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Environment

Team Mandate

  • Advocacy: issues related to environment and infrastructure locally, provincially and federally
  • Events: to initiate engagement, education and action (Environment Awards, Dialogues)
  • Projects: position papers and other projects to encourage environment initiatives for business

For more information or to join, contact Anne Peterson.


Issues

The issue: Emergency Planning and Business Recovery

What it’s about: Public Safety Canada has prepared comprehensive plans that address issues around business continuity in the event of a disaster. From their website:

“Recognizing that some services or products must be continuously delivered without interruption, there has been a shift from Business Resumption Planning to Business

Continuity Planning.”

The stated goal of the protocol is to enable “critical services or products to be continually delivered to clients” (including financial assistance). Certainly the maintenance of critical services and products is understood and unquestioned, as is the value of the Business Continuation Plan (BCP). However the goal to expand the criteria beyond just the critical services or products, to encompass the whole business community, which may not meet the critical definition, and to include the business community in the further development of these criteria, and the promotion of the programs such as the BCP.

The team determined that a more comprehensive disaster planning and recovery guide is recquired to assist businesses not only be prepared for emergencies, but recovery sufficiently and effectively so that losses are minimized and they can continue to operate.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: Team members had several meetings with Surrey’s Fire Chief and city officials and recommended a Surrey-based emergency guide that focused on recovery planning for businesses.

The result: The City of Surrey has developed an Emergency Preparedness Toolkit for Surrey Businesses, which does cover most of Surrey Board of Trade’s recommendations. More work needs to be done.


The issue: Waste Not… Achieving Zero Waste

What it’s about: Despite effective diversion rates and programs for plastics, paper, glass, and now organics among other waste products, local governments still spend about $2.6 billion per year to manage waste. To be sustainable, businesses, residents and cities need to consider a range of options to not only divert end-of-life material,

but to create economic advantages for up-cycling material (creating something new from waste) or to foster circular economic partnerships (one firm’s waste is another manufacturer’s raw material).

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Environment Team had a number of guest speakers attend meetings and explored the potential of developing a made-in-Surrey circular economy program. As more work needs to be done to develop Surrey – South Fraser economic opportunities, Surrey Board of Trade became a member of the National Zero Waste Council.

The result: Members attend NZWC workshops, meetings and the annual Zero Waste Conference. Advocacy is ongoing.


The issue: Styrofoam Recycling Policy.

What it’s about: The increased use of Styrofoam (a non-environmentally friendly material) in packaging electronics, furniture, etc. throughout the Lower Mainland and its eventual disposal into municipal landfills over the years has been identified as a serious environmental concern. Styrofoam, technically known as expanded polystyrene (

EPS), a man made product, can remain in the environment for hundreds of years and resists biodegradation. It occupies 19 times more volume in a landfill when compared to other solid municipal waste. Currently, there is no waste collection and recycling program specifically for Styrofoam, nor is there a product stewardship program such as one that exists for electronics.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: Working with local manufacturers of EPS, the Team composed a policy asking the Federal Government to actively promote the domestic reuse and remanufacture of waste expanded polystyrene (EPS), by initiating a dialogue with the Canadian Plastics Industry and research institutions to explore ways to stimulate and encourage research and develop competitive and high value, job-rich products made in Canada, from recycled EPS.

The result: Unanimous adoption by Canadian Chamber of Commerce to lobby Canadian government to work to solve the EPS issue.


The issue: Disaster Planning.

What it’s about: Public Safety Canada has prepared comprehensive plans that address issues around business continuity in the event of a disaster. From their website:

“Recognizing that some services or products must be continuously delivered without interruption, there has been a shift from Business Resumption Planning to Business

Continuity Planning.”

The stated goal of the protocol is to enable “critical services or products to be continually delivered to clients” (including financial assistance). Certainly the maintenance of critical services and products is understood and unquestioned, as is the value of the Business Continuation Plan (BCP). However the goal to expand the criteria beyond just the critical services or products, to encompass the whole business community, which may not meet the critical definition, and to include the business community in the further development of these criteria, and the promotion of the programs such as the BCP.

The City of Christchurch, New Zealand, slightly smaller than Surrey established a system to keep the economy alive in the wake of two devastating earthquakes, which literally destroyed their Central Business District – permanently. Canada is at risk from a large number of natural and man-made disasters, many of which are capable of causing damage on a scale well beyond the epicenter of the problem (such as the expected west coast subduction earthquake, central Canada power failure, massive flooding, wildfires, hurricanes and so on).

