October 8, 2007

Retail developer signs on as founding sponsor of new TRCA Greening Retail program

SmartCentres, one of Canada's leading retail development companies, has become the founding sponsor of Toronto and Region Conservation's Greening Retail program. TRCA has developed this comprehensive initiative in the belief that curbing the greenhouse gas (GHG) output of the retail sector represents one of the best opportunities to make a significant dent in Canada's obligations on climate change.

"By taking on the role of the founding sponsor of TRCA's program, Greening Retail - It Makes Good Sense, SmartCentres is helping retailers to reduce their environmental impact and at the same time, save money and improve the bottom line," said Brian Denney, TRCA's chief administrative officer.

Canada's retail sector occupies 1.1 billion square feet of building space, a very significant portion of the national total. Through the use of heating and cooling in this space, as well as in transportation, retailers and their suppliers generate nearly 40 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; this represents almost 5% of total Canadian production.

In developing its Greening Retail program, TRCA conducted an Internet inventory of environmental best practices being adopted by leading retailers in North America and Europe. The results of that inventory confirmed the premise that adoption of environmental best practices can be good for the bottom line.

"Leading retailers are not just marketing themselves as green to increase sales, they are operating more efficiently internally, and through their supply chain, in ways that reduce environmental impacts and costs," said Bernie McIntyre, program manager at TRCA.

During the next phase, TRCA will be interviewing management teams with leading retailers in North America and Europe in order to find out what strategies and tactics these retailers are using to successfully implement environmental best practices. The information gathered in this phase will provide the basis for the tools and materials needed to help all retailers implement environmental best practices.

"A number of retailers have already indicated that they would like work with us to pilot some of the best practices that are discovered through the study," added McIntyre.

Because of its broad reach, the retail sector has the potential to effect significant change in society in a way that no other industry can, says TRCA. Corporately, retailers can define environmentally oriented purchasing requirements and, at the store level, they can educate consumers. If 10% of retailers and their suppliers achieved energy savings of 10%, the estimated opportunity for energy savings in one year would be equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road for one year and provide enough energy for over a million homes.

"By greening retail we--individuals and businesses--have a chance to make a real difference in meeting the climate change challenge," said Mauro Pambianchi, chief development officer for SmartCentres, a private real estate development company that has developed more than 175 shopping centres across Canada in just 15 years.

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