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Session in Corner Brook drives home green sustainability message

David Haire, vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador division of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, facilitated a green sustainability for profit workshop at the civic centre in Corner Brook Tuesday.
David Haire, vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador division of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, facilitated a green sustainability for profit workshop at the civic centre in Corner Brook Tuesday. - Gary Kean

While the up-front expense of operating a green business might be a deterrent for some, David Haire says the business case is always solid if the investment eventually makes an enterprise more profitable.

The vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador division of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters was in Corner Brook Tuesday to facilitate a workshop on green sustainability for profit’s sake.

The session was attended by nearly 20 people — mostly municipal and provincial level government officials, but also a handful of private entrepreneurs.

Haire said being more profitable can mean saving a few extra dollars with common sense measures such as simply turning off lights, heat or water that aren’t being used.

Of course, it can also mean making major infrastructure investments that will pay off in the longer term, such as some of the energy-saving measures taken by the City of Corner Brook at its civic centre in recent years.

Seeking out recycled or reused materials, instead of using virgin resources, or even timing transportation routes to avoid traffic delays can also boost a company’s bottom line.

“I always look at this as using your wit first, not your wallet,” said Haire. “If you have to use your wallet, make sure you are assessing and adopting new technologies that will do what you think it’s going to do and will give you the savings you are expecting.”

While bigger impacts are more possible in industrial settings or with larger businesses, Haire said the same philosophy of adopting green sustainability can help make smaller businesses and homes run more economically too.

“You think you can’t afford to do it now, but you really can’t afford not to do it,” he said. “You have to be looking five or 10 years down the road. It can’t always be about getting your money back in the next five or six months.”

Annette George, centre, the City of Corner Brook's manager of community services, leads a tour of one component of the Corner Brook civic centre's energy recovery systems.
Annette George, centre, the City of Corner Brook's manager of community services, leads a tour of one component of the Corner Brook civic centre's energy recovery systems.

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