Growing Green in Business

ZEROCO2 : Support for concrete action

For over 10 years, ZEROCO2 has been supporting organizations and individuals in efforts to maintain and improve their environmental performance. Initially offering greenhouse gas (GHG) quantification, reduction and offset services, ZEROCO2 has since expanded its activities to promote awareness about the three pillars of sustainable development (environmental, social and economic) and about good governance among its many partner organizations.

The firm offers a range of services and solutions for businesses putting together strategic sustainable development plans, proposing turnkey market development solutions that combine environmental considerations and day-to-day business, implementing innovative projects to offset environmental impacts from corporate, web management and social media activities, in-house training, interventions with employees and more.

The Going Green in Business columns have shown that businesses that make an effort to reduce their environmental footprint reap significant benefits, whether in terms of cost reductions, market positioning, brand image, social acceptance, employee motivation or risk management.

Effectively communicating these changes adds another positive dimension to your commitment. That’s what ZEROCO2tm Certification aims to do. This certification guarantees the integrity and quality of your organization’s quantification, reduction and offsetting efforts. The three levels of recognition – PROACTIVE Organization, ECORESPONSABLE Organization and CARBON NEUTRAL Organization – ensure that your efforts have been effective. It’s a clear, simple way to send a message to your most important stakeholders and communicate responsibly about your products and services.

In addition to offering this certification, over the years ZEROCO2 has developed communication plans about sustainable practices for organizations that want to share their successes, as well as set an example and encourage other actors (citizens, stakeholders and suppliers) to make the move to sustainable development. What are you waiting for to do the same?

To find out about ZEROCO2 certification for your company, click HERE

ZEROCO2 and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal would like to thank loyal followers of the Going Green in Business series.

Sustainable Development Subsidies and Good Practices

Sustainable Development Subsidies and Good Practices

Despite what we may believe, the fight against climate change does not hamper economic development. On the contrary, economic growth and the protection of the environment are complementary and indispensable to the sustainability of a company’s approach to going green!

This is exactly what was revealed in a recent report entitled The New Climate Economy Report.. This massive document was published following an independent commission on climate and the economy, led by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and made up of economists and 24 leaders from the political and business milieus of 19 countries. The report notably finds that by 2030, it would only cost between 1% and 4% of global growth to achieve 50% to 90% of the progress required to meet a target of limiting global warming to two degrees.

Consequently, the longer governments and businesses delay implementing sustainable development efforts, the more our planet will suffer and the more we will pay the price! Green technologies are the energy sources of tomorrow and will soon be responsible for half of new electric production capacities. Yet, many companies remain hesitant to commit themselves to going green due to the level of uncertainty associated with any change or innovation.

This is why there are so many organizations to assist businesses seeking to initiate a process of sustainable development, such as local development centres (CLD), community development aid corporations (SADC), and business assistance centres (CAE).

Several sources of financial aid are also available to businesses seeking to implement better business practices based on various issues requiring improvement in terms of sustainable development. To that end, the Services Québec – Entreprises directory of sustainable development tools allows you to see all of the government aid programs available for each type of sustainable development management issue.

The Network for Business Sustainability has also compiled a list of sustainable development subsidies for businesses. Why not take a look?

Managing the risks of undertaking a process of sustainable development

Managing the risks of undertaking a process of sustainable development

By adopting eco-responsible measures, businesses can do much more than just improve their profitability. They can further satisfy their clientele and bump their reputation up a few notches!

Several surveys have shown that close to two thirds of consumers feel that it is important or very important that environmental criteria are respected when choosing a product or service. A company’s reputation therefore no longer simply involves environmental regulations but perception as well!

According to one case study, companies in Quebec and in France committed to eco-design noted a marked improvement in their image and reputation. And this can be directly attributed to their “eco-designed” products.

It has therefore become essential for these companies to maintain constructive relations with their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, clients, non-profit organizations, investors, etc.), whose sometimes negative perceptions can jeopardize their reputation and value.

These negative perceptions generate what have become known as “social risks.” These include potential damages that may prevent a company from attaining its environmental objectives.

To prevent these negative perceptions from turning into negative actions (boycotts or demonstrations, for example), dialogue with stakeholders is key. Their involvement in the sustainable development process creates new economic, social, and environmental value. It is therefore essential for companies to have transparent management and decision-making processes in every facet of their activity.

Sharing information also allows companies to reduce the risks of being accused of greenwashing, a marketing practice that consists of giving a company a falsely ecologically responsible image. Clients that are properly informed about a company’s environmental practices will have a better opinion of the firm, will be more likely to trust it, and will remain loyal!

