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Renewal in a Post-COVID World. A Message from our President

Renewal in a Post- COVID World

As we move to mass vaccination and the prospect of herd immunity, we must now think about what we want a Post-COVID world to look like.

While much of society has been preoccupied with the pandemic, there are many world-wide, including the World Economic Forum, who recognize that the pre-COVID world was far from what we envisage as being “green and just” and that we need a “Great Reset.” Stan Mathewson There is no vaccine for climate change

With Earth Day just around the corner, we want to remind everyone how we can all influence positive change for our planet and for our society.  Two important ways are through what we buy and how we invest.   These two topics are at the heart of an informative event planned for April 22nd (Earth Day).  You are invited to join us at 7 pm, to tune into a Sustainable Orillia event titled “The Power of Money: Does Your Wallet Have a Conscience?”

This event features the excellent film “Our Planet: Too Big to Fail.”  There will be a panel of local experts offering their insights and analysis, followed by group discussions.  As Consumers and Investors, we have far more power than we think, and both the film and the workshop will re-emphasize how the corporations that we invest in and the products we buy can be major polluters and despoilers of nature if we let them.  

It is time to understand what the companies you are investing in do with your money. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting by companies is becoming more robust and transparent, and investors now have more certainty that their investment are helping, not hindering, sustainability.

Similarly, when we open our wallets to buy something, do we know the carbon or environmental footprint or the safety of that product?  To understand the impact may seem overwhelming, but there are a number of standards that we can use to help:  

  • We all see Energy Star ratings on energy-related products that can help us reduce energy usage.
  • We can also see the fuel efficiency of vehicles. This is particularly important because Canadians have the world’s worst fuel economy. Some of this is because we live in a cold country, but more importantly we purchase many large trucks and SUVS – often when we really don’t need such large vehicles. When you think about your next vehicle, consider a battery electric or at least a plug-in hybrid. Check out our Electric Vehicle portal at sustainableorllia.ca/EVIP for a comprehensive guide to electric vehicles.
  • We have all heard about the controversy over deforestation of the Amazon and other tropical forests for agriculture and wondered what we can do. This is where standards such as Fair Trade Organic and Rain Forest Alliance or the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) become useful in our shopping decisions.  
  • Ocean and forest products are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Other certifications for a range of products include GreenGuard, Ecologo, Greenseal and Energuide. 

You can learn much more about the power of your money by attending our Earth Day event. 

Also you will soon be able to download the Sustainable Purchasing Guide at sustainableorillia.ca and find out more about sustainable products and standards.

COVID is an issue, but there is hope for mass vaccination. However, there is No Vaccine for Climate Change. It is only through people and organizations changing behaviours, in part by buying and investing to support sustainability, that we can overcome the most existential threats to our planet and society—climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

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