The founder of an ecologically focused landscaping company from the Comox Valley is looking at a recent national award as a way to help further their sustainability work.
CORE Landscaping’s Caroline Rutledge was recently honoured, as the company was one of 18 Canadian companies owned by women for the 2021 BMO Celebrating Women grant program. The company was one of five from B.C.
She said the honour came as a complete surprise in light of the thousands of companies across the country and that it validates the work the company is doing.
“I founded CORE as an effort to minimize the impact of impermeable surfaces on our urban streams and fish stocks, and it has evolved into something much larger. We have the ability to make real change through social and environmental sustainability and it’s very inspiring to be alongside these other companies that think along the same lines,” she said via email.
Based in Comox, the company has projects throughout North America that provide environmentally sustainable solutions, with goals such as reduced urban heat, proper waste-water management and healthy soil, trees and shrubs. It works on projects involving xeriscaping, garden paths, nature paths, fire pits, dining areas and gravel stabilizing grids.
Rutledge notes recent flooding in the province and other extreme weather events point to the need for more attention to be paid to permeable surfaces that put water back into the ground rather overwhelm storm sewers.
“The continued flooding events in B.C., like the summer heat dome, have been catastrophic to our province and people. These events are an unwelcome warning of what we can expect of future weather events. CORE Foundations work by attenuating the flow rate of stormwater into our streams in both urban and rural settings,” she said.
Rutledge said CORE will use the grant to help with product creation, public education and its work toward becoming B Corp Certified, which is the highest certification for social and environmental responsibility. Over the long term, she added the company’s mission is to “unpave” the world and work toward reducing inequality on social and economic fronts.
The BMO Celebrating Women grants are given to women-owned businesses for work toward social, environmental or economic sustainability outcomes based on their products, services, policies or practices. Through this program, BMO Celebrating Women pledged $120,000 in grants to the businesses.
Erminia (Ernie) Johannson, BMO Financial Group group’s head of North American personal and business banking, said in a news release, “Our commitment to removing barriers to women’s financial progress is at the heart of our BMO Celebrating Women programs and a driving force behind our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. Through lending, investing, giving and engagement in our local communities, our goal is to create more opportunity for recovery and success.”
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