Ecology Action Centre

action is our middle name

Learn More about Our Sustainability Allies

We asked each of our Sustainability Allies three questions:

  • Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
  • What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
  • Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?

See their answers below!

 

MEC

Running a business, any business, has impacts on the environment. It’s important to identify the impacts, locate connections and find ways to contribute to conservation efforts that are directly linked to the operation of the business.

- MEC

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?

At MEC, we seek to inspire and enable everyone to lead active outdoor lifestyles. Through the years, we’ve built a solid relationship between our Halifax store and the Ecology Action Centre, and our teams now collaborate closely. We count on credible local partnerships like this one to provide insights, steward appreciation and respect for the environment and to improve and facilitate access to the outdoors in Nova Scotia.

What kinds of things is MEC doing that have a positive impact on the environment or community?

Running a business, any business, has impacts on the environment. It’s important to identify the impacts, locate connections and find ways to contribute to conservation efforts that are directly linked to the operation of the business.

At MEC, this connection is quite clear. We are an outdoor equipment retailer with a social mission at our core. Taking the lead from our social purpose, through our community investment and engagement we want to forge connections among Canadians and help them to be active outside.

Through our community investment grants, product donations and partnerships, we support and collaborate with organizations sharing and teaching responsible outdoor recreation practices, reducing barriers to outdoor activity, and who maintain environmental stewardship as a priority. Nationally, we strive to establish long-term partnerships with organizations that have the necessary expertise to conserve areas of significant ecological or outdoor recreational value..

To further build a community of outdoor enthusiasts, we organize numerous events across the country. Things like run crews, bike challenges, in store lectures and races are all designed to reduce the barriers that prevent people from accessing outdoor activities.

Personally, why is the environment and community development important to you?

Having grown up in the country, nature has always been my anchor. Nature is my sanctuary, my source of wonder, my playground. I wish for everyone to develop this privileged relationship with endless benefits.

But the fragility of nature is increasingly apparent. Conservation organizations do admirable work and it’s crucial that they be supported to continue their mission.

By working for a cooperative that inspires people to get outside and that contributes to conservation efforts across the country, I am combining business with pleasure.

 

https://www.mec.ca/

 

Down East Cleaning Products

"We operate our business with the belief that industry should be able to operate without having a negative effect on the environment and where possible, should have a positive benefit to our local community."

-Down East Cleaning Products

 

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?

We have continuously valued sustainability and the Ecology Action Centre carries the same core values in believing that the environment is tied to the well-being of society. EAC has become a great voice to environmental issues and the local community and economy. They continue to advocate and engage the community through excellent articles and engaging political and community initiatives. 

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?

We operate our business with the belief that industry should be able to operate without having a negative effect on the environment and where possible, should have a positive benefit to our local community.

We use local manufacturers and suppliers wherever possible, resulting in many of our raw materials being manufactured in Nova Scotia. Thus the company uses products from Nova Scotia manufacturers Ropak in Springhill, Access Labels in Amhurst and Maritime Paper in Dartmouth. 

We pride ourselves on being environmentally conscious. One service we offer is a buyback program for our containers and drums, which has resulted in the reuse of over 20,000 - containers and drums, thus reducing waste to Nova Scotia landfills.

Likewise, Bebbington Industries’ popular consumer Down East Cleaning Products are EcoLogo certified to have reduced environmental impact. DOWN EAST Cleaning Products are made with approved GREEN ingredients and are biodegradable helping them to leave minimal environmental footprint. These products are also VOC free and are non-scented in consideration of people with allergies and sensitivities and are listed in the “Guide to Less Toxic Products.” - www.lesstoxicguide.ca

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?

By working with local companies it maintains and improves the industrial infrastructure of the Nova Scotia economy.  When you buy local products, your money stays in the region for a greater period, which allows its circulation to pass through more hands, and benefit more people. Three times more money stays in the provincial economy when buying locally made products compared to buying products made elsewhere. Buying local also has environmental benefits by reducing transportation costs, pollution, and greenhouse gases. 

 
http://www.downeastclean.com/

 

Bonnyman's Wild Blueberries

Angus Bonnyman, Bonnyman's Blueberries"Now is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture, and I feel that there are a number of great opportunities for small businesses to flourish in rural Nova Scotia without sacrificing the environment, it's just made easier with the support of folks at the EAC."

-Angus Bonnyman, Bonnyman's Blueberries

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
 As a primary producer who has chosen to go the 'spray-free' route instead of organic, it's the relationships that are important and the partnership with the EAC has helped me meet like-minded folks who are just as excited about some of the things that we are doing as I am.  As a third-generation wild blueberry farmer who has had the opportunity to work off-the-farm for several years I am fortunate to be able to stand back and assess how I want to do things.  For me it's about having a fabulous product that my customers enjoy. 