In most disasters, the economy takes a nose-dive because many business owners are left to fend for themselves.  Many simply close their doors and sadly a large percentage never survive the event, leaving workers and owners alike unemployed. The result is an economy damaged to a point that may take years or decades to recover.  It is often cited that 80% of businesses affected by a major incident close within 18 months.  Research to verify or dispel this has found that the source of that specific figure is murky, but even if the number were 60% it would still be catastrophic.

It is understandable that there may be less immediate consideration given to keeping the economy in motion when the prime concern is search, rescue and recovery. But by enabling businesses, at the earliest possible time, to continue to operate, no matter how limited, pay wages and relocate and operate from homes or other temporary facilities (particularly in the case of earthquake, tornado, flood, fire or other disruptive impacts).  The result is that money, in the form of wages, continues to flow into the affected environment.

Insurance claims are simply too slow (and often complex), many business owners don’t even know what their insurance policies cover or allow.

According to Peter Townsend, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, a support subsidy system was created within days of the last quake, where the national government injected a cash subsidy based on the number of business full time equivalents (FTEs). Payments went to the employer who then passed it on to the employees, providing a cash flow to allow options of re-establishing elsewhere (temporarily) and allowing companies to continue operating, even marginally.  Equally important is the aspect that cash was also sustaining the employees, their families, and the businesses where they shopped and spent money in the economy that would otherwise become cash-starved.

“Immediately post earthquake,” said Peter Townsend, “you pour cash into companies on a high trust basis, and you save a lot of companies.  The companies did not abuse that privilege and used the money wisely.  We’ve done some analysis, some investigations and some audits on how that money was spent, and the fraud rate on that high trust money ($210 million was pumped into the program) was lower than occurs on our normal unemployment benefit which is highly regulated,” said Townsend.

Public Safety Canada appears to be along the right track with its policies.  However, funding the entire economy as described and having those protocols in place as soon as possible will allow for much speedier recovery, with less economic loss. Such a program is going to cost the Federal (and Provincial) Government at the front end, however, some aspects of assistance could include partial and long-term pay backs as insurance payments are granted, and as businesses recover.

More in-depth review of the Christchurch experience would be an important next step given the results published by “Recover Canterbury”, the umbrella agency tasked with implementing the program:

“Recover Canterbury was always to be a temporary organization. This month, after 26 months, it closed its doors. In that time, the organization had contact with around 7,000 businesses. In 2012, Canterbury Development Corporation assessed its economic impact: by the most conservative assumptions, Recover Canterbury saved 617 jobs, and kept $39 million in the economy. Almost 400 businesses received funding of $6.1 million”.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: In order to better prepare for and protect Canada’s economy from major disasters, the Surrey Board of Trade asked that:

  • the Government of Canada review the results of the New Zealand experience, in a timely manner, to include all businesses in the protocols of supporting the affected economy;
  • the Government of Canada establish a working relationship with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across Canada (through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) to include them in the development and communications of these plans

The result: Submitted to the Federal Government. Advocacy in progress.


The project: Position Paper on Local-Scale Agri-Food Systems for Sustainable Cities.

What it’s about: British Columbians are increasingly interested in what we eat, and our demand and support for locally produced food continues to grow. We must seek and embrace new opportunities, try new things, develop new products and markets, and participate in opportunities presented by the emerging low-carbon economy. We

must all realize how important innovation can be: how it can change a farm, a community and a province.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: Worked collaboratively with Kwantlen Polytechnic University and composed a leadership document for Surrey and for Canadian cities. The full integration of agriculture and the food system within the planning, design, development and function of our communities is an alternative food system path for the urban sector in North America. It is an agri-food system intended to connect urbanites, in real and meaningful ways, to their environment and a human enterprise undeniably crucial to their well-being. It is also a way of reducing vulnerability and dependence on an ecologically unsound and increasingly vulnerable global agri-food system.  Regional agri-food systems represent a significant means to contribute to the advancement of sustainable urban communities (socially, economically and environmentally).

The potential benefits of municipalities advancing and supporting local-scale, human-intensive agriculture in British Columbia include:

We therefore recommend that Surrey capitalize on its rich and diverse agricultural heritage, the agricultural knowledge inherent in its diverse citizenry and its access to lands to:

The result: Paper released. Ongoing communication with the Ministry of Agriculture and the City of Surrey.


The issue: Response to Metro Vancouver Integrated Solid Waste & Resource Management Plan.

