Together, we’re demonstrating that a more sustainable economy is possible.
Sustainability CoLab supports a network of member non-profits that are helping businesses thrive by becoming more environmentally sustainable.
CoLab Network member programs support networks of local businesses in setting and achieving sustainability targets and celebrate them for progress made.
To foster results-focused networks that embed sustainability into how businesses operate.
An economy that makes environmental sustainability, human well-being, and business success synonymous.
Sustainability CoLab was inspired by the success of Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR)’s flagship program, the Regional Carbon Initiative (RCI), which has built a thriving sustainability network in Waterloo Region that works with organizations to set and achieve carbon reduction goals.
In the first five years, the RCI engaged 65 members in Waterloo Region – representing over 14% of the Region’s workforce – who collectively committed to reducing carbon emissions by 53,000 tonnes annually (equivalent to taking 12,000 cars off the road each year). The program also achieved financial self-sufficiency over this period, ensuring it will continue to operate regardless of external factors. Read more about the RCI in SWR’s 2014 Report.
The idea for Sustainability CoLab had its genesis in 2010. As the RCI began to demonstrate rapid success, other communities– from Ukraine to the U.S. to Niagara Region—became increasingly interested in adapting the model of what CoLab now refers to as “target-based sustainability programs”. Out of this demand came the idea: take what worked in Waterloo Region and try to scale it out to a provincial, national, perhaps even global movement.
Soon after, SWR’s founder and then Executive Director, Mike Morrice, began to coach and mentor a few interested communities during evenings and weekends. By January 2011, the Niagara Sustainability Initiative had launched their own target-based sustainability program, the Carbon Project.
Following Trillium-funded research on how to share this approach with communities across Canada and an incubation period within Sustainable Waterloo Region to get off the ground, Sustainability CoLab fully incorporated as a national non-profit in January 2012.
In 2013, we hired our full-time staff, solidified our founding board of directors, secured initial funding and selected the first round of member organizations to begin supporting. After over two years of development, Sustainability CoLab officially launched on January 16, 2014 with a network of five community organizations at various stages of launching or growing their own unique target-based sustainability programs. Since then, we’ve grown to a total of eight organizations in the CoLab Network, with eight target-based sustainability programs launched – Carbon 613 in Ottawa, the Carbon Project in Niagara Region, ClimateWise Business Network in York Region, Durham Partners in Project Green in Durham Region, Green Economy Kingston in Kingston, and Green Economy North in Sudbury, the Regional Sustainability Initiative in Waterloo Region, and the Sustainable Business Initiative in Hamilton-Burlington.