Toronto City Summit Alliance unveils "Greening Greater Toronto" - With goal of becoming The Greenest City Region In North America



    New report details problems, assesses GTA's current performance and
    identifies drivers of the five most serious environmental issues facing
    the region

    TORONTO, June 24 /CNW/ - The Toronto City Summit Alliance (TCSA) today
launched "Greening Greater Toronto," its latest initiative to improve the
future of the Toronto region. Greening Greater Toronto was created in response
to the TCSA's 2007 call for a regional environmental vision and plan that will
build upon the existing efforts and leadership of environmental organizations,
governments, research institutions and businesses. Since then, more than 100
partners from corporations, industry, government and the non-profit sector
have joined forces to improve the environmental health and future of the
Greater Toronto Area and make it the greenest city region in North America.
    Greening Greater Toronto launched four immediate programs to address the
region's environmental challenges, including (see below & attached report for
details):

    - Driving a large-scale retrofit of GTA commercial buildings;
    - Creating a local emissions reduction fund;
    - Introducing a green procurement initiative, and
    - Building a network of public education/demonstration centres.

    The report assesses the GTA's performance against key benchmark cities
and regions. And, while the GTA performs ahead of some cities and regions, it
lags behind in some areas of carbon emissions, water quality, air quality,
land use and waste. The GTA has made some progress in addressing environmental
issues, however, there are numerous challenges to overcome, among them:
polluted water and beaches; aging, inefficient buildings; underfunded transit;
and poor air quality resulting in premature death and hospital visits.
    "I am thrilled to see so many partners involved in the Greening Greater
Toronto Initiative," says The Honourable John Wilkinson, Minister of Research
and Innovation and MPP for Perth-Wellington. "This collaboration between the
private sector, industry, government and the non-profit sector truly reflects
the cutting edge and innovative capacity of our province. Through our
Innovation Agenda we are focusing on areas where Ontario already is, or can
become, a world leader. This initiative is in line with that Agenda, which
places innovation in clean technologies and the bioeconomy among my Ministry's
top priorities."
    "Environmental issues do not respect city boundaries," said Toronto Mayor
David Miller, chair of the C40 Group of cities leading the global fight
against climate change. "I welcome increased cooperation among local
governments, businesses and residents across the Greater Toronto Area for a
greener, cleaner and healthier region."
    "This report asks the hard questions and recommends an intelligent range
of promising initiatives, such as: retrofitting aging buildings, creating
public education centres, introducing a local emissions reduction fund and
accelerating green procurement programs," says The Honourable Michael Chong,
MP for Wellington-Halton Hills, and representing The Honourable John Baird,
Minister of the Environment. "We know that this province has the opportunity
and resources to become a Green GTA, and Greening Greater Toronto promises to
translate this thinking into large scale, immediate and high impact concrete
actions."
    Since the Toronto City Summit Alliance's 2007 Summit, a task force of
more than 100 individuals from leading environmental organizations, municipal
and provincial governments, businesses, labour unions, the nonprofit sector,
and academic circles have been working together to address four questions:

    
    1.  How should a region like the GTA measure and assess environmental
        quality?
    2.  How are we doing on key measures and what should be our long-term
        goals?
    3.  What specific actions should we undertake on a regional level to
        accelerate our progress toward those goals?
    4.  How can we accelerate the development of a green economic base and
        become a major exporter of green products and services?
    

    Greening Greater Toronto is the result of their efforts and the overall
vision of the Greening Greater Toronto partnership is to make the Greater
Toronto Area the greenest city region in North America.
    "The Toronto region has already demonstrated that we can be an
environmental innovator. Greening Greater Toronto is about taking that spirit
and engaging the whole community in the vision of making this one of the
greenest city regions in the world," says David Pecaut, Co-Chair of the
Greening Greater Toronto initiative and Chair of the Toronto City Summit
Alliance. "Greening our region will not only result in significant health and
quality of life benefits but will also drive economic growth and jobs as the
GTA becomes a centre of green technologies and services."

    GOALS AND BENCHMARKING:

    Greening Greater Toronto encompasses a wide variety of initiatives
designed to commit to and achieve the highest possible environmental goals,
including:

    - Reduced greenhouse gas emissions;
    - Clean air;
    - Clean water;
    - Reduction and effective management of waste; and
    - Sustainable land use.

    Greening Greater Toronto will work with regional municipalities and other
partners to measure and monitor the GTA's performance against other cities and
city regions. For each of these five goals, Greening Greater Toronto has
developed a set of indicators to enable the measurement and assessment of
environmental quality. Data on the GTA's current performance against these
indicators will provide benchmarks to be applied against other cities and
regions, set targets for the GTA, and measure progress over time.
    "Our region's size and density mean that our environmental challenges are
significant," says Eva Ligeti, Co-Chair of the Greening Greater Toronto
initiative and Executive Director of the Clean Air Partnership. "Our footprint
will grow dramatically if we do not curb emissions now."

    BENEFITS:

    In addition to the vital outcome of reducing environmental impact in the
region, there will be many other benefits to greening the GTA, including:

    
    -   improved quality of life for residents through more green space and
        perpetually open beaches;
    -   less time spent commuting;
    -   improved health for residents; and
    -   economic benefits for individuals, businesses, and the economy at
        large.
    

