Agents of Change
2009 Winner of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Pollution Prevention Award for overall pollution prevention achievements by small business
Calstone is a Canadian family-owned business that creates and manufactures high-quality metal furniture products in Scarborough, Ontario. The company was established in 1985 and today employs 28 people.
Calstone prides itself on being a “green” company. Jim Ecclestone, the company’s president, is passionate about leaving a company to his children that is sustainable and successful. Calstone has discovered that selling green furniture products provides a valuable competitive advantage, one that has expanded its market to include responsible purchasing programs and conscientious consumers. Since 2007 numerous pollution prevention (P2) measures to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing plant have been implemented. The following provides highlights of these P2 measures.
To reduce harmful emissions, an efficient vapour spray degreaser was installed to purify chemicals for reuse in the degreasing process of metal components. Also, throughout the facility, golden pothos plants improve air quality by filtering out toxins. To reduce the facility’s water use, a 2000 gallon stainless steel water tank was installed to reuse water for the cooling of spot welding equipment, and rainwater is collected for the flushing of all toilets in the facility. All Calstone furniture is in accordance with ASTM D5116, an international standard for small-scale environmental chamber determinations of organic emissions from indoor products. Calstone has been used by the City of Toronto as a case study in preparation for the City’s Full Disclosure By-Law as a manufacturing facility that has full disclosure of chemicals used in its facility.
To reduce energy use and support green electricity, the facility installed a heat exchanger made from an old car radiator, hung large pieces of polystyrene foam from the facility ceiling to reduce the amount of air space that needs to be heated and cooled, and currently operates the facility with Bullfrog Power (a provider of green electricity).
Five percent of steel going into Calstone’s furniture comes from old Calstone furniture collected through the Re-Manufacturing Program. The rest of the steel used in creating new furniture is composed of 45% recycled content purchased from distributors that source the steel from Dofasco in Hamilton.
Calstone also takes measures to green the supply chain. The Calstone Re-Manufacturing Program, launched in 2007, invites customers to sell their used metal furniture back to Calstone for a nominal fee. Calstone then uses the recycled steel to create new furniture. Meetings are held with all Calstone suppliers, outlining Calstone’s commitment to the environment and business philosophy, encouraging the suppliers to initiate recycling and re-manufacturing programs of their own. All Calstone employees are provided with take-home manuals of easy green actions they can incorporate into their everyday lives, and customers are given environmentally friendly cleaning kits and brochures with eco-living tips to raise awareness about environmental issues related to consumption.
- Through the introduction of the stainless steel cooling tank, water use has been reduced by 65% compared to 2004 levels
- By collecting rainwater for toilet flushing, water consumption has been reduced by 15% compared to 2004 levels.
- Chemical use has been reduced by 60% compared to 2005 levels through the installation of the vapour spray degreaser.
- Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by purchasing electricity for the office from a green provider. Since 2007, 10 MWh per month of power have come from an EcoLogoM certified facility.
- Calstone’s air emissions have been measured at 56% below the acceptable standard for its business size and category, as set by the Ontario Ministry of Environment.
- Calstone estimates that through its pollution prevention measures it has reduced operating costs by $20,000 annually.
- The introduction of golden pothos plants around the facility has created a more pleasant work environment for employees.
- By engaging with suppliers about Calstone’s environmental initiatives, the company is raising awareness and contributing to the greening of its supply chain.
- Providing customers and employees with informative green-living brochures and supplies has the potential to improve the impact of their personal actions and decisions.
Awards and Recognition
- 2008 – Scarborough Business Award of Excellence, Green Category
- 2008 – Nominated for Green Toronto Award, Market Transformation Category
- 2009 – Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Pollution Prevention Awards, Small Business Award
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