you do the same.