What it’s about: The Surrey Board of Trade is vitally interested in the sustainability of our community – not only its economic sustainability, but its social and environmental sustainability as well.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: Recommendations to Metro Vancouver: Our concerns deal with potentially dramatic costs of the current three proposed waste treatment options and the need to re-open the scope of solid waste management options to allow for more flexibility of solid waste management over time. We encouraged Metro Vancouver to that they not limit solid waste management options to waste-to-energy and Vancouver landfill – that they leave all options open. Metro Vancouver and communities like ours need the flexibility to use a variety of waste management options to reduce our waste and recycle as much as we can. New options seem to be coming available each year.

We also encouraged Metro Vancouver to undertake due diligence of the short and long-term costs of all options to the taxpayer, including comprehensive multiple criteria analysis, financial risk analysis, lifecycle analysis and GHG and carbon footprint analysis of all options. The current information from Metro Vancouver is sketchy at best, and does not provide this.

We are also concerned that the present report assumes all remaining waste will be accommodated in the Vancouver landfill even though the regional district has a contract with Belkorp to use the Cache Creek landfill until 2016, a landfill which has had its life extended by 20 to 25 years.

The result: Response received and recommendations taken into consideration. Ongoing observation and action.


The project: Reducing Emissions through Climate Smart.

What it’s about: Surrey Businesses Take the Lead on Reducing Emissions
Reducing paper use, diverting waste and changing fleet operations top the list of emission reduction strategies being developed by thirteen Surrey businesses who

recently completed the Climate Smart pilot project.

Climate Smart is B.C.’s first municipally supported climate change program designed specifically for the small- and mid-sized business community to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

This is an environmental leadership project in Surrey providing hands-on training in order to develop effective carbon footprint reduction strategies with a focus on cost savings and brand development. The program has given the Surrey Board of Trade and other participating businesses tools to become more competitive in an era of carbon regulation and volatile energy prices.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Climate Smart training program began in April 2010 with funding support from the City of Surrey and Metro Vancouver, and was co-hosted by the City and the Surrey Board of Trade.  The participants developed GHG inventories and reductions strategies, which will help the City track progress in its community-wide carbon emission reduction efforts.  The Surrey Board of Trade Business and Environment Achievement Awards are presented annually to the business that has demonstrated exceptional dedication to environmental leadership.


The issue: Proposed Air Quality Bylaw for Non-Road Diesel Engines.

What it’s about: The Surrey Board of Trade wishes to congratulate Metro Vancouver on its efforts to clean up the air shed, and in that regard, we support all efforts to regulate diesel engines with respect to emissions. Following a review of the proposals for regulation of non-road diesel engines, emission control and replacement of

older engines altogether, we are fully in support of these initiatives with one exception, diesel-powered stand-by power generators. Undoubtedly, the intention is to deal with those engines which are in frequent use, however we wonder if the matter of rarely used diesel stand-by power units was considered.  There certainly are a number of significant consequences, which may arise out of this bylaw.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade Transportation and Infrastructure Team offered the following commentary: There are many older stand-by power diesel engines and other infrequently used engines (perhaps even decades old) still in service, that met the emission standards in effect at the time of manufacture.  No doubt our municipalities and private businesses own many of these.  Given the stable nature of our power grid, they are rarely called upon and probably only average 20 – 50 operating hours per year (mostly for testing purposes).  Thus, a thirty year old engine may have only 600 – 1000 hours of operation. It seems to us that these engines are not the emissions problem. There is (as required by regulation) one of these engines in every public, apartment or commercial building, with an elevator, in the city.  New machines and engines for stationary applications already have strict Tier I, Tier II and now Tier III emission standards to meet. None of these will be a problem. However, the thousands of older engines could pose a huge problem to the business community and the public sector including the City of Surrey, if they had to be replaced. If they were to be included under the proposed bylaw, what would be the logistics of ensuring the compliance of these engines to meet the proscribed emission requirements?  What would be the financial consequences?

Given that the intention of the bylaw is to control the emissions of engines which are in frequent operation, and given the potential for enormous financial impact on both the public (including Metro Vancouver) and private sectors, to upgrade the hundreds or thousands of engines that are seldom used, perhaps this class of engine (based on some basic criteria such as hours of operation per month or year) be excused from the bylaw, at least until this aspect has been adequately addressed.

The result: Comments received. Ongoing observation and advocacy.


 The project: The Surrey Board of Trade Sustainability Policy.

