ReThink Green is a not-for-profit (NFP) organization operating out of Sudbury, Ontario with a mission to bring together ideas, partners and resources to build a more sustainable community. Three social enterprises – Green Economy North, The Forge, and Shared Platforms – provide alternative revenue streams to support the overall environmental and ecological mission of the NFP. Each social enterprise provides services for a fee with the profits being redistributed to reThink Green. This is not an uncommon model for NFPs to take as funding becomes more scarce while the demand for services increases.
Green Economy North is a target oriented program that enables businesses to measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, create a plan and set a public target to reduce their carbon footprint by at least of 20 percent over 10 years. Membership fees are offered on a sliding scale to ensure the program is accessible to all businesses. Services, including workshops and one-on-one coaching, are available to members for an additional fee. The team works closely with members to help develop a plan of action that reduces energy use, curbs GHG emissions and embraces sustainability. As one of 7 members of the Sustainability CoLab network Green Economy North has helped reduce over 50, 000 tonnes of GHG by more than 200 participants across Ontario.
The Forge is a co-working space in downtown Sudbury providing incubation services, access to fully equipped meeting rooms and a host of capacity-building workshops for the environmentally conscious professional. The goal is to provide affordable office space for social enterprises and to connect like-minded individuals through co-working opportunities. Membership plans are offered at a flexible rate and can be built to suit any need.
The third social enterprise operated by reThink Green is Shared Platforms. This social enterprise uses various networks and infrastructure to support community led initiatives, leveraging assets in building a more sustainable Sudbury. Partnerships are developed between people and organizations to bring great ideas to fruition. Typically, services within Shared Platform include accounting, insurance, office space, staff time and access to office equipment. Such partnerships help to reduce overhead costs to small NFP. These types of partnerships can also assist unincorporated organizations with great ideas to access funding for such. Each partnership is unique and built on the individual’s needs of the Shared Platform.
Scott Florence, Managing Director of reThink Green, hopes that the NFP will expand into transit by replicating the successful Travel Wise program in Waterloo, Ontario. The program would be adapted to suit the northern Ontario context and would have a number of synergies with the Green Economy North program. Currently in Sudbury there are two organizations that promote electric vehicles. Scott envisions more organizations taking an active role in educating the public and advocating for charging posts that are compatible with all makes and models of electric vehicles.
In the last several years there has been a push from the government to create Community Energy/Emissions Plans and reThink Green aims to assist in connecting the northeast region for the purposes of creating a Regional Energy/Emissions Plan. Scott says “It makes sense to have regional plans rather than community plans. The environment does not stop at city borders.” This type of work contributes to reThink Green’s long term goal which is to see Sudbury become a more environmentally and ecologically sustainable city.
For more information about reThink Green or any of its social enterprises check out the website.