TORONTO - September 20, 2007 - The retail sector in Canada occupies 1.1 billion sq. ft. 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 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions totaling almost 40 million tonnes, almost five per cent of total Canadian production. Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) believes that taking aim at curbing the GHG output of the retail sector represents one of the best opportunities to make a significant dent in Canada’s obligations on climate change.

TRCA is proud to announce that SmartCentres, one of Canada's leading retail development companies, has become the founding sponsor of their Greening Retail program.

“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, chief administrative officer of TRCA. 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. Corporately, retailers can define environmentally oriented purchasing requirements and, at the store level, they can educate consumers.

If 10 per cent of retailers and their suppliers achieved energy savings of 10 per cent, 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. “With the support of SmartCentres, we hope to achieve two–three times that participation rate,” said Denney.

SmartCentres is a Canadian success story, growing in 15 years to become one of the country's leading real estate development companies with projects from coast to coast. "We are working with SmartCentres in the Toronto area to help them implement LEED (Leadership in Engineering Environmental Design) for the facilities they create for their retail clients and are very pleased that they are sponsoring the Greening Retail Program" stated Andrew Bowerbank, executive director for the Toronto Chapter of the CaGBC.

As part of this comprehensive initiative, 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 identify the strategies and tactics these retailers are using to successfully implement environmental best practices. From what is learned in this phase they will develop 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. “We are proud to bring to Canada the world’s best environmental practices,” said Denney. “As a result, Canadian retailers will have the tools that will allow them to be world leaders in reducing GHG emissions.”

“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. “The retail sector is uniquely placed to lead the way and we are proud to be a partner in this creative initiative.
Implementing best practices in sustainable technologies is a win-win proposition. There remain few easier ways to have a significant positive impact on the environment as with this initiative and we are enthusiastic to be involved in such a noble cause.”

For more information contact:
Brown & Cohen Communications and Public Affairs Inc.
Rowena Calpito ext. 4
Wendy Kaufman ext. 3