Equip Ontario cities and their businesses to understand their emissions by sector, size and emission source to achieve reductions & savings.
At Climate Smart, we have been working with small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) to help them reduce their GHG footprints since 2007. Since then, we have worked with close to 900 businesses and aggregated a unique dataset that sheds light on SME emissions. Climate Smart also provides a certification program for SMEs. We have trained over 1600 people through 135 cohorts. On average, businesses achieve an impressive 11% reduction in GHG emissions, and an annual savings of $27,000.
In 2016 , we began to use our unique aggregated data to help cities and municipalities, create a projected baseline of their business community emissions. This presently includes 16 Communities, 5 of which are in Ontario. We call this projection a BEEP - Business Energy & Emissions Profile.
Municipal leaders may be on the front lines of the issues generated by climate change, but they often have limited tools and resources to work with. Still, they are on the case, and many are putting in place policies and programs to reduce their own emissions and encouraging their local businesses to follow suit. With sophisticated tools such as BEEP, community leaders can identify opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions and more effectively engage with local businesses.
We have a growing list of 10 Ontario communities interested in our solution. We propose to develop and provide the 10 BEEPs for the municipalities. We also propose to host a strategic convening with our partners to share insights and data trends. We want to create the optimal conditions for smart and cost efficient actions to reduce SMEs’ carbon emissions.
In partnership with Green Economy Canada, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and with funding from HSBC and the JW McConnell Foundation, we will be delivering a pilot Climate Smart certification program in Toronto, to train SMEs into measuring their GHG emissions and identifying or curating innovative practices to achieve emission reductions and cost savings.
How do you know that your solution is desirable to SMEs, and will reduce GHG emissions?
The solution that Climate Smart is proposing is composed of three phases, described below. In the first phase, we will produce Business Energy & Emissions Profiles (BEEP) for specific municipalities in Ontario. The BEEP is an innovative carbon mapping tool that unlocks SME business data to help cities and on-the-ground partners to work strategically with their local business communities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and develop data-driven storytelling on climate actions.
Below is a testimonial about the BEEP that we received from Pietra Basilij, Sustainable Community Development, Vancouver Economic Commission:
“The city-wide business energy and emissions profile (BEEP) has given us tremendous insight for developing strategic, sector-specific campaigns that target the city’s biggest sources of emissions. At the Vancouver Economic Commission, we recognize that businesses can be the engine of sustainable community development, but they often need some guidance, and that guidance needs to be data-driven to be effective.”
This data will inform on-the-ground partners and insure that smart reduction actions are successful. For example, Green Economy Canada (GEC) hubs are using BEEPs to target specific sectors and focus on key emission reduction opportunities.
The change in provincial government in Ontario and their recent efforts to end the province’s greenhouse cap-and-trade program signals limiting incentives for SMEs to adopt low carbon practices. The solution that Climate Smart is offering will help municipalities and the businesses understand the issues and identify cost-saving investments. We want to provide the means for local government to step in and to create the best conditions for small and medium size businesses to profitably reduce their GHG emissions.
The BEEPs that Climate Smart produces (beep.eco) generate a strong response from industry host partners and and their business communities. For example, the partnership between the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Climate Smart is providing a platform for Chambers to pro-actively demonstrate climate leadership in their cities, while leveraging Climate Smart’s data and know-how to inform and shape pan-Canadian policy and strengthen local business communities. In the spring of 2018, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Mississauga Board of Trade, and St. John’s Board of Trade launched Climate Smart BEEPs in their communities. In the fall of 2018, Climate Smart will create new BEEPs for Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal as part an HSBC grant.
What actions do you propose?
Our action plan is composed of 3 phases:
- The production of BEEPs for 10 new municipalities in Ontario.
- The convening between 15 Ontario municipalities and their on-the-ground partners to share insights into how to use the BEEPs data in programs and policies that accelerate emission and cost savings for SMEs.
- Track and report emission reductions and cost savings through annually updated BEEPs.
PHASE #1: Production of BEEPs
In addition to the five BEEPs that have been produced for Mississauga, Sudbury, Ottawa, York Region and Hamilton, we propose to produce the BEEPs for the following municipalities:
- Region of Waterloo
- Durham Region
- Toronto (funded)
A BEEP estimates GHG emissions generated by various industry sectors within the economy, which allows for comparison between sectors and emissions activity types. By creating a GHG emissions projection, a BEEP can highlight the opportunities for business engagement and emissions reductions and help in the transition to a clean innovation economy.
WHY CITIES NEED TO UNDERSTAND THEIR BUSINESS EMISSIONS
While many cities have a community-wide GHG inventory, they currently don't have an understanding of how businesses in their community contribute to their total emissions. Businesses are significant contributors to GHG emissions in cities. E.g., in Metro Vancouver, businesses account for over 30% of community emissions.