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
We do a number of things to benefit the environment and the local economy.  On the environmental front, we cultivate our fabulous spray-free wild blueberries without the use of anything synthetic (no pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers) and rather build the soil with the use of compost tea, lobster shells and gypsum.  We avoid lengthy trips to processing facilities by cooperating with a local farmer who runs a cleaning line for her berries, and she is one of the first customers to receive wind-power from the Colchester-Cumberland Wind Farm, a CEDIF that we supported.  Finally, our packaging is recyclable or compostable and deliveries are made as part of a longer list of errands whenever possible.

In terms of supporting the economy, we buy local.  We support two local beekeepers during the pollination season.  We hire local students and crew to help with the harvest in August and are an equal-opportunity employer.  We cooperate with a local farm to clean our berries which helps utilize excess capacity, and they hire several high school students to get that job done.

We are also involved in the Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival (mid - late August) and organize a picnic on an annual basis that has raised nearly $20k for local breakfast programs in the last three years as well as provided the funding to sponsor a garden in South Africa through Slow Food International.   We also make in-kind donations to local organizations and a cash donation to the EAC for every box of spray-free wild blueberries sold retail.

We also support local farmers by their products to our customers as often as possible.

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
Being from a village in rural Nova Scotia and from a family of entrepreneurs it has always been impressed upon me to do the right thing, and for me, that's a “triple bottom line” (people, planet, profit) approach, not purely a financial one (in spite of the fact that I am a Chartered Accountant by training). 

Now is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture, and I feel that there are a number of great opportunities for small businesses to flourish in rural Nova Scotia without sacrificing the environment, it's just made easier with the support of folks at the EAC.

www.facebook.com/NSWildBlueberries

 

Helping Nature Heal

Rosmarie Lohnes"On a personal level I feel deeply committed and responsible for all my actions. I feel that each of us has an inherent ethical duty to do our best to respect, and protect the environment, after all if we don’t have clean air, water and food what is the point of our lives?"

-Rosmarie Lohnes, Helping Nature Heal

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
I appreciate the work that the EAC does, the organization seems to be at the forefront of all environmental issues, and has good exposure speaking out about issues. I often see a representative on the evening news, or a rally of some sort in the media. I like the public awareness.

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?I strongly believe that healthy environments require resilient communities. At Helping Nature Heal, we contribute both time and energy to local community projects focused on environmental sustainability and food security. This year, we’ve even hired a Community Engagement Manager to take the lead on this important work.

We also pride ourselves on sourcing local materials and using ecological practices. This is includes carpooling, recycling, seed-saving, organic materials and services from trusted suppliers within a 100 km radius, environmentally friendly office practices, and a strict no chemical policy.

Our whole company is about healing the earth and our connection to it, which in turn heals us. I am deeply committed to enacting this mission at all levels of our work at Helping Nature Heal.

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
On a personal level I feel deeply committed and responsible for all my actions. I feel that each of us has an inherent ethical duty to do our best to respect, and protect the environment, after all if we don’t have clean air, water and food what is the point of our lives?
 

Helping Nature Heal  www.helpingnatureheal.com/

 

Innovative Real Estate

Trevor Parsons, Innovative Real Estate”When we contemplated support for EAC, we realized that just using recycled paper and adding the line, “please recycle” to our marketing mail-outs was an inadequate response to the environmental crisis we are facing.”

-Trevor Parsons, Innovative Real Estate

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
Because EAC has successfully demonstrated the connection between environmental issues, local communities and the local economy. Unlike the average politician, I am more concerned about leaving an environmental deficit than I am about any government budget deficit. As the saying goes, “If you think the economy is more important than the environment, then try holding your breath while you count your money”.  EAC has shone a bright light on the many environmental issues facing all of us and done so by bringing these concerns to the attention of the general public with excellent articles in local media outlets, as well as engaging political and business leaders in conversations about these serious issues.

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
At the moment, the main contribution we are making is our financial support of Ecology Action Centre. When we contemplated support for EAC, we realized that just using recycled paper and adding the line, “please recycle” to our marketing mail-outs was an inadequate response to the environmental crisis we are facing. For that reason, we have totally eliminated the use of mass flyer distribution. We have also retired our water cooler. Small steps, I know, but it’s a start. We are also doing our best to help create awareness of environmental issues – particularly in regards to the idea of shopping local and how that can have an impact on the local economy and hence help to reduce our carbon footprint. We are also doing our best to create environmental awareness through our web site and various social media.