Statement of Policy: Businesses and business organizations like the Surrey Board of Trade are the engines and stewards of the economy and as such must ensure that the actions and decisions that we take today do not impact negatively on future generations. The Surrey Board of Trade endorses the definition of sustainable

development as defined by the UN-sponsored Brundtland Commission: development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

By acting in a catalyzing role, the Surrey Board of Trade will pursue activities in the following areas:

  1. Education of members about sustainability (cost effective for business)
  2. Advocacy of sustainability from a business perspective among membership and in the community
  3. Recognition of businesses that use sustainable practices and that are models of the strategic advantages of sustainability
  4. The City of Surrey Sustainability Charter as it relates to commerce activity will be a significant piece in helping to develop strategies – social, economic and environmental
  5. SBOT leading by example on sustainable practices (ie double–sided photocopying; 100% recycling
  6. Value of food security (agriculture)
  7. Waste (garbage) strategy through a business lens
  8. Canadian Sustainable Energy Strategy
  9. Environment Awards and Luncheon – September each year

The project: Emergency & Disaster Management/Business Continuity Plan.

What it’s about: Emergencies and disasters can occur any time without warning. The more you are prepared for them, the better you will be able to act, minimizing panic and confusion when an emergency occurs. Relatively speaking, small businesses may have more to lose than large companies when a disaster — natural or otherwise —

strikes. Because of high costs or lack of resources, many smaller companies have less rigorous business-continuity plans in place, and some have no formal processes at all. The purpose of the bulletin was to help employers develop emergency response plans that will meet the specific needs of their small businesses.  The plan should take into account the type of business you are in and the nature of your worksite.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: In partnership with WorkSafeBC created an Emergency Response Tool Kit and promotes this continually to members.

The result: Phase 2 of this plan in progress. The Surrey Board of Trade believes in doing this leadership work around Emergency and Disaster Management, especially in light of a possible Earthquake. Hosted Leadership Surrey Business Dialogue session on this issue. Ongoing.


The issue: Surrey Board of Trade wants to delay Bylaw 280 to regulate municipal solid waste and recyclable materials.

What it’s about: Metro Vancouver has the authority for the management of municipal solid waste in the region, and has set aggressive waste reduction and recycling goals as part of the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (ISWRMP).

Certain haulers are currently delivering some residential and institutional, commercial, and light industrial (ICI) waste to disposal facilities other than regional facilities (Metro Vancouver and City of Vancouver transfer stations and disposal facilities). The region would like to achieve the diversion targets set out in the ISWRMP. Control over tipping fees, disposal bans and material prohibitions are tools to reduce waste and ensure recyclable materials are diverted from disposal. Metro Vancouver has developed a strategy which requires residential and commercial/institutional garbage to be delivered to regional facilities while allowing for the development of private sector mixed waste material recovery facilities for the purpose of recovering recyclables and organics from multi-family residential and commercial/institutional waste following source separation.

Metro Vancouver asserts landfills are a last resort and is poised to spend $470 million on one or more waste-to-energy facilities by 2018 to handle 370,000 tonnes of garbage annually. It is being argued that Metro Vancouver could be creating a garbage monopoly that could restrain private enterprise. The proposed Bylaw 280 would ensure that garbage generated in Metro Vancouver is processed at regional facilities, not transported to areas outside of the region (e.g., Abbotsford, Washington State, etc.). Metro Vancouver, in their efforts to reduce materials to landfill, reduce potential revenue to waste processing plants. Metro Vancouver then indicates that as a result they must increase tipping fees to maintain current and proposed infrastructure. This requires further assessment. The other key element is that all these residuals (under Bylaw 280) must come to Metro Vancouver to support existing and proposed infrastructure moving forward (which could restrict competition and creative solutions). The focus now turns to the B.C. Government, which must ultimately approve the bylaw.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has been involved in Metro Vancouver’s efforts to find solutions to the steadily growing issues around the waste disposal issues in Metro Vancouver.

We have followed, and frequently been in support of, their efforts to increase recycling, deal with the problems of multi-unit housing, and in particular, those issues that affect the business community. We have also closely followed the discussions concerning the waste to energy proposals. This is a landmark piece of legislation with enormous economic and philosophical ramifications for the business community (as well as individual taxpayers).  The Surrey Board of Trade recommends:

  • That the BC Government and Metro Vancouver take a cautious approach to Bylaw 280 to take the necessary steps that will ensure a more comprehensive, simple understanding of Bylaw 280 amongst the business community in terms of its impacts on the cost of doing business and to the future of waste management. The BC Government and Metro Vancouver need to be receptive to feedback from the business community.
  • That the BC Government and Metro Vancouver delay signing Bylaw 280 to allow time to assess the ramifications of Multi-Materials BC and other changes to garbage collections taking place currently.
  • That the BC Government impose conditions on Metro Vancouver, if Bylaw 280 is approved, that would ensure that municipal solid waste is managed in a cost effective and environmentally sustainable manner, that ensures no unintended financial impacts to local taxpayers and that opportunities to maximize waste diversion through private sector participation are clearly defined and realized. Further, there needs to be scheduled review periods of the bylaw.

