"I think it's a great idea," Richard Kouwenhoven, president and general manager of Hemlock Printers, said of the pledge.
"It's a simple approach to getting businesses involved in sustainability, and letting a business define where they can make the greatest improvements."
Through the pledge, businesses can describe past sustainability initiatives and share that information with other businesses, he pointed out.
It's good for companies to have a clear idea of the accomplishments they've made," he said.
Businesses can also commit to future actions in areas such as energy, water, waste, travel and purchasing.
Making businesses sustainable is not a one-time act, Kouwenhoven pointed out.
"Sustainability needs constant attention," he said.
His company works to make time for staff members to meet and discuss future initiatives, he said.
"The biggest thing is, make the time to meet as a group," he said. "We clear a lunch hour and talk about things we've done, and have an open platform for people to give their ideas on what we could do next."
Another Burnaby-based company, digital consulting agency Smartt, also recently signed the pledge.
One of the company's business sales executives is a member of the board and became involved with the initiative, said Smartt CEO, Saleh Tousi.
Smartt - formerly SmarttNet, primarily an ISP provider - opened in 1995 and was recently rebranded to better showcase its digital consulting services.
The agency is unique in the industry, in that it manages its own data centre - essentially a warehouse with servers and equipment, Tousi said, so managing energy usage is a big focus.
"Of course, this uses a lot of power," he said. "It's one of our key initiatives, not just from a bottom line point of view, but from an impact on the environment, of what we do to reduce that power consumption."
The company has worked with IBM to reduce power consumption by 61 per cent, according to a document Tousi forwarded to the NOW, and has reduced its hardware footprint by 83 per cent.
The board of trade's pledge is set up to help businesses inform others about their sustainability initiatives, according to Tessa Vanderkop, marketing manager for the board.
The pledge was developed through the board's environmental committee, and the concept was suggested a few years ago, she said.
Vanderkop began working with the board in March 2011, and has been working on the pledge ever since, she said.
"We've been working on it actively since then, trying to pull it all together and turn it into a useful resource," she said in an interview on Nov. 28.
"The intention is that its an opportunity for businesses like Hemlock and Vancity - they actually just signed this morning - to take a pledge and really show people what they're doing."
For businesses that are looking for a starting point for becoming more environmentally sustainable, the information provided through the board can help owners find easy ways to lower their companies' footprints, she explained.
Efforts such as turning off lights and powering down computers are a good start, she added.
The board has been working with Climate Smart Businesses Inc., a social enterprise that offers training and tools to measure carbon footprints and find ways to reduce them.
Board members can contact Climate Smart to develop plans to reduce environmental impact, and they can also take steps on their own, Vanderkop said.
As of Nov. 28, about 12 businesses had signed the pledge, she said.
The board was planning a soft launch for the pledge at a Vancity event that evening, she added, with a possible event launch later on.
"My hope is there is going to be a real tipping point," Vanderkop said. "I think once the word gets out we're going to get some real traction for the pledge."
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