Sudbury's emissions profile can help small businesses reduce carbon footprint

Sudbury's 3,000 small and medium sized businesses emit 254,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. That's according to a new report from Green Economy North, a sustainability program for local businesses. The Business Energy and Emissions Profile (BEEP) was produced with the help of BC company, Climate Smart.

Green Economy North aims to reduce Sudbury's CO2 emissions by 20 per cent within 10 years

Rebecca Danard and Richard Eberhardt from Rethink Green, released Sudbury's first Business Energy and Emissions Profile (BEEP). It says the 3,000 small and medium sized businesses in the city have a combined total emissions of 254,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO-2) per year. (Angela Gemmill/ CBC)

Sudbury's 3,000 small and medium sized businesses emit 254,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year, according to a new report from Green Economy North.

To put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of 57,000 cars on the road for one year.

The figure was compiled with the help of BC company, Climate Smart.

Climate Smart has already accumulated a primary data set of carbon baselines which can then be applied to other cities to compile a Business Energy and Emissions Profile (BEEP).

Green Economy North —a program through the not-for-profit organization Rethink Green — released Sudbury's first BEEP on Tuesday.

Sudbury is one of just two Ontario communities to have these profiles. York region is the other one.

The data within the profile shows CO2 emissions coming from four sources: natural gas, transportation, waste and electricity.

Different kinds of businesses use different types of energy says Rebecca Danard, executive director of Rethink Green.

"Construction uses a lot of transportation because they need to bring materials back and forth from project sites and that ends up being the largest percent to their emissions," says Danard.

She adds that hotels or restaurants need energy for space heating and cooking, which both use natural gas. That's usually where their highest percentage of energy use comes from.

Help businesses find reduction strategies

"We will now take this [data], we'll share it with the community, so it's available there at and we can then take that and help businesses find their strategies that are right for them to make reductions," says Richard Eberhardt, the program manager for Green Economy North.

He adds that finding the right strategy for the right sector is important to Green Economy North. "Having a sense of which sectors are contributing the largest share will help us to plan our work as we go forward."

Eberhardt says the website also includes an interactive tool to allow users to look at data within a particular sector.

Green Economy North hopes to see a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions in Greater Sudbury over the next 10 years.

"The business economy and emissions profile really illustrates that everybody can make a difference; everybody has a part to play in reducing their emissions and everybody can benefit from the economic growth that results from making those cuts," says Danard.