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
As someone who spends their free time exploring and enjoying Nova Scotia’s diminishing wild places, I believe it is important to have a group of knowledgeable, energetic environmentalists who are committed to protecting our natural world. Having spent most of my life in the province, I have come to the realization that the infinite growth model of economic development is not sustainable – not just in Nova Scotia, but on the entire planet. As someone who came of age during the sixties and seventies, I carry a certain amount of guilt for the horrific mess my generation is leaving for my kids and other young people.  My hope is that, in some small way, I can contribute towards the mitigation of the damage we as a generation have caused and I see my support of EAC as an opportunity to do just that.

 

Innovative Real Estate

   www.innovativerealestate.ca
 

 

Mothers Pizza

Tyson Watcher"Factory farming has changed our diets in an all encompassing way and as such I feel very strongly that we should educate ourselves on what is seasonally and locally available, and how to develop a more personal relationship with the food that we eat."

-Tyson Watcher, Mother's Pizza

 

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
We value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre because of their continued efforts to raise awareness towards environmental issues which affect everyone, including but certainly not limited to their instrumental role in creating the recycling program that we all share in Nova Scotia.
The E.A.C. also pays particular attention to issues of food sustainability and agricultural education in our province which, especially as a restaurant has far reaching implications that we sincerely believe will be long lasting and beneficial for future generations.

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
We consider ourselves a community oriented business, nearly all of our employees are within walking distance to work, we have bike racks outside of the restaurant to encourage healthier methods of transportation, and we participate in community events when possible. In the warmer months we maintain our own roof top garden where we produce a number of herbs and vegetables which we feature on our menu which changes seasonally to promote local produce and seasonal food awareness. We also do our best to foster personal relationships with our customers and support a large number of local suppliers.
We strongly feel that Nova Scotia contains a rich and deeply rooted history of food production, from our seafood to the overwhelming variety of apples grown in the Annapolis Valley, our rapidly expanding wine production and the world renowned blueberries which come from our province. Mothers is proud to be a part of that tradition by making our food from scratch and being involved with local farmers and breweries.

Our restaurant feeds tens of thousands of people annually and as a result , produces an inevitably large amount of waste. We feel that It is part of our moral responsibility to try to decrease our waste streams, and properly sort our recycling and compost, using the latter to fertilize our garden in the warmer months, choosing to use recycled materials for packaging, and attempting to ally ourselves with like minded businesses.

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
Community development is important to me because I feel as a business owner and chef there is a moral responsibility to give something back to the community. I feel fortunate to have been able to connect with so many like minded people and consider many of our suppliers to be personal friends. We have the opportunity to support one another so why not? Our meats come from a chef who hand picks the animals he butchers sourced from local farmers, and personally delivers to us every week. Ive taken tours of the breweries we deal with, and have most of these peoples personal phone numbers. That doesn't happen with big companies. Product is fresher and healthier this way and our money stays localized with this mentality. Sometimes these things come at a higher price, but they also are of an outstanding quality. 

I am very passionate about environmental development as well for similar reasons. We are lucky enough to live an hour away from one of the most prolific producers of food in the country, the Annapolis Valley and have so many apple varieties in Nova Scotia that some  have been entirely lost. In general I feel as though our generation has created a climate of ignorance regarding our food production, and have distanced ourselves a concerning amount from our food sources. During my journey as a cook this became painfully obvious and upsetting. The knowledge of butchery, pickling and preserving for example that would have been commonplace 50 years ago is foreign to many of us now. Factory farming has changed our diets in an all encompassing way and as such I feel very strongly that we should educate ourselves on what is seasonally and locally available, and how to develop a more personal relationship with the food that we eat.
 

Mother's Pizza www.motherspizzacanada.com/

 

P'Lovers Environmental Store

Shelby Lendrum"I believe profoundly in the importance of a “we” mentality. I have always felt a strong connection to my environment and have known since I was young that I wanted to share that passion with those around me."

-Shelby Lendrum, P’Lovers Environmental Store

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
We most value the connection that EAC provides to our busy little business with the important grassroots movements happening around us everyday. These movements are the foundation upon which P'lovers was built. EAC is our lifeline to where P'lovers came from and why we do what we do every day.

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
P'lovers offers its communities only the best alternatives available to make green living simple, mindful and easy.

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
I believe profoundly in the importance of a "we" mentality. I have always felt a strong connection to my environment and have known since I was young that I wanted to share that passion with those around me. When I found P'lovers, in 1996, I saw an opportunity to share my passion with the community I live in, the communities I visit but more important with those who visit the P'lovers community.
 

