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London Environmental Forum Focus: Business,Water & Trees

Project type: 
Million Tree Challenge

World Environment Day is an annual event established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 with the goal of raising awareness of the need to take positive environmental action. Today, it is celebrated by more than 100 countries.Forum Co-Hosts

In the celebration and recognition of World Environment Day 2014, on June 5th, Labatt, the City of London and ReForest London co-hosted the third annual London Environmental Forum at Labatt Hometown Brewery.

Jake Fenn, General Manager of Labatt who spoke at the event about Labatt’s impressive environmental best practices and accomplishments said, “The last two years, the forum was co-hosted by Labatt and the City, and we’re both very pleased that ReForest London joined us as a co-host this year. As an organization dedicated to partnering with our community to enhance environmental and human health through the benefits of trees, ReForest London is a perfect fit with the collaborative spirit of this forum.  We couldn’t be happier to count ourselves among their partners.”MTC Banners

It was excellent to have Kapil Lakhotia, CEO, London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) deliver a keynote presentation about the importance the environment plays in a city’s overall economic health and showcase some of the recent business arrivals LEDC has attracted to the Forest City.

Dean Sheppard, Executive Director of ReForest London, who spoke about tree benefits and London’s Million Tree Challenge, said, “London businesses can all play some kind of role in making London healthier and greener. Improving our local quality of life through trees has direct business benefits too, like improved talent attraction and retention, employee engagement, improved property values and of course energy savings.”Jay & Kapil

“Whenever the City thinks about trees, urban greening and community participation, ReForest London is always at the top of the list of groups that take action,” said Jay Stanford, Director of Environment, Fleet & Solid Waste with the City of London. “The forum was all about showcasing London talent and best practices; homegrown and implemented solutions, by Londoners and for Londoners. The local audience thoroughly enjoyed learning and seeing Londoners, in action, to make a greener city.”

Forum PanelPresenters at the event were diverse and interesting and almost all the organizations who spoke are Million Tree Challenge Partners, and could relate their initiatives to the importance of tree planting and tree benefits. More than 75 people attended the forum which included a panel discussion as well as some beer tasting and food. Labatt also gave away native tree seedlings to attendees.

Other speakers included: Yvette Scrivener, Manager, TD Community Relations & TD Friends of the Environment Foundation; Joe Gregorio, Account Manager - Institutional, Union Gas Ltd.; and Ron Koudys, President, Ron Koudys Landscape Architect Inc.

“The environment is something we all share, and we can also share the responsibility of protecting it for the next generation of Londoners,” Fenn said. “Labatt is committed to protecting and enhancing the environment.” Jake Fenn speaking

At the forum, Labatt unveiled their plans for participation in London’s Million Tree Challenge. Landscaping plans on display at the event illustrated Labatt’s four-year commitment to greening London, starting with the planting of 15 new trees on the south side of the brewery the day of the forum. Next year, Labatt plans to add more trees, plus flowerbeds, on Richmond Street. Then, in 2016, Labatt will plant in the Richard B. Harrison Park, and in 2017, the Carfrae Park West. Below shows Labatt's 2016 plans.


Labatt plans for 2016It was also an opportunity to reiterate the benefits trees provide. Fenn noted, “Trees and natural surfaces play a vital role improving water quality and watershed health by decreasing the storm water runoff and pollutants that reach local waters. Also, the roots and leaf litter help rainwater infiltrate the soil, to replenish our groundwater supply.  Of course, these are just a few of the benefits.” 

"London's environmental forum presented the opportunity to connect with London businesses and non-profit groups to jointly share innovative environmental practices that have created significant gains for the community in terms of water conservation, expanded tree canopy and enhanced environmental education programming for both students and community members,” said Yvette Scrivener, Regional Manager TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. “Overall the forum put environmental awareness at the forefront of stakeholder discussions that day inspiring further positive environmental change." 

Thank you to everyone who spoke and who attended the event. Lots of great things are happening in London to make a green difference. The event was a success and discussion about a 4th annual event is on the horizon.

All photos, except the first two, are by Richard Bain, courtesy Labatt.

Yvette Ryan & Dean Art & Andrew
 Veronica Jim Julie  Forum reception
 Pat Ron & Barry  Forum attendees
 Forum attendees  TRY Recycling
 Forum attendees  Seedlings & beer