Carbon Footprint Initiative impresses MPPs - Feb. 21, 2019
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Phil Beard of the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority thinks some great progress has been made on bringing the details of the Carbon Footprint Initiative (CFI) to the provincial government.
Beard was part of a special meeting with members of the CFI and Huron-Bruce MPP and Minister of Education Lisa Thompson and Perth-Wellington MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Randy Pettapiece. Beard says that the provincial government is currently undergoing consultation to help inform its climate action plan and both Thompson and Pettapiece seemed excited by what was going on with the CFI.
The meeting was held earlier this month at the Pioneer Seed Plant in Wingham and included representation from across the initiative. Beard said that the meeting was meant to bring the MPPs up to speed on the initiative and the CFI’s work to reduce members’ carbon footprint and to sequester carbon.
Martin Vogt, the CEO of EFS Plastics Ltd., was the first to speak, discussing recycling plastic and the competition his company faces. With subsidies in Alberta for the production of new plastic bags, Beard said, it makes it cheaper to make new plastic bags than it is to recycle them. That reality and battling against government subsidies for the production of new plastic bags makes it tough for the company to compete with its recycling model, not to mention that it fails to encourage recycling and increases waste.
Chet Calhoun, the plant manager of the Pioneer plant, is one of the country’s leaders in reducing the company’s carbon footprint, Beard says. The company measures everything and has taken great strides to reduce its carbon and energy usage.
Richard Keeso, the president of J.H. Keeso and Sons Ltd., also spoke about responsible and sustainable logging. Though his business had experienced a devastating fire in recent months, he spoke about the practices being implemented at the business and how logging can be sustainable and a moneymaker for a farmer, while also helping the environment.
North Perth Chief Administrative Officer Kriss Snell spoke about reducing a municipality’s carbon footprint through the implementation of monitoring energy usage and purchasing electric vehicles to vastly reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Deb Shewfelt represented the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority and spoke about the work being done throughout the watershed as well. He also spoke about the Authority’s purchase of electrical vehicles, saving 2,000 litres of gas per year being burned.
The Authority has also been able to cut its electrical usage by one-third.
Beard said that MPPs Thompson and Pettapiece were enthusiastic about what they heard at the meeting and Beard hoped they would bring the initiatives being implemented throughout the community back to Queen’s Park for consideration for the provincial government’s climate action plan.
Beard also said that he came away from the meeting hopeful as well. With a provincial government with more rural representation, he said, he hoped that the unique needs of rural communities are being considered by the government.
“I thought [MPPs Thompson and Pettapiece] were quite keen and supportive,” Beard said, adding that they planned on bringing the ideas discussed back to the provincial government for consideration.
As for the future of the CFI, Beard said the goal is to continue spreading the word about the program and trying to bring additional businesses and municipalities on board.
For more information on the CFI, visit the Authority’s website at www.mvca.on.ca.