Small Business Month Contest
Fourth Pig Green & Natural Construction
Fourth Pig Green & Natural Construction is a non-profit worker co-operative that is owned and operated by its members. They foster ecologically balanced methods of construction and energy production to promote sustainable, healthy communities. In addition to the amazing, sustainable building projects they do for clients, Fourth Pig is a strong advocate for better environmental practices on a national scale. They co-founded the G.R.E.A.T (Green. Rural. Environmental. Affordable. Together) Housing Project as well as the Canadian Association for Sustainable and Affordable Housing, which promotes affordable housing practices and policies that are healthy for people and the planet.
Racing To Zero
Racing to Zero is an environmental consultancy with a mission to equip Canadian sport organizations with the tools and knowledge to tackle climate change. It was founded by five Olympians with extensive experience in the Canadian sport sector, plus professional training in business and sustainability expertise. The Racing to Zero team offers event/organizational sustainability audits (example: measuring greenhouse gas emissions) and carbon improvement projects (example: creating a waste management strategy). They are deeply committed to increasing awareness of the impact sports organizations have on the environment (and vice versa).
Impact Zero is a non-profit working to build the circular economy in Ontario by empowering people to bring business or community-led climate solutions to life. They connect innovators, help them identify and develop circular economy solutions, and work together to bring those solutions to life. Their Innovation Accelerator has empowered seven start-ups to pilot their circular economy business. They are also an educational leader, hosting workshops, events, even a podcast, and partnering with University of Toronto Scarborough, Cleantech Commons at Trent University, and many other non-profits to share resources, learnings, and network contacts.
Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned and founded, digitally-native, cosmetics company. Their commitment to people and planet is deeply rooted in Indigenous worldviews and concepts like Two-Eyed Seeing, which nurtures the strengths of Western science and Indigenous wisdom for the benefit of living things in our environment, as well as the Seventh Generation Principle. They incorporate practices like clean beauty standards, biodegradable packaging, and waste reduction. Cheekbone Beauty has also donated more than $150,000 to a wide variety of causes, supporting indigenous youth and environmental initiatives.
Wellington Water Watchers
Wellington Water Watchers is non-profit business that supports water protection and community building. Their community-focused, campaign-based approach mobilizes people and public support. A powerful resource for grassroots leaders on the frontlines of water protection, Water Watchers has helped to protect tens of thousands of acres of Ontario farmland, influenced provincial water protection policy, educated thousands on the importance of water to all our lives, and acted in solidarity with Indigenous partners and frontline defenders. They've also raised over $1 million dollars (so far) to help other grassroots groups to protect water in their communities.
Do Good Donuts
Do Good Donuts is an employment social enterprise that trains youth with intellectual disabilities in for food preparation and service jobs. Trainees learn the job readiness skills and the specific skills they need to succeed in a position in a real, working restaurant. Taking aim at the 85% unemployment rate for youth with intellectual disabilities, Do Good Donuts wants to help these young adults find gainful employment for their futures and, through training and partnerships, teach people that “inclusion matters.” Plus, this initiative has a sweet side effect – delicious donuts! They’ve had great success selling at farmer’s markets across Toronto and even catering.
CASE provides a collection service for single-use plastic takeout containers. Formed to respond to a specific problem, the fact that black plastic is not recyclable in Toronto, CASE has saved over 250,000 containers from landfills (so far). The company collects black takeout boxes, sanitizes them, and either sells them back to the restaurants to be reused, or (in the case that they are no longer reusable) takes them to a partner recycler to be recycled. They are also building community connections by setting up collection bins and encouraging others to take up sustainable practices. Now, Torontonian’s have a 0% landfill solution and local restaurants have the option to buy reused containers.
Avling Brewery is committed to sustainability. Through their rooftop garden they harvest their own ingredients for their brewery and restaurant. Plus, they foster relationships with suppliers who practice regenerative production methods and sustainable approaches. They collaborate with local farmers on ethical sourcing and also run educational workshops on various environmental initiatives for the community. Avling also prides itself as a centre of diversity and inclusion. They’re involved in initiatives to support Asian and LGBTQ2s+ communities, and host fundraisers throughout the year for many fantastic causes, like social justice initiatives.
NU Grocery is Ontario's first and only zero waste grocery store. They promote sustainability by helping households cut down on food waste and eliminate unnecessary food packaging. NU embodies sustainability practices – not only in the products they sell (and the packaging they’re not in), but in all areas of their business – even their shipped goods are sent in 100% recyclable and compostable materials. They also offer free workshops on waste-related topics, share resources and tips on social media, and give talks in schools, universities, government agencies and at public events on the topic of zero waste and responsible consumerism.
Copernicus Educational Products Ltd
Copernicus Educational Products Ltd is a designer and manufacturer of classroom teaching aids that also strives to give back to people and planet. Their commitment to sustainability is wide ranging – it includes installing solar panels at their facilities, creating land conservation projects, and donating profits to organizations like the Jane Goodall Foundation. Over the last 10 years they have distributed around 200,000 native tree seedlings to schools across Southwestern Ontario through their Trees for Schools program. They have also protected over 1,000 acres of land by purchasing and then gifting them to conservancies.