Cities and local governments are on the front lines of climate change mitigation. Municipal governments are seeking data and decision-making tools to implement climate change mitigation solutions (e.g., district energy systems, waste bans, charging infrastructure). BEEPs provide municipalities with commercial-sector emissions and energy data and situate SMEs within the context of existing work undertaken around modeling community and neighborhood-level GHG emissions.
At Climate Smart, we believe that businesses need to be key partners in transitioning to low carbon cities. That is why we want to create more interactive dashboards that show business emissions and help city planners and economic development teams engage businesses in achieving emission reductions.
Currently, using the data that Climate Smart has aggregated from our work with close to 900 small and medium-sized businesses and organizations, we are able to create an estimated baseline of business emissions for a city. We created business energy and emissions profiles (BEEPs) for 16 cities to date. See this link for a sample dashboard we created for the City of Mississauga, ON Canada.
The BEEPs are created using per-employee sectoral emission intensities derived from our data. We combine those intensities with community business data (business license list or business statistical data) to create a projected business energy and emissions baseline. Note that the dashboard currently shows projected (not actual) business emissions.
HOW BEEP DASHBOARD HELPS CITIES
The existing BEEP dashboard has the following features:
- interactive data exploration and spatial data views;
- maps showing local business greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data by city block;
- maps showing local business energy data by city dissemination area;
- maps can be adjusted to highlight industrial sectors, business activity, and business size.
The BEEP dashboard allows cities to gain intelligence about their business emissions, and plan and estimate impact of programs such as:
- charging infrastructure
- waste hubs
- district energy
- sector-specific initiatives (e.g. distributing low flow spray valves to reduce hot water use in restaurants), and more.
These dashboards help city planners understand their business community's emissions and engage businesses in achieving the city's emission reduction targets.
HOW BUSINESS EMISSIONS DATA IS COLLECTED
Climate Smart collects business emissions data through our Climate Smart business certification program that we have been running since 2007. For nearly a decade, we have been partnering with cities to engage their businesses in measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our partner cities provide support to businesses to become Climate Smart certified at a discounted price.
Distinct from a consultancy, Climate Smart builds capacity within SMEs by training key staff to develop strategies for ongoing reductions in emissions and associated costs from energy, fuel, and waste that create environmental as well as economic benefits.
Climate Smart collaborates with ‘host partners’ (cities, local governments, financial institutions, airports, and ports) to engage SMEs and accelerate emissions reductions, report on business climate action across different industry sectors, and elevate municipal leadership on sustainability.
Climate Smart data also contributes to understanding the amount, types, and sources of capital that are needed by SMEs to support investments in resource efficiency and green infrastructure. Support for this project would provide data and visualization tools to a wider range of decision-makers and enable the positive engagement of key stakeholders (SMEs).
Businesses gather their actual energy, fuel, waste, and other data and enter it into our web-based software tool to create their GHG emissions inventory.
The underlying BEEP data is derived from the aggregated patterns of almost 900 participant businesses. This includes actual business activity data entered into our software in the form of gigajoules, kilowatt-hours, kilometers traveled, litres of fuel, and weight of landfill waste & chemicals leaked in the case of refrigerants. Climate Smart client advisors review data against the GHG Protocol to ensure they meet transparency, relevancy, accuracy, completeness and consistency expectations. Early on we established careful protections, legal agreements and permissions around enterprise level data (e.g. ownership of and unrestricted capacity for us to analyze and share aggregate numbers, trends and insights).
Climate Smart's GHG software tool was a finalist in the 2010 Globe Foundation's Emerging Tech Award and was rated the #1 software solution for SMEs in an independent study by Carbonzero.
A business that
A) completes a GHG inventory and
B) develops an emission reduction plan
becomes Climate Smart certified.
Many businesses continue participating in the Climate Smart program year after year, continuously optimizing their operations and measuring the reductions and cost savings they are achieving.
To date, close to 900 businesses have taken part in the Climate Smart program, and that number is constantly growing. The GHG inventories for these businesses provide the proprietary data of the BEEP dashboard projections.
PHASE #2: BEEP - Data community of practice
In addition to producing the BEEPs, we propose to host a strategic convening between the 15 municipalities in Ontario (Sudbury, Ottawa, York Region, Hamilton, Mississauga, London, Burlington, Guelph, Markham, Caledon, Region of Waterloo, Oakville, Durham Region, Windsor, and Toronto) and their on-the-ground partners. We will work with our partners, like Green Economy Canada to share insights and data trends extracted from the multiple BEEPs created. In the meeting we will share and seek insights as well as push the capability of the interactive mapping interface to drive action as it displays a given community’s energy usage and carbon emissions by industry and business type. The aim is to provide municipalities and the partners with the means to perform a comparison between sectors and emissions activity types. We will guide the discussion to identify and highlight opportunities for business engagement and emissions reductions.