P'lovers  plovers.net

 

Just Us Coffee

"To truly take responsibility for the results of your work and your actions in your workplace, community or (more generally) on this Earth is of paramount importance. Every one of us shapes the world that we live in with every decision we make."

-Joey Pittoello, Just Us Coffee

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
Environmental and social justice are key components in Just Us!’ business philosophy and we feel that the work that EAC does is critical to ensuring environmental and social justice for our local communities now and into the future. Without organizations like the EAC, government and industry tend to neglect the critical and intertwined roles our environment and communities play in ensuring a sustainable future for the land and the dizzying number of organisms inhabiting it.
 
What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
Just Us! has been working for 20 years to demonstrate that business can be profitable without the exploitation of our planet and the people that live on it. Although we are far from perfect we aim to highlight the great value that small-scale, democratically-organized, and organic producers offer through direct fair trade relationships with coffee producers around the world.
 
As a worker co-op we feel it’s important to put the responsibility of our business in the hands of the people who work within it. To truly take responsibility for the results of your work and your actions in your workplace, community or (more generally) on this Earth is of paramount importance. Every one of us shapes the world that we live in with every decision we make.
 
Our dedication to organic production methods, direct and meaningful relationships with producer organizations, investment in producer communities and our own, indigenous rights, democratic organizations, and our newly established Just Us! Centre for Small Farms are a number of examples of ways we make a positive impact in our environment and community as well as those in the Global South.
 
Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
We make the world we live in—as individuals, families, organizations/businesses, communities, and on a national and global scale. If we don’t care for and nurture the environment and communities in which we live how can we as members of our community and environment expect to grow in a healthy and sustainable way? Many of the struggles we deal with such as poverty, discrimination, and environmental degradation stem from a general lack of respect we exhibit for everything around us. Contributing positively to environmental and community development builds a strong sense of respect for one another and the environment that makes it possible for us to exist in the first place.

Just Us www.justuscoffee.com

Garrison Brewing Co.

Brian Titus"I try and approach business (& life) from an optimistic angle. I can make beer, period. I can also make beer using local materials and supplies, sort out my waste streams, improve efficiencies, build relationships with local restaurants/groups and create a unique and welcoming destination that creates pride among locals and draws visitors from far and wide."

-Brian Titus, Garrison Brewing Co.

Why do you value a partnership with the Ecology Action Centre?
Craft Beer is about traditional products resulting from sustainable practices and natural ingredients. Maintaining a healthy environment is not only a real-time benefit to our business, it's essential and the right thing to do.  By partnering with the Ecology Action Centre, Garrison hopes to assist in raising awareness around environmental challenges and championing real-world solutions. We believe our combined efforts will foster a culture of environmental stewardship that resonates with suppliers, staff & customers alike.

What kinds of things are you doing within your business to have a positive impact on our environment or community?
As a business we benefit greatly from people supporting local. In return, we factor the community & environment around us into everything we do. We believe positive change comes from doing many small things right and for Garrison, the list is extensive. We buy nearly 80% of our malted barley from New Brunswick in bulk form and shipped by rail. We work with a number of small, local hop farmers and run our own test plot with Ross Farm Museum. Other local raw materials are often profiled in our specialty brews including spruce tips, raw honey, maple syrup, lavender and even bog myrtle. After brewing, all spent grain becomes cattle and pig feed given to farmers at no cost. Our brewing tanks are all fabricated by a PEI manufacturer and fired by natural gas and steam. Both Seaport breweries were located in derelict properties which we refurbished. Biodegradable cleaners, stainless kegs and refillable bottles and growlers help further lessen our production footprint. Even the cups we use at festivals and events are biodegradable, made from corn starch!
   
Our community ties go deep as well. We've done several charity brews over the years and supported many causes. We've poured local beer at the Halifax Jazzfest since 1999, and been supporting partners of many others including the Atlantic Film Festival, Multicultural Festival, OutEast Film fest, Obey Convention and Hal-Con. Add in running, biking and swimming clubs, amateur sports, small business, health, education and the environment and it's clear we're part of a VERY large community.

Personally, why is the environment/community development important to you?
I try and approach business (& life) from an optimistic angle. I can make beer, period. I can also make beer using local materials and supplies, sort out my waste streams, improve efficiencies, build relationships with local restaurants/groups and create a unique and welcoming destination that creates pride among locals and draws visitors from far and wide. These things are as important to me as the great craft beer that made them all possible.
 

Garrison http://garrisonbrewing.com/

2705 Fern Lane, Halifax, Nova Scotia | 902.429.2202 | ecologyaction.ca FacebookTwitter

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