Media Coverage for a Sustainable Inner-city

The Strathcona Business Improvement Associations, Sustainability 2.0 Expo which was organized by the SBIA, local businesses, including several of the folks behind this blog, was a huge success.  We brought up Majora Carter to be the keynote speaker.  We brought together local green business leaders, we invited the whole community,  City Councillors and sponsors were pleased with the outcome, we even introduced Majora to Vancouver’s Mayor.  This blog and the Green Inner-city Cluster are part of the follow up on the momentum built on April 2nd.  So it was good to see we’re not the only people still motivated to make a positive and green change to Vancouver’s inner-city.

Majora Carter meets Mayor Robertson

Majora Carter meets Mayor Robertson

The folks over at Granville Online, including the second greenest person on the planet just wrote a nice follow up piece on the efforts of SBIA to become a green industrial zone.  There is still lots of work to be done, if you’re interested in greening your organization and working towards a greener inner-city, one that includes green businesses and green jobs, join us once again in Strathcona for the Green Inner-city Cluster Kickoff on June 10th.


Green Food for Thought

While we are busy preparing for the Green Inner-city Cluster Kickoff a few interesting articles have appeared in our “inbox” so to speak that I thought to share.

First is an examination of green jobs and an attempt to define them into “shades of green”.  Second Frances Bula has written an extended piece in Vancouver Magazine on local green business leader Joel Soloman who is in the extended family so to speak.  His organization(s) are located on Hastings Street in the recently restored Flack Block.

Green Inner-city Cluster Kickoff Event

Join the Greening the Inner-city team for the kickoff event for BOB’s Green Inner-city Cluster.  Learn from local green business leaders such as Toby Barazzuol of Eclipse Awards and Louise Schwarz of the Recycling Alternative on how being green can be a competitive advantage for your organization.  Topics covered will include:

  • Marketing Sustainability
  • Greening Your Organization
  • Green Buildings and Green Roofs
  • Recycling and Waste Reduction
  • Collaborating to increase efficiency
  • Urban Agriculture

There will be presentations but also peer learning opportunities where attendees can share what has worked most successfully at their own organization.  We are pleased to have Councilor Andrea Reimer giving the opening address.  She is a leader in BC’s environmental movement and a member of the Mayor’s Greenest City Action Team.

Time: June 10th 10:00-2:00

Location: Japanese Language School, 487 Alexander Street

Cost: Free (includes lunch, coffee, etc.)



Time Craft Room 3rd Floor w/ Projector Tatami Room 5th Floor
10:00 -10:15 Welcome Address – Andrea Reimer – roof top patio weather permitting
10:15-10:30 TBA
10:30 – 11:30 How can being sustainable give you a competitive advantage? How to market your sustainability practices for maximum benefit?Marketing Green with Toby Barazzuol, Saul Good, and Andrew “Muskie” McKay What we are doing now that is green in our organization?Sharing and learning about greening an organization with Kristina Welch and Maureen Cureton
11:30 – 12:00 What current policies are in place in Vancouver to promote the green economy? What changes is the Greenest City Action Team considering to make Vancouver the Greenest City in the World?Green Policy with Kristina Welch and Kira Gerwing How can you reduce and recycle inputs to your products and services? How can we take control of the complete full circle product lifecycle?Wasted – The Shift from Recycling to Zero Waste with Louise Schwarz and Seann Dory
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 1:00 How can you grow your own food? How can the inner-city increase its food security and create green jobs? Urban Agriculture with Kristina Welch and Chris Hild What is a green building? Where can I see green architechtural design locally? How can green buildings benefit my organization and the inner-city community?Green Buildings, Green Roofs, and Energy Efficiency with Toby Barazzuol, Morgan McDonald, and Doug Horn
1:00 – 1:30 How can you play a part in creating green jobs in our community and greening the inner-city?Brainstorming Sessions led by Shirley Chan, Andrew “Muskie” McKay and TBA
1:30 – 2:00 Closing Address – Toby Barazzuol and TBD

Toby, the cluster, and Strathcona BIA’s efforts were recently profiled in the Vancouver Courier.  Please join us on June 10th if you want to work towards greening your organization or greening the inner-city.

Attendees at the recent Sustainability 2.0 Expo

Attendees at the recent Sustainability 2.0 Expo

Business Development Seminar: Reducing your Business’s Ecological Impact

Join BOB, SAP Business Objects, Vancity, and for an informative discussion on how you can reduce the ecological impact of your small or medium sized business.


Wednesday, June 3rd, 8-9:30am

Get big ideas and practical tips from experienced business leaders in a small group setting. Take the opportunity to ask questions and get advice about your business.

  • Green House Gases (GHG) Reduction for Small Business
  • Carbon Offsets
  • Energy
  • Financing
  • Transportation
  • Climate Change

Learn practical initiatives & be one step ahead of both the regulations and the market!

Price of admission: $10.00

Seats available: 35

Location: 325 Main St

Please register at:

Entrepreneurs Changing the World

That is the theme of this very well done viral video which came to my attention courtesy of Ed Sim.  The Greening the Inner-city Team is working with a number of entrepreneurs such as Toby of Eclipse Awards and Louise of Recycling Alternative to try and make a difference in the DTES.  Building Opportunities with Business is actively seeking out individuals who run businesses that have a positive social impact on the inner-city.  So watch this video, maybe even check out and if you’re interested, help us green the inner-city.

