Today, everyone says they’re ‘green’. It’s meaning is washed out. All too often overlooked is the social side of sustainability, the people who make up our organizations, the communities in which we operate, social justice issues, and building diverse constituents in all our stakeholder groups. It’s the people who I find interesting in the work that we do as they make me feel the rewards of our labour. In Vancouver’s downtown eastside and inner city there’s one organization that’s been doing a great job at bridging the gap between socially distraught down and out people and the businesses that inhabit the neighbourhood and drive the economy, Building Opportunities with Business, commonly referred to as BOB.
Last month I got a call from Brian Smith, the on the ground business and social enterprise developer at BOB, letting me know about their ‘Consultant Fees’ grant program available to inner city businesses working with consultants on various projects to green their operations. Opportunity knocks! At the time we were just negotiating terms with our brand and marketing consultant Andy Maier at Courageous B, looking at revising our brand and redeveloping our website (Scheduled to go live on Sept.15/10, stay tuned for some upcoming changes!). Given the green emphasis of our business, the product sourcing we do from DTES social enterprises and our participation in BOB’s social purchasing portal we were awarded a $7,500 grant to contribute to this work we’re taking on. If successful, it’ll help us to grow our business and further the positive social and environmental impacts we’re having on the community. I’m honored to work with BOB and receive their contribution, every bit helps and allows us to take some risks and leverage our marketing budget for the year. With the Christmas gift basket season approaching we’re eager to see how our investment will pan out.
In total $36,000 was distributed to 8 Vancouver businesses. We’re in good company with our neighbours at the Strathcona Business Improvement Association whom we collaborate with on the Strathcona Green Zone and other leading DTES organizations including Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, EMBERS, Recycling Alternative, Megaphone and Potluck Cafe. The Vancouver Aquaponics initiative received some funding as well which is an exciting opportunity to convert under utilized space in parking garages into highly productive aquaculture businesses to supply the local market demand for fish. Would love to see that happen! Thanks BOB!