The holy strive to be holier

Smaller businesses taking it upon themselves to be more planet-friendly is something I really want to like, particularly in the wake of last week’s post complaining about how bad governments are at working with them for anything very productive.

But this project, a “carbon-neutral working group for small businesses” organized by an outfit called Ecotrust out of British Columbia, seems like the choir going out with the priest of a Sunday afternoon and thinking about ways to be more holy. Definitely not a bad thing, but equally definitely not a world-changer. Sponsored by the Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute, among others, the 13 participants include an organic-and-local-food delivery service, a green-building consultancy, and a bus company in hippy-dippy Tofino.

From the news release:

Three workshops will show companies how to calculate and reduce their carbon footprint, and learn about strategies to market their climate-friendly products and services. The Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation have developed innovative software to help these businesses calculate their carbon footprint. The Pembina Institute will also provide one-on-one technical assistance.

The Carbon Neutral Workgroup will also help entrepreneurs to understand the complex and emerging market to purchase carbon offsets. “We need to create a local carbon market whereby companies and consumers can purchase offsets that reinvest money into climate change projects in their local communities,” says Gill with Ecotrust Canada.

What we’d need are a regular delivery service, a traditional architecture firm, and the Vancouver bus company signing up, to really make a difference. A bunch of green businesses committing to be green doesn’t seem to warrant a headline like the Vancouver Province‘s: “Small businesses accept green role.” Nor do I get the idea of creating a local carbon market, except as an exercise of some kind. It only works if even those for whom it’s inconvenient — the emitters we really have to worry about — are compelled to participate.

Ultimately, it seems Ecotrust hopes to expand the information program and maybe distribute some sort of free software package to help less devotedly environmentalist companies improve their operations. Best of luck to them. That’s when they’ll make a difference.

(Via Green Options.)

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