This is a great example on how a small firm can utilize Web 2.0 technologies to generate positive word of mouth and build their brand.

Regenerative Marketing for Green Businesses

Everywhere we look, our economy is changing in fundamental ways. Massive cultural shifts are not only forcing us to look at new ways of doing business, they are providing the opportunities for us to do so.

We recently celebrated our 11th year of making crystal recognition awards at Eclipse Awards, and since I founded the company all those years ago, I’ve never seen the pace of business move faster as companies struggle to stay relevant.  How do we take responsibility for the environmental impacts of our organizations?  Can we influence and change the standards of what people value or find beautiful?  What role do happiness, compassion and love have to play in business and how can we start talking about it in a way that doesn’t make people feel uncomfortable?  What does it mean for a business to create value today, and how does that legacy translate in the future?  These could be seen as scary questions if we remain attached to “business as usual”, but they become exciting prospects if we choose to see ourselves as “the ones we’ve been waiting for” to evolve the world of business in a positive and sustainable way.

Lately at Eclipse Awards, we’ve been working on a new style of marketing that we’re calling “Regenerative Marketing”. It’s a form of marketing that we hope will ultimately turn small businesses into engines of community revitalization and richness, rather than beasts of consumption. At Eclipse, we take our marketing budget and instead of pursuing traditional direct mail campaigns, we choose to support tangible, substantial projects that contribute value to either the environment or our community, or ideally both. Then we tell those stories through word of mouth and social media such as Twitter and Facebook (click here to join our fanpage). This focus has allowed us to develop and build meaningful community assets and relationships, while also conserving many of the resources normally associated with direct mail campaigns. We call it Regenerative Marketing in the sense that it helps regenerate both the community and the environment, while also helping to renew peoples’ confidence in businesses as a positive force in society.

At Eclipse Awards we take great pride in our commitment to excellence and the philosophy of recognition. We also place tremendous value on the quality of our work, our reliability and integrity, the happiness of our staff, and our commitment to sustainability and our community in the Downtown Eastside – indeed, these have become the very foundations of our company’s existence.

What people may not notice immediately though, is how we market our awards and company. You will definitely see us online at and possibly in some magazines. Word of mouth referrals, testimonials and notable clients have also contributed substantially to our growth. What you won’t see much of though, if at all, are printed materials, mailouts and catalogues. In part, this stems from our commitment to minimize our footprint by limiting our consumption of materials, or avoiding them altogether. In our experience, the majority of these promo materials typically end up in the landfill, fewer are recycled, and even fewer result in any sort of a sales. We also spent several years perfecting a photorealistic way of generating our award images by computer. In fact, DELL recognized us as one of Canada’s top 10 Most Innovative Small Businesses, in part for this reason, as it allowed us to virtually eliminate the need to create and ship actual samples. We’ve also invested heavily in technology to provide better, more efficient customer service, and we’ve used these freed resources to pursue more sustainability initiatives.

By reallocating our traditional marketing budget, Eclipse Awards has been able to:

  • build 2 green roofs with vegetable gardens that add beauty to our neighbourhood
  • support the St. James Music Academy that teaches at-risk youth in the Downtown Eastside how to play musical instruments
  • launch a free, community “sustainability library” that provides resources to people with shared interests in green business
  • host a mason bee “apartment” on our building to help with local biodiversity
  • provide free community meeting space for community and guerrilla gardeners and those interested in green roofs
  • and a whole range of other fun and enjoyable projects

These are lasting projects and assets that will benefit our community for years to come. In the past, we’ve pursued traditional marketing campaigns which had questionable value even two weeks later….how many flyer campaigns from last month can you recall?

Today’s consumers are intelligent, thoughtful and discerning…they can separate the real from the superficial and they yearn for integrity, authenticity and values in a service market that’s become devoid of service. Our clients love the fact that by using Eclipse Awards, they not only get world class service and personalized awards, they’re also empowering us to make our community a better place.

Admittedly, we are in new territory and learning as we go. The important thing is our fundamentals are in place – quality, service, reliability and convenience – so it gives us some freedom to explore new ways of doing things. Now, if ever, is the time to be bold and creative!

Will it work? Only time will tell. A lot depends on our ability to get these messages out through non-traditional channels and if clients will continue to value the types of sustainable, community projects that we pursue. In my mind though, the next generation of marketers will understand this new generation of marketing – substantial, positive and tangible projects, presented in a way that respects people’s intelligence. It’s working for our company, so maybe it will work for yours.

Can you imagine a reality in which small businesses support meaningful community projects become successful because of it? Imagine a new paradigm for business where building community gardens and green roofs, enabling renewable energy projects, supporting community arts, contributing to education, or caring for our elders are all in a days work. What kind of a world will we have created when happiness, creativity and compassion are how we measure success and why we reward one another in business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on regenerative marketing. Email me your comments to or follow me on twitter @tobybarazzuol. Can this work? Maybe you’re already doing something similar? Are there any things you’d like to see us try? Let us know because the future is simply what we all decide to make it.

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