Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI) affiliates with Sustainability CoLab to share local climate change models

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GTA Construction Report staff writer

In January the Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI) received recognition as one of the first affiliate partners of Sustainability CoLab, a national non-profit created to share local models of climate change action with other communities.

NSI, launched in 2010, is a non-profit organization modelled after Sustainable Waterloo Region and currently partners with 16 local municipalities, businesses and organizations to manage their greenhouse gas emissions.  Its message is delivered through educational events designed to engage partners and community partners and programs designed to assist business and organizations in measuring and managing their carbon footprint.

A news release announcing the partnership says “NSI’s Carbon Project partners will benefit from CoLab’s resources and expertise when tackling different sustainability challenges. This partnership also introduces the opportunity for NSI partners to connect and network with like-minded organizations across Canada and introduces opportunities for recognition of sustainability efforts.”

NSI’s latest event, held January 23, 2014 – Cutting Through the Greenwashing – A Consumer’s Guide to Green Marketing – brought business and community members together to discuss green product marketing.

Hosted at the Welland Community Wellness Complex, the event “featured two expert guest speakers that provided the audience of 25 with the tools needed to distinguish between true and false environmental claims.”

Michael Sawchuk, sector business manager with Underwriters Laboratories, discussed the importance of ecolabels and third party certifications, explaining many companies promote their products as green while operating in a manner harmful to the environment.

Bernard Hellen, business development manager with Cascades Fine Paper Group, discussed environmental certification in the paper industry.

Attendee RE/Max broker Cathy Berkhout-Bosse says, “As a business owner and consumer I often find it challenging to sort through all the environmental claims that are increasingly becoming part of the marketing landscape. This event opened my eyes to the support that is available to me via the Niagara Sustainability Initiative and their community of eco-advocate partners. I have much to learn but it seems to me that the road to sustainability begins by caring enough to take a more considered approach to all of your purchase decisions.”

NSI will host a Best Practice Sharing Workshop in February and in May the third annual Evening of Recognition.

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