April 26, 2004

VCR Inc names leaders in reporting of GHG emissions, reductions

Canada's Climate Change Voluntary Challenge and Registry Inc. (VCR Inc) recently held its annual leadership awards ceremony at the Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec. For 2003, 17 awards were presented to 11 Canadian companies, an industry association, the government of Canada and a leading retailer, among others.

VCR Inc is a non-profit partnership between the private sector, federal and provincial governments and is the country's only national public registry of GHG emissions and reductions. To date, 1,239 organizations have registered action plans and GHG reductions.

Since 1997, when VCR Inc became a stand-alone entity, its annual awards have gone to organizations that have shown leadership in reducing GHG emissions through concrete action plans. Winners are judged and selected by a special multi-stakeholder panel with representatives from industry, governments and environmental organizations.

To make the event greenhouse gas (GHG)-neutral, VCR Inc committed to funding the creation of a forestry carbon sink to absorb CO2, the dominant greenhouse gas, through a tree-planting project in the Ottawa area. The ceremony was projected to generate about 60 tonnes of GHG emissions, mostly produced by the air travel of winners attending the event.

VCR president Robert Flemington said these emissions, as well as those from VCR's operations throughout the year, will be nullified by reducing an equal quantity elsewhere. The project will involve planting 500 trees at the cost of $2.50 per tree and will be co-ordinated by the Tree Canada Foundation, which will also quantify the CO2 reduction. The 500 trees will also offset about 20 tonnes of annual CO2 emissions from VCR's day-to-day activities.

VCR Inc has only six employees and an 1,100-square-foot office, but the main source of its GHG emissions, which cannot be easily reduced, is air travel. It has, however, reduced annual emissions from employees commuting by car to its office through a telework program. Flemington estimates VCR will eliminate five tonnes of CO2 annually by helping employees work from home.

"It's the right business decision in terms of running an efficient organization from our perspective," he said, "but it's also a leadership position to show another way to reduce greenhouse gases, particularly in the hard-to-get-at transportation sector."

This year's VCR ceremony also hosted Tree Canada's first annual Afforestation Leadership Award, presented to a Tree Canada sponsor best exemplifying the non-profit, charitable foundation 's mission to grow and care for urban and rural forests, while mitigating the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration. Shell Canada is the first recipient of this new award; as a sponsor, the company has planted nearly 440,000 trees and sequestered some 85,000 tonnes of carbon.

"It seemed appropriate to link the new award with VCR's decision to "offset its total GHG footprint" with trees," said Flemington.

Since 1992, Tree Canada has enlisted the support of more than 60 Canadian companies and government agencies in the planting of more than 75 million trees. Tree Canada president Jeff Monty pointed out that planting trees not only sequesters carbon, it provides riparian habitat protection, "so you're getting two birds with one stone," he noted.

The following are among the winners of the 2003 VCR Inc leadership awards; full details are available on the VCR Inc Web site, site www.vcr-mvr.ca.

- Association/Sector Leadership: Mining Association of Canada

- Automotive Manufacturing: Ford Motor Company of Canada

- Best New Submission: Hydro One Remote Communities, a subsidiary of Hydro One

- Cement: St Lawrence Cement

- Electric Utilities: Yukon Development Corporation (honourable mention, Northwest Territories Power Corporation)

- Forest Products: Bowater Canadian Forest Products (honourable mention, Stora Enso Port Hawkesbury)

- Integrated Oil and Gas Corporations: Suncor Energy

- Metal mining: Noranda-Falconbridge (honourable mention, no winner named)

- Oil and Gas (Pipelines and Natural Gas Distribution): Teresen Gas (formerly BC Gas Utility); honourable mention, Atco Gas

- Oil and Gas (Upstream): BP Canada Energy

- Primary Metals Manufacturing: Stelco (honourable mention, Alcoa Canada PremiËre fusion)

- Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME): Petresa Canada, a Quebec-based producer of linear alkylbenzene (LAB), a compound used in making detergents (honourable mention, Nova Chemicals)

More information is available from Robert Flemington at VCR Inc, 613/565-5151, ext 221, or Jeff Monty at Tree Canada Foundation, 613/567-5545, Web site www.treecanada.ca.

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