April 15, 2008
Green is the new black. But, if horticulture is the original green industry, we’re not doing a very good job of telling people about it. LO created its environmental stewardship committee to help spread the good word, but recognize that first we need to get our house in order before we promote our green message to the public.

The mandate/purpose of the committee is twofold:
  1. To enhance environmental stewardship activities within the horticulture industry and to help the green industry understand its significance and contribution with respect to environment.
  2. To raise public awareness for the environmental benefits of green industry activities.

Finding a starting point in this process is challenging, but the committee has started by creating an environmental report card to help member companies measure the success of their sustainable practices. Committee members have met with LO’s nine commodity groups to learn what practices are of environmental concern to the sectors. A task force has been struck that will continue to gather information and work on the report card, with a deadline of August 31, 2008 for its completion. A manual on best green practices for the ornamental horticulture industry will be developed, along with the report card. Note: Growers are eligible for Environmental Farm Plans sponsored by the government, so their needs have already been met.
A timeline for the rest of the committee’s projects has been determined. After the environmental report card has been completed, plans for industry education will be developed for the fall and winter of 2008.

The last piece of the puzzle is to let the public know what we’re doing, and how our work benefits the environment. This will be done in conjunction with LO’s branding committee, which is working on a consumer brand initiative for Landscape Ontario.
Another initiative of the environmental stewardship committee is the Green Forum at Congress 2009. This new venture will feature an exhibit area for innovative green products and services for the hort industry, along with a mini-seminar series. Three stewardship committee members sit on the Green Forum sub-committee.

Finally, LO has been contacted by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada (BOMA) for help with the landscape portion of its BOMA Go Green environmental accreditation program. Once complete, LO’s Best Green Practices should tie in perfectly with this new environmental standard.

Anyone wishing to comment on these initiatives can contact Sarah Willis at 905-875-1805, ext. 313 or by e-mail at  sarahw@landscapeontario.com.