Through this convening we want to support the cities in creating the optimal landscape for the SMEs to be able to develop and implement efficient carbon reduction strategies while keeping their competitiveness.
PHASE #3: Long Term Tracking
We believe that the most effective decisions are data-driven. Accurate and consistent data provides better insight and guidance. We want to continue working with the municipalities for many years and provide them with the tools to take smart actions and develop strong programs to support the SMEs to reduce their carbon footprint. The economy in each municipality evolves through time. And that evolution varies from one business sector to another. Our updated BEEPs capture the changes in the size and the number of businesses in different types of economic activities and reflect those changes on the emissions and the energy use.
In the third phase of our solution we will strive to provide a BEEP data dashboard that captures ongoing trends and key impacts. We will provide regular updates on reduction strategies and implemented actions and track their impacts on the emission reductions and cost savings. The platform will help to highlight important stories and examples of achievements in reducing the carbon footprint. This form of reporting will benefit the municipalities in tracking the progress and identifying key strategies in different business sectors and evaluating the impact on the SMEs. We also want to have the municipalities engaged in a multiyear subscription model for BEEP production.
Who will take these actions?
Climate Smart will be the main actor involved in taking the actions described above.
The development and production of the BEEPs will be done by Climate Smart Business. We will utilize our proprietary business activity data combined with community business data to create projected community BEEPs.
Climate Smart will host a conference between municipalities and host partners in Ontario. We will share insights into how to use the BEEPs and lead the discussion on how they can inform policy and the creation of incentives for SMEs in reducing their carbon footprint. The participants of this convening will be the 15 municipalities in Ontario (Sudbury, Ottawa, York Region, Hamilton, Mississauga, London, Burlington, Guelph, Markham, Caledon, Region of Waterloo, Oakville, Durham Region, Windsor, and Toronto), their on-the-ground partners, Climate Smart partners, Green Economy Canada, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the local boards of trade.
Climate Smart will collect the updated data of the businesses in each of the participating municipalities and we will then produce the updated BEEPs and the Impact Dashboards.
Where will these actions be taken?
These actions will take place in the following municipalities in Ontario:
- Region of Waterloo
- Durham Region
- York Region
What are the proposal’s projected costs?
The breakdown of the proposals projected costs is as follow:
Productions of BEEPs:
- $25,000 per BEEP.
- The current interested communities include: London, Burlington, Guelph, Markham, Caledon, Region of Waterloo, Oakville, Durham Region, Windsor, and Toronto.
- The total cost of the combined BEEPs equal to $250,000.
BEEP - Data community of practice:
- The convening between municipal leaders and partners will be a one-day program hosted by Climate Smart in Ontario.
- The projected cost is estimated at $10,000.
Data Visualization and Digital Report
- Climate Smart will produce a report summarizing the trends from the BEEPs and including case studies of actual emission reductions.
- The project cost for the digital report will be $7,000.
The Climate Smart Program Pilot that will be launched in Ontario will be funded by HSBC, the McConnell Foundation and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The total projected cost of this proposal will be: $267,000.
Potential Funding Secured: $90,000
Total required: $177,000
Once the solution is built and implemented describe a path forward for it to scale to other users/companies.
Once the BEEPs are produced and shared with the municipalities, they will provide data-driven guidance on how to develop targeted sustainability initiatives. Equipped with insightful information, the municipalities will be able to develop targeted policies and incentives that will encourage SMEs in going low carbon. With the presence of data driven incentives and programs, SMEs will also know they are not acting alone, but rather in alignment with a long-term municipal priority. This solution is scalable on multiple fronts. The first one is through joining new municipalities and their SMEs in their work towards a low-carbon future. Climate Smart will be producing the new BEEPs and delivering them to the new municipalities.
The second front to scale up our solution will be through the multiyear BEEP subscription model. Climate Smart will provide regular BEEP updates to municipalities that will include the latest data about the SMEs in different sectors.
The solution is also scalable through the long term tracking of emission reductions and cost savings that have been achieved by SMEs through different actions. At Climate Smart, we have been tracking metrics of businesses with our host partners and providing visual analytics and impact summaries of implemented carbon reduction strategies. The Impact Dashboard Report is a great solution to build on the achievements from using the BEEPs and joining the Climate Smart Program. It will provide municipalities with actual data to track their progress and to inform the new programs and policies that will engage further the SMEs in their pursuit to go low carbon.
How will your solution lead to change on a larger scale over time (i.e. 3 to 5 years out)? How many businesses can potentially be affected by your solution?
