Vancouver Island Green
The Vancouver Island Green Business Collective (VIGBC) was built to support businesses that are looking for practical ways to reduce their environmental impact and contribute to the community. For businesses, VIGBC offers a guide to greening operations and educating staff. For consumers, it is a directory of local businesses that have a high standard for green practices. VIGBC members are raising the bar and make continuous improvements to their business every year.
Businesses that are keen to join the collective are taken through an in-depth questionnaire that assesses their water consumption, energy use, waste levels, social impact and much more. A VIGBC verifier will walk the business through the process and provide a preliminary score with recommendations on how the business can reduce their environmental impact and improve their final score.
Specific checklists have been developed for a variety of sectors including restaurant, retail, office, spa & salon, and transportation and trades. Each business is certified to levels Silver, Gold or Green, with Green being the highest level based on the number of actions they have implemented.
In addition to the VIGBC ranking, businesses also have the opportunity to become an Ocean Friendly Business by completing all Surfrider Vancouver Island actions on the designated checklist. These actions focus on reducing single use plastics.
The Food Eco District (FED) is working to create the first sustainable dining district in Canada - a vibrant and distinct neighbourhood in Victoria’s downtown core. The District is fast becoming a destination for sustainable food, full of amazing eateries, a growing number of edible gardens and educational opportunities to get involved with urban agriculture. FED’s role is to inspire food-focused communities and ecosystems by connecting people to the food they eat, while also encouraging compelling solutions to increase climate action on Vancouver Island.
FED provides consultation on creating and maintaining multiple types of edible gardens, converts under-utilized urban areas into green spaces and works alongside developers, local government, and the local food industry to increase Victoria’s capacity for urban agriculture and food security in the future.
In addition to this, FED has developed food security programs including the Urban Learning Garden in the courtyard of the downtown library where anyone can learn about growing in urban spaces and the My FED Farm program to provide free start up food garden kits to those in need to build confidence in our communities to grow their own food!
FED is its own local non-profit operating under the Synergy Foundation umbrella. FED is planting food, eating local, and growing a movement in the district and beyond.
Food Eco District
Project Zero is an initiative focused on bringing circular economy concepts to the west coast. Currently only 9% of our world is circular, meaning that the remaining 91% of all goods are linear and destined for landfills, oceans, or pollution at the end of life.
The goal of this initiative is to use circular economy concepts to advance quality of life, economic equity through incubation, innovation, education, and advocacy. The program’s five focus areas are changing business as usual, creating a movement that inspires, partnerships, advocacy, and economic development.
Project Zero runs an annual incubator program which supports new business ideas and early star-ups who operate within the circular economy to launch their businesses and contribute to a low-carbon economic ecosystem. Quarterly roundtable meetings are hosted by the Project Zero team to engage members from diverse sectors and focus on policy change to reflect and support circular economy and zero waste within local government and key stakeholders.
The Ecostar Awards is an annual gala to recognize outstanding environmental achievements and leadership on Vancouver Island. The awards are presented to island-based businesses, non-profits, academia, governments, and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in sustainability and in the community.
Award categories range from Environmental Stewardship to Greenest Office to Ecopreneur of the Year. To apply to the Ecostar Awards, businesses fill out an online application form and describe their sustainable initiatives that have been implemented within the past two years. Finalists and winners are determined by a third party panel made up of business and sustainability leaders who serve as judges.
The winners of the Ecostar Awards are announced at the awards gala. The gala provides green leaders on the island the opportunity to come together, connect, and celebrate each other’s successes and to learn and be inspired by local innovation.