Burnaby businesses taking sustainability pledge

When it comes to the environment and reducing waste, Valley Bakery has always been conscious of what it needs to do.

Owner Jack Kuyer said over the years the Hastings Street bakery reduced its use of plastic packaging, sells cleaned-out ingredient pails instead of throwing them out, donated extra product or recycled it (into breadcrumbs, for example), and reduced its energy and water usage.

And last summer Valley Bakery was the first Burnaby business to take the Burnaby Board of Trade's (BBOT) pledge of sustainability outlining what it's done for the environment and what it plans to do further.

"The pledge is more about recognizing that your business is making an effort to be environmentally friendly, it's also an example to other companies," Kuyer said. "I think it's letting your customers know you make this kind of an effort. There's lots of really good reasons why taking the pledge makes sense."

Kuyer said he hopes that other bakeries or businesses will look at what Valley Bakery is doing and be inspired to make similar changes in their own operations.

And the pledge also helps motivate Kuyer and his employees. "Sometimes you need to pat your own back to keep yourself on track."

The BBOT has created a website for its sustainability pledge ( which provides case studies and suggestions in how companies could improve their environmental performance in the areas of energy, water, waste, travel and purchasing.

"The objective of this program is really to create some momentum, create awareness and really to help businesses to understand the importance of becoming more environmentally sustainable and to give them some assistance to improve their sustainability performance," said BBOT president and CEO Paul Holden.

The project was the idea of the BBOT's environmental sustainability committee and was designed to be easy for companies of any size to participate, Holden said. Already about 45 companies have taken the pledge.

As much as the pledge promotes the efforts of local businesses, it also promotes sustainability itself, Kuyer said.

"Our whole society is moving that way. I'd rather be at the forefront than following in the rear."

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