Our Commitment to Sustainability
YWCA Metro Vancouver is totally committed to becoming a more sustainable organization. Our work over the last few years has involved the integration of a variety of green practices into our operations including a retrofit of the YWCA Hotel and Health + Fitness Centre downtown and working with BC Housing to achieve LEED certification in all new housing projects. Our Rooftop Garden project is a model of sustainable community development in the heart of the city.
More recently we have set ourselves a mandate of a 20% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2013. We are passionate about protecting the environment and committed to making significant changes to achieve this target. Over the last 5 years we have implemented the following practices:
- Engaging with BC Housing on the development of two new housing projects for single mothers designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards.
- Retrofit of the YWCA Hotel, including working with the BC Power Smart Program to replace all refrigerators and install energy efficient lighting, as well as installing a new boiler system that will cut green house gas and carbon emissions by 75%, and the installation of low-flow showerheads.
- The rooftop food garden at the YWCA Program Centre downtown, which grows organic vegetables for other programs like the Crabtree Corner Family Resource Centre in the Downtown Eastside.
- The use of Green Seal approved products in the Health + Fitness Centre, such as 100% recycled paper towels, biodegradable garbage bags, non-toxic and natural cleaning products, and natural hand soap distributed in recyclable containers.
- Retrofit of low-flow showerheads in the Health + Fitness Centre locker rooms.
- Partnership with BC Hydro to link high school girls with mentors in environmental science and sustainability.
- The use of recycled or post-consumer recycled paper products in our print materials.
- Participation in the Return-It at Work program, a beverage container recycling program where deposit refunds are donated directly to the United Way.
- Participation in the Translink Employer Transit Pass Program.
- The Leslie Diamond Early Learning and Care Centre uses biodegradable latex gloves when changing diapers, and puts recycling boxes next to the toddlers' lunch table so they can learn about recycling.
- YWCA Munroe House, a second-stage transition house for women escaping abuse, has installed a herb garden and composter.
- Endowment and reserve funds are invested through socially responsible investment screens.
By taking these measures, YWCA Metro Vancouver has embarked on an ambitious goal to become a leader in sustainable community development and a model for sustainable businesses.