Small and medium sized businesses can have a massive impact on the environment, according to a new report.

Small and medium sized businesses can have a massive effect on the environment, according to new report published by Vancouver-based social enterprise Climate Smart. In a news release out today about the report, 200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity, the organization writes:

“Canada’s 1.2+ million small- and medium-sized businesses have direct control 200 million tonnes of carbon pollution, the same amount produced each year by every car, truck, train, plane, and ship in the country... With coaching and support, these businesses could significantly shrink Canada’s overall carbon footprint.”

"As Canada works to meet its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, it’s exciting that thousands of private-sector climate champions already taking the lead,” said @ClimateSmart president Elizabeth Sheehan.

The findings provide a hopeful path forward for those concerned about the environment and climate change because it shows how individual business owners and managers can have a direct impact on the planet. The report studied the effects of companies with fewer than 500 employees. This segment of companies represents the vast majority of the Canadian economy.

“Hundreds of thousands of printers, restaurateurs, roofers, retailers, and others are already profitably reducing their carbon footprints and driving clean growth," Climate Smart president Elizabeth Sheehan said.

"As Canada works to meet its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, it’s exciting that thousands of private-sector climate champions already taking the lead.”

Of course, the incentive for companies to embrace eco-friendly practices goes beyond saving the planet. Recent research suggests that consumer behaviour is heavily influenced by whether a customer believes an organization is eco-friendly. So by committing to the planet, companies can also grow their businesses. This is particularly true in the fashion, health and beauty and food verticals where consumers are buying what they see as indulgences.

The full report uses over 10 years of data and is available online at 200million.ca. It contains case studies that demonstrate the various ways these organizations are reducing their carbon footprint and serves as a how-to manual for SMBs looking to upgrade their eco-friendly practices.

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VOCs from 'consumer' products (laundry, personal care, cleaning, pesticides...) now rival vehicle emissions as largest source of outdoor air pollutants!

"Volatile chemical products emerging as largest petrochemical source of urban organic emissions

Here, we focus on volatile chemical products (VCPs), including pesticides, coatings, printing inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, and personal care products. These products contain organic solvents, which lead to substantial emissions of VOCs to the atmosphere.

We show that success in controlling air pollution has changed the proportions of sources of anthropogenic VOC emissions in the United States, decreasing the relative contribution from transportation fuels and increasing the contribution from VCPs.
...
Fragrances are major contributors, most prominently of limonene, a-pinene, ß-pinene, and 3-carene (57)
...
Disclosure of ingredients used to make fragrances is not required (57), but terpenes are common and known aerosol precursors (41)"
...

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6377/760.full

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