The Surrey Board of Trade wants to work together with the BC Government and Metro Vancouver to create a world-class waste management system. The Surrey Board of Trade will continue to receive and consider additional information that stakeholders provide.

The result: Waiting for decision from the B.C. Government. Have sent our recommendations to the B.C. Minister of Environment and Metro Vancouver.


The issue: Surrey Board of Trade Says No to Recycling Program (Multi-Materials BC – MMBC)

What it’s about: The Surrey Board of Trade is not supporting the new recycling regime under the direction of Multi-Materials of BC (MMBC). A rising number of concerns being raised by small businesses, which comprise a large percentage of our membership, indicate concern that the financial and administrative impact on business will

result in much higher fees required to comply with the law, or administrative loads necessary to comply with these additional levels of red tape. This will increase the cost to business and, in effect, our economy.

The Surrey Board of Trade is concerned that as businesses continue to struggle with a still fragile economy these additional fees and administrative pressures will force prices up, and create another level of bureaucracy imposed with little consultation, much ambiguity and no consideration for the problems now coming to light.  Certain sectors, such as the printing and publishing industries, are facing serious consequences, which threaten their ability to continue in business at all.

Some businesses have stated that the changes will result in additional charges for this collection, which currently returns about $120 per tonne.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: A letter to the BC Minister of Environment and a media release were issued, receiving significant media attention.

Despite the May 19th, 2014 deadline to enroll, the program was clearly not ready, and we strongly urged the Provincial Government to impose a delay in its implementation or stop it all together until these problems are resolved. The Surrey Board of Trade was and is prepared to participate with the provincial government assisting with stakeholder consultations and workshops to help resolve some of these issues.  We will also assist in disseminating program information, facilitating workshops and communicating to the monitoring table for this program.

The intent of this program was to reduce waste, to reduce the packaging used in consumer goods. Instead business is now faced with actual added costs – and that is not acceptable.

The result: No response from the BC Minister of Environment. MMBC program launched on May 19th, 2014. SBOT will monitor cost impacts from MMBC.


The issue: Trans Mountain Expansion Project

What it’s about: The conveyance of crude and refined petroleum products is a critical aspect of Canada’s export activity through the Western Gateway. This is in line with national and provincial economic interests involving key commodities critical to the Canadian economy. Due to twinning, revenue creation at the federal, provincial and

municipal levels is expected to boost the economy both over the short and long terms. The Surrey Board of Trade is cognizant of the significant environmental risks due to spills associated with operation of the pipeline and the transport (rail, road and marine) of petroleum products. Oil Spill response is a priority for the Surrey Board of Trade.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade supports the Kinder Morgan project to twin its Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The Surrey Board of Trade advocates for:

1. The selection of a route/corridor for the pipeline, which will cause minimal environmental and negative economic impacts as a result of a spill over the lifetime of operation of the pipeline.

2. The implementation of sophisticated spill control measures and the deployment of state-of-the-art technologies to control spills along the length of the pipeline.

3. A review of the Transportation of the Dangerous Goods Regulations, followed by any necessary amendments to the regulations that would increase the safety of the transport of crude oil and other refined petroleum products.

4. Enhancements to the Provincial Spill Response Program that would help minimize the risks of a spill of petroleum products/crude from tankers, ships or rail cars and thereby create very safe conditions for transporting such dangerous goods.

5.   Adequate financial security as part of the twinning to deal with the adverse economic impacts as a result of an environmental disaster due to a spill or accident causing a release of petroleum products into marine/freshwaters or environmentally sensitive land.

Components of the Surrey Board of Trade’s position paper include:

  1. How the pipeline twinning affects Surrey and BC residents.
  2. Effect on the Canadian economy.
  3. Implications to environmental safety within the footprint of the pipeline traversing through BC and in marine waters.
  4. Emergency Response.

The result: Full position paper sent to National Energy Board and stakeholders. In progress.