Chris Rickett, Senior Project Manager at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, a founding partner in Project Green, explains that the Pearson Eco-Business Zone represents 12 500 companies employing 350 000 people and consuming approximately 1/26 of Ontario’s electricity, or about 5.8 million MWh, annually. The Challenge’s initial goal is to source 1 percent of that electricity from Bullfrog Power. “We want to see more companies leveraging Bullfrog in order to move their operations toward more sustainable energy sources,” notes Rickett.
Tom Heintzman, President of Bullfrog Power, adds that there are market incentives for companies to go green. Moreover, investors are increasingly looking at a company’s environmental actions. Other factors, such as employee retention and demand from customers, can also influence a company’s decision to go green. “The reasons vary with each individual company, but regardless of the reason, the switch to green power is easy, with no new equipment required and no switching costs,” Heintzman says.
About 20 businesses were Bullfrog Power customers before the Challenge. These early adopters include Walmart Canada, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Lowe-Martin Group, a printing/communication solutions company and CIPEC Leader in the General Manufacturing Sector. These and several other leading organizations have greened more than 17 000 MWh of electricity.
The Lowe-Martin Group’s Mississauga production facility switched to renewable sources of electricity from Bullfrog in 2007, explains Pat Coyne, Lowe-Martin’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s who we are and what we believe in, and we felt it made good business sense.” A strong business case was built based on feedback from the company’s customers and the value of having their communication pieces be bullfrogpowered®.
In hindsight, Coyne says that the switch to green power was easy. “You need to understand the costs and benefits and have the backing of your customers and all stakeholders.” In becoming bullfrogpowered, the Lowe-Martin facility has raised the bar in its industry. As more companies follow suit, the company’s competitive advantage may diminish somewhat, but ultimately, notes Coyne, the more organizations become bullfrogpowered, the more significant the emissions reduction will be and the better the image of the industry.
Rickett and Heintzman agree that the demand for renewable energy is increasing and its use will be commonplace in 10-15 years. “What we are doing now is on the cutting edge; it is a sign of things to come.”