Six Ways to Approach Sustainability

May 7, 2019


As we learned from IKEA, caring about the planet and people is incredibly important. We picked six businesses who are striving to be more environmentally-friendly, while also being committed to the Winnipeg community. These six businesses come from a range of sectors, but all offer a great insight into positive and green business practices.
Mother Earth Recycling
Mother Earth Recycling (MER) is not a surprise for this list. It is a Social Enterprise that partnered with IKEA for its mattress recycling program. But MER does more than recycling, it provides training and employment opportunities to the urban Indigenous community through environmentally sustainable initiatives.

Along with the mattress program, it also offers programs to recycle your electronics, taking most items with little to no disposal fee, and a repair and refurbish shop to repair your old electronics. It believes strongly in the R’s of recycling, Reuse being a large part of its programming.

MER provides much-needed recycling services to people and businesses in Winnipeg, while also providing jobs for Indigenous workers in the North End.

Little Brown Jug
When it comes to beer, you wouldn’t necessarily think green, but behind its signature 1919 brew, Little Brown Jug has invested a lot in ensuring its business is sustainable.

When LBJ first started its operations, it undertook significant environmental investments as it has a philosophy of looking at the long term effects of its business. It wanted to do right by offering a community space that was also environmentally-friendly.

As part of its commitment, when LBJ was first repurposing the 100-year-old building it currently brews in, it used its existing building stock to help revitalize the historic neighbourhood. It has no dedicated heat source; instead heat comes from the processing equipment, while it has also invested in a series of heat exchanges which recaptures heat from brewing that can then be reused.

LBJ shows environmental stewardship and is committed to many community partnerships to help support local initiatives.

Nadi Design
The founder of Nadi Design had one thing in mind when he developed his design firm: how can we leave the world a better place than we found it?

Nadi Design is an award-winning landscape, architecture and urban design firm creating designs that integrate renewable energy technologies and uses natural resources. Its primary focus is creating innovative and beautiful designs, while also reducing the carbon footprint often caused by buildings and urban environments.

Nadi Design worked on the development of the Brady Landfill. The plan included addressing the desire for habitat creation with diversity planting while providing a buffer to odour in the surrounding neighbourhoods. It also developed the nearby neighbourhood, Bridgewater.

Outlet Collection Winnipeg
Outlet Collection Winnipeg is the newest shopping centre in Winnipeg that took an environmental approach to its construction. Not only can people shop great deals, but they are also shopping in an environmentally-conscious made building.

The building was built to a LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), so it uses less energy, emits fewer greenhouse gases and reduces waste. As part of its commitment to being more sustainable, it embraces environmental management by providing ongoing training and support to retailers on the importance of reducing waste and best practices when it comes to waste management.

While Outlet Collection Winnipeg focuses on having a green building, it also works to support local organizations, including encouraging staff members to make personal donations to registered charities. If they do, their donation will be matched.

Diversity Foods is a University of Winnipeg social enterprise that prepares ethically sourced natural foods with a focus on local and sustainable procurement. In 2018, Diversity received the LEAF (Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice) Award for Greenest Restaurant in the category.

Not only does Diversity choose sustainable menu items, but it also works to provide meaningful employment opportunities for those traditionally marginalized and offers training programs for employees for career development.

Diversity believes food draws people together and is a way to gather and strengthen communities. Diversity Foods can be found at the University of Winnipeg, FortWhyte: Alive, the Manitoba Museum and many other locations across Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Folk Festival
Our final applaud is for the Winnipeg Folk Festival. The festival prides itself in embracing environmentally responsible business practices and minimizing environmental impact. It was the first event in Canada to be certified by The Eco-Logo Program for being environmentally-friendly.

Some of Winnipeg Folk Fest’s sustainable initiatives include a compost program, which ensures food vendors serve only compostable take-out containers, cutlery, cups and napkins. The festival encourages attendees to go water bottle free with many fill-up stations across the festival grounds and to utilize the free shuttle service to and from the festival.
Finally, the festival launched the LOFT (Local, Organic, Fair Trade) food program to encourage vendors to offer LOFT menu items. Winnipeg Folk Fest is even a Fair Trade certified event.