Climate Smart was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2016 MIT Climate CoLab contest for BEEPs. We have produced BEEPs for cities across Canada and the US. Our goal is to produce 100 BEEPs across North America. The implementation of the solution proposed here will catalyze our long term plan. Currently we are almost at 20% of our goal. With more BEEPs produced for the municipalities of Ontario and the multiyear subscription model in place, the reach of the programs and the incentives for the SMEs to profitably reduce their emissions will be expanded.
Long term and large scale change happens when municipal leaders take action to set goals and establish the right conditions for the SMEs to cut carbon and cut costs. This is where Climate Smart enters the picture. For the better part of a decade, we’ve helped small and medium-size companies—food processors, port terminals, roofers, printers—profitably reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve also helped cities more effectively engage with their local businesses on carbon—so that their public dollars go as far as possible.
With our solution in place, elected officials can not only get their own carbon house in order, they can inspire and encourage their business leaders to do the same. With coaching, support and sophisticated tools such as BEEP, Ontario and all of Canada can significantly shrink its carbon footprint and Canadian communities can grow to be more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.
What business and funding model have you considered for your solution to become sustainable?
We want to move to an annual subscription model to ensure the sustainability of our solution and the consistency of the impact that it generates.
What impact will the proposed actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
Our goal is to support climate action that will enable moving innovation and adoption “across the chasm” from “early adopters” into the “early majority” of SMEs. To achieve a new level of preparedness and competitiveness, the province will need to reach the majority of Ontario SMEs, and this means identifying and removing the barriers preventing more SMEs from making the needed investments and changes in business operations. That is where our solution comes in.
For example, if just 5% of SMEs in Ontario were able to achieve the average 11% carbon emission reductions that Climate Smart clients are currently realizing (given Climate Smart’s current data), the following results could be expected:
- Reduce the amount of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) produced in Ontario by 300,000 tonnes (roughly equivalent to 122 million litres of gasoline replaced with clean energy);
- Save Ontario businesses over $119 million in operating costs, increasing profitability and competitiveness;
What are other key benefits?
Other key benefits of the the Climate Smart solution are:
- Increase in the SMEs profitability leading to a growth in the Ontario business taxbase.
- Increase in investments in energy efficient and low waste technologies and business processes.
- Direct support of the Ontario green economic development.
- Leverage private sector investment in clean innovation;
- Address the SME barriers of time, cost and lack of market signals supporting business GHG reduction;
- Lower the business cost of implementing GHG reduction strategies and shorten the payback period of projects;
- Accommodate diverse approaches to emission reductions;
- Encourage multi-year engagement with individual businesses;
- Drive SME engagement and action in existing green business programs (Climate Smart certification and others), thereby distributing outreach and impact (recruitment efforts).
About the Authors
Climate Smart Businesses Inc. is an award winning, certified B Corp that has developed a practical and solutions-based program specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to profitably track and reduce GHG emissions. Using a data-driven approach, Climate Smart provides innovative tools and programming for our “host partners” on the frontlines—cities, ports, airports, chambers, and financial institutions—to disrupt old economic trajectories and invest in more efficient technologies to deliver cleaner products and services.
Since 2007, Climate Smart has worked with 40+ host partners to engage close to 900 businesses—representing over 80,000 employees—to prepare for and participate in the low-carbon economy. Climate Smart has trained 1,600+ people through 135 cohorts. On average, businesses achieve an impressive 11% reduction in GHG emissions, and annual savings of $27,000. Top performers achieve a 30% reduction. Climate Smart was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2016 MIT Climate CoLab contest for our Business Energy and Emissions Profiles (BEEPs). We have produced BEEPs for cities across Canada and the US. Our goal is to produce 100 BEEPs across North America. Track our progress on the interactive map: beep.eco.
Related Proposals (optional)
The proposal submitted to the Smart Zero Carbon Cities Challenge in 2016 was at the foundation of the development of the upgraded BEEP/dashboard allowing cities to track business emissions over time and measure progress towards emissions reductions goals. Since then, Climate Smart created 16 BEEPs and Impact Dashboards for institutions and municipalities in North America.
In this proposal, Climate Smart aims to scale up across Ontario and develop BEEPs for 10 new municipalities to expand the impact of our product and our certification program on helping small and medium businesses go low carbon.
Climate Smart. (2018). “200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity: How Small and Medium-sized Businesses can Drive Canada’s Clean Economy.” https://200million.ca
Climate Smart’s 2012 report: "Beyond Big: Small Businesses, Greenhouse Gases, and Competitive Advantage".
Local government leaders have a powerful new tool to tackle carbon, June 28, 2018, Centre for Civic Governance, Blog, written by Elizabeth Sheehan, President of Climate Smart Businesses Inc.