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LiveSmart BC Community Feature

West Coast Air is Climate Smart
West Coast Air is Climate Smart

If an airline can reduce its carbon footprint, then so can your business. Rick Baxter, President and CEO of West Coast Air, shares his thoughts on EcoTrust Canada's Climate Smart program with LiveSmart BC:

LiveSmart BC: Why did West Coast Air decide to take part in Climate Smart?
Rick Baxter: We had more questions than answers when examining our carbon footprint and the “wild west” of the offset market. Climate Smart provided us with the tools to measure, reduce and offset our greenhouse gas emissions.

LSBC: Did the program have an impact on how you do business?
RB: Without a doubt. It showed us where our emissions come from and allowed us to make immediate changes that reduce our carbon footprint. Our day to day decisions are affected by the Climate Smart data. For example, we started flying at a higher altitude and slightly lower speed, and using lighter aircraft components, all of which made surprisingly large reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions.

LSBC: What was the most important thing you gained from the program?
RB: Visibility into the sources of our emissions. Airplanes are an obvious source, but there are other areas in every business that people may not recognize that produce emissions. Knowing is half the battle.

LSBC: Do you find that your customers appreciate your efforts to be Climate Smart?
RB: The public is really getting focused on environmental issues, so yes, it’s very important to our customers that we are doing everything we can to make their travel as eco-friendly as possible. In fact, I strongly believe that we have a competitive advantage because of our participation in Climate Smart. That said, it’s the right thing to do for future generations.

LSBC: What about your employees? Do they appreciate your efforts to be Climate Smart?
RB: Yes. Employees, just like customers, see emissions reductions as an important initiative. This is going to become more important as time goes one. Hiring the best people will require that we are environmentally responsible in all of the communities we service.

LSBC: Did the program have an impact on your own climate smarts?
RB: Actually, yes. Part of the Climate Smart program looks at emissions caused by our employees getting to work, so that got me thinking about my own emissions and how I can reduce them.

LSBC: Would you recommend the program to other businesses?
RB: Definitely! This is the most cost effective way for a company to educate their employees, measure greenhouse gas emissions, identify reduction opportunities, and learn about the emerging offset market. Businesses that get left behind in this space are going to find themselves losing credibility in the marketplace, as environmental measures become a standard part of business reporting. Having a consistent, broadly accepted measurement tool like Climate Smart is key, so businesses can provide their stakeholders with understandable data on their emissions and other environmental initiatives. Our goal is to encourage every small and medium sized enterprise in BC to sign up for Climate Smart!

For information about the training program, visit Climate Smart. For information about LiveSmart BC's Climate Smart Contest, click here.

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