Green Eggs and… Bullfrog
By Kim Waalderbos
EFC has partnered with Canada’s top energy provider to reduce its environmental impact
By Kim Waalderbos
The Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) has started 2014 on a new foot – one that leaves a smaller footprint.
Alison Hebbs, manager of corporate and public affairs, says the organization has partnered with Bullfrog Power, Canada’s top green energy provider, to source renewable energy for the national office in Ottawa.
“We’re really excited to be partnering with such a leader in the green energy movement,” says Hebbs.
As part of the partnership, Bullfrog Power’s generators will put 100 per cent green electricity and 100 per cent green natural gas onto the energy grid – matching the amount of electricity and natural gas currently used by the EFC for its 13,000-square-foot office space. Annually, this will mean 27.81 megawatt hours of electricity and 96.98 gigajoules of natural gas, Hebbs says.
Bullfrog Power’s electricity comes from a mix of wind and low-impact hydro power, and the natural gas from methane-capture projects at landfill sites across Canada. At least 50 per cent of the green energy is sourced directly from the region surrounding the EFC office.
Hebbs says the energy use is verified annually by Deloitte to ensure an accurate amount of energy from clean, renewable sources is produced to displace that on the grid from polluting sources.
Sourcing the green energy through Bullfrog Power will cost EFC approximately $12,500 more per year, based on their energy usage. Hebbs says these dollars get invested into building new renewable energy projects, expanding capacity.
“It’s a tangible return,” she says. “We’re helping to invest so more and more green energy can be put into the grid for the long run.”
Bullfrog Power also helps partners like EFC communicate about environmental issues with their team through activities such as lunch and learns. “So over time our employees will learn more and raise our overall environmental consciousness as an organization,” Hebbs says.
The partnership with Bullfrog Power is a natural extension of EFC’s Office Green Initiative, which encourages staff and board members to be more efficient with resources. The organization has gone paperless for meetings, traded plastic bottles for filtered water, uses environmentally friendly cleaning products, and offers battery and egg carton recycling programs.
“This commitment to social responsibility is inherent in our industry,” says Hebbs, “and we’re trying to nurture that culture from our family farms through to the staff at the national office.”
EFC plans to build on the initiatives individual farmers are already undertaking, like egg farmer Glen Jennings who’s sourcing 75 per cent of the power used for his 12,000-hen farm in Nova Scotia from wind turbines, to create opportunities for more in the industry to get involved.
In 2014, the organization plans to expand their successful Research Chair program, which has animal welfare and economics focuses already, to include a new position for someone who specializes in the environment. Ideally, Hebbs says, the person will integrate best practices and new technologies to enable hen farms to function as mini ecosystems, and identify processes and practices that continue to improve efficiency while decreasing the environmental impact.
This year, EFC will also be working on a life-cycle analysis of the whole industry to study its environmental impact at all points along the supply chain from the egg laid through to the retail store. This data will become a benchmark to track future success and progress.
“We’re proud of our commitment to being green,” says Hebbs, “and we’re always challenging ourselves to do even better.”