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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Toronto Mayor David Miller Unveils Dynamic Climate Change Initiative

Toronto Mayor David Miller today unveiled a cutting edge initiative that stands to put Canada's largest city at the forefront of the citizen-based global fight against climate change.

Launched during the C40 Large Cities climate summit in New York City, Zerofootprint Toronto will engage citizens around ways to reduce their environmental impact using an innovative platform, created and developed by Toronto-based not-for-profit Zerofootprint and built on technology from Business Objects, a pioneer in business intelligence.

A dynamic hybrid of environmental footprint calculator and a web-based social network, Zerofootprint Toronto is designed to help citizens reduce their environmental footprint significantly. The new tool graphically illustrates to users the impact every aspect of their daily lives has on the environment while allowing them to network with like-minded friends, neighbours and co-workers to create a virtual eco-community.

Users are encouraged to create joint initiatives and challenges, compile their results, and measure and celebrate their success.

"Climate change is the issue of our time and it's up to all of us to do our part to minimize the impact of day-to-day activities," said Mayor Miller. "Zerofootprint Toronto is going to help make my city not only one of the greenest on the planet, but one of the most innovative as well. Our residents are anxious to do what they can to help save the planet and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they are looking for ways to do it. This is just one more way."

Mayor Miller challenged his fellow mayors at the C40 summit to adopt the Zerofootprint model in their cities. Ultimately, this initiative will result in the creation of footprint profiles of citizens that cities can then use to create targeted programs and incentives to reduce footprint.

Zerofootprint president and CEO Ron Dembo said, "The vision is to show the cumulative impacts of all participating cities, create joint initiatives, measure their achievements and celebrate their successes. By acting together cities can have as much impact on the environment as one large country."

"Cities are where change is happening the fastest and we must seize the opportunities we have been presented with to make that change significant and permanent," added Mayor Miller.

Zerofootprint Toronto will be rolled out in two phases.

In the first, City of Toronto employees will be invited to calculate their environmental footprint and create goals to reduce and track this footprint over time.

In the second phase, it will be available to every Torontonian.

Zerofootprint Toronto combines state-of-the-art business intelligence software and the best environmental engineering science to calculate, analyze and visualize the environmental impact of decisions around transportation, food, heating, cooling and lighting homes and offices, shopping, water use and waste production.

It is this platform that enables this first-of-its-kind community engagement initiative, to provide individuals, neighborhoods, businesses and other groups in Toronto both detailed information and a network to take action on climate change.

"We all want to do the right thing," said Bernard Liautaud, founder, chairman of the board and chief strategy officer of Business Objects. "The place to start is by measuring the size of the problem and the changes we make. The business intelligence features of this platform will allow people to see exactly what will happen if they - and others like them - change their day to day habits. The community can then apply its collective intelligence to change the way the world analyzes problems, works together in new ways and solves issues such as climate change. This collective intelligence has enormous potential to develop new initiatives for the common good."

As part of their work together to develop the Zerofootprint platform for cities, Business Objects and Zerofootprint are creating one of the world's largest eco-data sets. Information contributed from around the world will be analyzed by the collective intelligence of members of Business Objects' newly launched online community, Insight. The Zerofootprint Toronto initiative will leverage the eco-data and the insights gained from it, to benchmark against other cities and identify the most impactful approaches.

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