    "We're proud to be contributing to Greening Greater Toronto as it
promises real environmental, economic and social benefits," says Mike
Pedersen, Co-Chair of the Greening Greater Toronto initiative and Group Head
Corporate Operations, TD Bank Financial Group. "We have committed to greening
TD's operations - we recently pledged to be carbon neutral in 2010 - and we're
a Partner in Greening Greater Toronto's efforts. These new programs are about
making a difference by working together. To help ensure its success, TD will
provide $500,000 to Greening Greater Toronto to give it the resources it needs
as we get going on this important agenda. We look forward to other
organizations joining us."
    "TD has been a supporter of the Toronto City Summit Alliance since it
began in 2002," said Julia Deans, CEO of the TCSA. "We are very grateful for
TD's leadership on this and so many other region-building initiatives."

    THE TEAM:

    Managed by the Greening Greater Toronto Partnership (created by the TCSA
in 2007), the initiative will build on existing environmental initiatives and
leadership of the region's environmental organizations, governments, research
institutions and businesses. The partnership is working together to identify
additional ways to address the GTA's environmental challenges and
opportunities, and to mobilize and connect new people and resources as a way
to ensure the momentum of becoming a worldwide leader in sustainable living.
Made up of a wide-ranging collection of 120 individuals and organizations
throughout the GTA, the task force contains senior representatives from the
GTA's leading corporations, environmental not-for-profits, associations and
government departments.

    GREENING OPPORTUNITIES:

    Green GTA has identified key areas of opportunity to dramatically reduce
the environmental footprint of our city region. They are:

    
    -   Greening Households: increase motivation and activity of all GTA
        residents through a campaign that rewards green behaviours, educates
        and inspires them to lead a greener lifestyle.

    -   Greening of Business: 64% of waste and almost 50% of carbon emissions
        in the GTA are generated by businesses. Many GTA businesses have
        become leaders in reducing environmental impact; the Greening Greater
        Toronto initiative strives to move further faster.

    -   Greening Public Institutions: encouraging governments to play a
        leading role in adopting green technology, developing ways for public
        buildings to access financing to green, and promoting upgrades across
        all eligible public buildings.

    -   Government Policies: convene the leaders of municipal, provincial and
        federal governments to raise awareness about their key environmental
        impacts, to facilitate multi-sector dialogues with key stakeholders,
        and to garner support for bold political actions that mitigate and
        reduce our impact on the environment.

    -   Building a Green Economy: as one of the major technology hubs of
        North America, it is critical to build on existing wins in the green
        technology sector and become a market leader in green goods and
        services.
    

    NEW PROGRAMS:

    Over the next two years, Greening Greater Toronto will focus on adding to
the activities already underway with programs that attack the key contributors
to the five measures. Among them: (see "Greening Greater Toronto
Implementation Papers" for full details)

    Retrofitting GTA Buildings: Build on current initiatives municipal
retrofitting drives by helping to drive large-scale uptake of building
retrofits. Activities will include: launching a "Corporate Greening Challenge"
awareness campaign; creating a region-wide effort to promote the use of
innovative retrofit financing mechanisms; convening key commercial tenants to
work with building owners to undertake retrofits; advocating for the
region-wide expansion of effective localized retrofit programs; and building a
task force dedicated to tackling the barriers to retrofitting buildings.

    A Network of Education and Demonstration Centres: Greening Greater
Toronto, together with Evergreen, the Toronto and Region Conservation
Authority and other partners, will establish a network of fixed-site and
mobile Education and Demonstration Centres. These will provide a "how-to"
source to inspire GTA residents and to equip them with the knowledge and tools
needed to reduce their environmental footprint within their home, places of
work, and community.

    Domestic Emissions Reduction Fund: Establish a multi-million dollar
Domestic Emissions Reduction Fund to allow corporations that are already
reducing their emissions internally to contribute to further emission
reductions by funding non-profit and public sector projects to reduce
greenhouse gases.

    Green Procurement Program: promote a region-wide transformation of
business operations through the implementation of a major Green Procurement
Initiative focused on accelerating the adoption of green products, services,
technologies, and business practices.

    FROM VISION TO REALITY:

    Greening Greater Toronto has laid out a plan to ensure that the vision of
being the greenest big city region in North America becomes a reality with
initiatives that build on - not duplicate - existing environmental policies
and programs. The four pillars of the plan include:

    
    1.  Partnership: Greening Greater Toronto Partnership invites individuals
        and organizations across the GTA to work together to drive change and
        achieve our common goals by supporting the overall initiative and
        participating as appropriate in individual projects.

    2.  Implementation groups: Greening Greater Toronto will continue to
        introduce program- and topic-specific groups to drive specific ideas
        and programs to action. These groups will continue to develop ideas,
        identify partners, stakeholders and owners for the programs, develop
        implementation plans, and create funding/financing mechanisms for
        existing and new programs.

    3.  New programs: Beyond the four initial programs launched today,
        Greening Greater Toronto welcomes additional ideas and opportunities
        to support and collaborate on current activities.

    4.  Measurement: Greening Greater Toronto will work with municipalities
        to develop individual targets, and track progress against their goals
        along the five key measures.
    

    ABOUT TCSA:

    Since its inception in 2002, The Toronto City Summit Alliance (TCSA) has
developed and supported initiatives addressing issues critical to the future
health and wealth of the Toronto region. TCSA is a coalition of civic leaders
in the Toronto region. The TCSA was formed to address challenges to the future
of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic
integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing. In
April 2003, the TCSA published Enough Talk: An Action Plan for the Toronto
Region, focusing on issues where there was a clear consensus for action and
where progress could be made quickly. Since publishing Enough Talk, the TCSA
has advocated for its recommendations and worked with community partners and
with governments towards their implementation.





For further information:

For further information: Dorenda McNeil, Counsel Public Relations, Tel:
(416) 961-5898 x 216, dmcneil@counselpr.ca

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TORONTO CITY SUMMIT ALLIANCE

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