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Name:

Tracy Hucul

Company/NGO Name:

Green Action Centre

Region, Country:

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

1. What is the mission of your company/ngo? 

We promote greener and better living by sharing practical solutions and advocating for change. Through education and action we help Manitobans live more sustainably at home, at work and at school.

 

2. What is the most innovative or environmentally/socially impactful project/practice your company/NGO has implemented?

All our programs are geared for impact, including our environmental presentations in schools, teaching people to backyard compost, and supporting increased walking and cycling. However, our social enterprise, Compost Winnipeg, has a more immediate and visible impact. It’s a commercial and residential composting service with a triple bottom line approach and, each day, we measure the organic waste we’ve diverted from the landfill and what that equates in terms of GHG reductions.

 

3. How have those projects positively impacted the local community and/ or your country?

Winnipeg (population 700,000+) is one of the few major cities in Canada without a municipal curbside organics program. Our compost collection service ensures Winnipeggers who are not able or interested in backyard or community composting can still compost! In our first 18 months, with just 200 clients (commercial and residential) we diverted over 165,000 kg of organics from the landfill; equivalent to over 97,000kg of CO2, which is equal to driving a passenger vehicle around the earth 9 times. We continue to see increased demand, thus our operation and impact continue to grow!

 

4. Please share any new projects you will be implementing in the near future.

We just launched our new ride-share program, called GoManitoba. It’s a province-wide commuting tool creating more sustainable, healthy commuting options for all Manitobans. Individuals from across Manitoba can connect with others to share commutes, save money, time, and reduce traffic congestion and the number of people driving alone. The program goes beyond traditional carpool partners to also include cycling mentors, transit or walking matches.

 

5. What are your top 3 career accomplishments? 

When I started my own business support company, I accepted a contract managing and coordinating a major Hemp Conference in Winnipeg, with very little events management experience; it was considered a great success and it taught me to not be afraid of taking on and developing new roles or working outside of my comfort zone.

I then spent over a decade working in the federal government, managing a grant program that supported infrastructure development for cultural/heritage facilitates in Canada. I worked on getting more environmental considerations into our program guidelines and application forms, and I initiated an inter-governmental working group with other potential funders, to review proposals together and consider opportunities where we could combine our knowledge and support to increase a project’s success.

At Green Action Centre, my biggest accomplishments to date have been helping diversify our revenues to be less reliant on government grants, as well as focusing more effort on working within and reaching our First Nations communities. We have a number of exciting First Nation related projects, including a waste minimization project we’re launching this year.

 

6. What inspired you to choose your career path? My environmental focus grew out of a six-month stay in a small village in Ghana, Africa.  I had no running water or electricity, and I lived without many of the things we take for granted here.  It was an awakening that taught me about sustainability, excessiveness and the impacts of consumerism. Villagers I met seemed genuinely happy living a slower life with less, and I began that journey myself.

 

7. Why do you care about sustainability? What is your story?  To me, there is no other issue that matters more, because what happens to our planet affects everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you make, where you live or what your cultural background is – climate change does not discriminate and all other issues become irrelevant if we no longer have a healthy enough planet to live on.

 

8. What is/are the biggest incentive(s) for businesses in your country to adopt sustainable practices? We are evolving and if businesses don’t adapt and innovate, they will lose out. Everywhere you go you hear about the triple bottom line, but its not just about ethical and sustainable leadership; it’s a shift in how businesses create value.  By focusing on more responsible operations, businesses also become more efficient and have a competitive advantage.  B Corporations are a great example of this.

 

9. What is/are the biggest environmental or social challenge(s) facing your country today? In Canada, the oilsands and pipelines are a huge contributor to GHG emissions and there are major concerns about potential pipeline leaks or tanker spills on our coasts, as well as impacts regarding First Nations rights and lands.  We need strong environmental regulations, and we need to ensure there is a price on carbon pollution implemented across the country, to support our transition to a low carbon economy.

 

10. What is the most positive action your country has taken to positively impact its environment or social well-being? The Federal government has shown leadership by introducing its Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. This includes a pan Canadian approach to carbon pricing, though Manitoba and Saskatchewan have not signed on yet. What happens to the revenues generated from carbon pollution is critical though, and investing those revenues in the transition to a green economy, though education, innovation and regulations, is essential in order to have significant and swift impact.

 

Bonus Question:

What are your thoughts on climate change? What is your company/organization doing to help bring awareness or to help mitigate climate change?  Every single one of us has contributed to our current environmental state, and it is up to each of us – governments, businesses and individuals – to take action to address the environmental impacts we’re seeing now and reverse the devastating path we’re on.  At Green Action Centre, we can help you live a little or a lot greener in your day-to-day activities, from transportation, to waste reduction, to consumer choices. See Green Action Centre’s Sustainability Scorecard for tips you can implement at your own pace and then grow with, to contribute to a healthier environment.

 

To learn more, please visit Green Action Centre on their website and social media:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/green-action-centre/

https://www.facebook.com/GreenActionCentre

https://twitter.com/greenactionctr

https://www.youtube.com/user/GreenActionCentre

https://www.compostwinnipeg.ca/