> In our next article, learn more about how a company’s sustainable development strategy can help attract and retain talent.

For more information (in French):

Increase your profitability with eco-responsible measures

Increase your profitability with eco-responsible measures

For any company, reducing costs is a definite goal… provided product or service quality doesn’t suffer!

Companies that want to introduce a sustainable development effort aim for eco-efficiency: producing higher quality goods or services with fewer resources while polluting less.

Reducing production costs is useful in a number of ways. It is particularly useful for companies that produce goods subject to regulations that require them to pay for managing the waste they generate.

This is the case for companies that fall under extended producer responsibility and produce products such as batteries, mercury light bulbs and paint. It is also the case for companies subject to the Regulation respecting compensation for municipal services provided to recover and reclaim residual materials that produce, for example, containers, packaging and newspapers.

Reducing the amount of materials generated can therefore have a direct impact on the production chain and an indirect impact on compensation costs for end-of-life recovery.

For service companies, the cost reductions that result from a sustainable development effort are particularly concentrated in operating costs, in particular for supplies, energy, transportation and water. Efforts as simple as promoting reusable cups at work can allow companies to reduce, and even eliminate, the cost of purchasing disposable cups. According to Industry Canada, small businesses can reduce their energy costs by up to 40% simply by maintaining their equipment regularly.

In the next column, discover the benefits of sustainable development for the company’s reputation and building customer loyalty.

To find out more:

Tap into new markets through environmental standards


With globalization, it is in the interest of companies to explore international markets for new business opportunities. But one thing that shouldn’t be ignored in any internationalization effort is… sustainable development!

We addressed it in our last column: environmental practices play a role in the client’s choice of certain suppliers, products or services and allow companies to stand out from the competition.

What’s true locally is also true internationally, sometimes even more so, and a sustainable development effort could make all the difference in doing business on international markets.

In Europe, with which Canada has struck a free-trade agreement that could come into force in 2015, environmental standards are generally stricter than in Canada. Exporters that meet these standards when the agreement comes into effect will have an edge over their competitors in tapping into this market.

Montréal companies would do well to put in place a strategy now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can then assume a leadership position in this area when the market moves in that direction (carbon exchange).

In the next column, find out how sustainable development efforts can help reduce your production and operating costs.

To find out more:

Going green pays!

Going green pays!

When businesses put in place a sustainable development strategy, they do it for better environmental performance, of course. But they quickly realize that going green pays!

People are increasingly aware of the importance of environmentally responsible behaviour. A Gallup poll into consumer habits conducted in 2007 revealed that over two thirds of people consider the environmental virtues of a product when making purchasing decisions. This trend was recently confirmed by the Observatoire de la consommation responsable; the organization’s barometer shows that the responsible behaviour that gained the most ground in 2012 and 2013 was safeguarding the environment.

When buying a good or service, consumers look for a company that shares their environmental values. Eco-design is a tried and true way to better meet their needs, differentiate your products and increase profits. 

Eco-design integrates notions of sustainable development from the initial stages of designing or improving a product so that it better respects the environment and our health.

The benefits of eco-design were recently borne out. According to a Franco-Quebec study by the Institut de développement de produits, far from hampering profitability, eco-design allowed over 85% of companies surveyed to see an increase in revenue from the sale of products or services.

In the next column, find out how sustainable development efforts can help your company break into new markets.

To find out more:

Sustainable development in business

Sustainable development in business

A few years ago, sustainable development, or “going green” was the latest thing. Today it’s more than just a trend: it is a company’s social responsibility and a key to its prosperity.

But just what is sustainable development and how is it implemented?

According to Québec’s Sustainable Development Act, “sustainable development” means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable development means adopting more responsible management practices that improve performance. It’s a long-term vision that takes into account environmental, social and economic factors in day-to-day management and development activities. It’s a process that ensures that a company’s activities make a positive impact on its surroundings.

To implement sustainable development successfully, you need to set off on the right foot. Sustainable development must be based on management buy-in, realistic objectives that take into account the company’s resources and capacities and an action plan for continuous improvement.

To build your efforts on a solid foundation, it’s a good idea to introduce sustainable development gradually and to start with the easiest or most productive projects. This will generate a faster return on investment.

Ideally, your sustainable development efforts should be part of a strategic planning process and include the following elements:

Consulting with stakeholders at every stage in the process
Developing a vision
Completing a diagnosis that identifies priorities
Establishing objectives
Developing an action plan
Evaluating progress and the achievement of objectives using performance indicators
Drafting a sustainable development report and publicizing the organization’s commitment


In two weeks’ time, find out about subsidies available to companies for their sustainable development efforts.

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