Sustainability Summit

Exploring a Regional Green Economy

The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay > 2024 Events > Sustainability Summit Recap

Sustainability Summit

Thursday, April 25, 9-4 PM

Hosted by the Town of the Blue Mountains

Opening Remarks for New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap

One of the Institute’s four priority areas is Sustainability towards a Greener Economy and our Design Team worked with the Town of the Blue Mountains on their first annual Sustainability Summit.

Over 125 leaders from local municipalities, businesses, and nonprofits gathered at Blue Mountain Resort for the Town of the Blue Mountains’ Sustainability Summit. The first part of the day focused on the Town’s sustainability plan and circular economies. The second half of the day, held in partnership with the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay (TISGB) and Green Economy Canada, focused on helping members of our community conduct their operations in a greener way with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water consumption, and reduced costs.

After a heartfelt Land Acknowledgement, Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Jeffrey Fletcher, Manager of Solid Waste and Environmental Initiatives, introduced the Town’s five-year sustainability plan, “the Blue Mountains Future Story”. After recognizing that the human ecosystem coexists with the natural ecosystem, the Town is taking bold actions to ensure that this relationship stays healthy. More than half of the Town’s 137 key steps have been initiated – the four biggest steps so far have been the Natural Asset Inventory, a council motion to achieve NetZero, decisions to drive inclusionary policies to advance diversity, equitability, and accessibility, and the implementation of collaborative partnerships. 

Acknowledging that sustainability is a collective endeavour, the summit featured speakers who explored the shift from a linear economy to a circular economy. This included presentations on: 

  • Grey County’s climate action plan to reduce 71% of its corporate emissions through 9 key actions, 
  • Georgian Bay Forever’s successes at studying and reducing plastic pollution in our waterways, thus reducing its negative impact on our food system and residents health,
  • Three Waters Foundation’s work with indigenous communities to support their connection with our region’s land and water and their concerns about plastic pollution, 
  • Terracycle’s recycling of products that most municipal systems cannot, 
  • MJ Waste Solutions work on circular economies and local initiatives, and 
  • Ice River Sustainable Solutions’ highlighting how a responsible producer should do business.

After lunch Green Economy Canada and a TISGB-organized Design Team facilitated a workshop to share the concept of Green Economy Hubs and how they help businesses and organizations work towards reducing their carbon emissions, waste, and water consumption, and mitigate the risk posed by rising costs. This program begins with learning how to measure emissions and inefficiencies because, as Priyanka Lloyd, Executive Director of Green Economy Canada said, “what gets measured gets managed.” Green Economy Canada supports hub members to make improvements that reduce costs and benefit the environment.

Rosalyn Morrison, Volunteer Chair of the Institute, shared a presentation which underscored the Institute’s focus on laying the groundwork for a Green Economy Hub in our region, as well as the importance of how we need to create a multi-sector partnership to ensure its viability. Rosalyn’s Presentation is available here.

Stay tuned by subscribing to the Institute’s newsletter, to learn more about the Institute and its partners’ work to start a Green Economy Hub Pilot Project in our region!

To see the entire day’s worth of presentations, visit the Town of the Blue Mountains link here. 

Speaker at Sustainability Summit on June 25, 2024
Speaker at Sustainability Summit on June 25, 2024

We believe that Southern Georgian Bay can meet today’s needs of the planet, its people, and economic vitality…without compromising the needs of future generations.

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