Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Smithers Carbon Neutral Car Network Initiative

Project Reference Number: 2009-14

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Kim Struthers, One Sky - Canadian Institute of Sustainable Living, Smithers

Funder: Enterprising Non-Profits; Vancouver City Savings Credit Union

One Sky - Canadian Institute of Sustainable Living is a Canadian not-for-profit organization with the mission to promote sustainable living globally. Its local and international work includes human rights, human development and the environment. They focus on solutions rather than problems; they build capacity and empower people to take action both locally and abroad. In collaboration with its extensive network of partners, it implements practical solutions and advocates for change in sectors including organic agriculture, renewable energy, transportation and leadership development. It has converted its office to a renewable energy demonstration site and facilitated local carbon footprint projects such as a community bike program, local energy audits for small businesses, a sustainability map of Smithers, solar power workshops and local food workshops.

The social enterprise, the Smithers Carbon Neutral Car Network, will significantly reduce carbon emissions in the Bulkley Valley. It will provide community access to compact, fuel efficient vehicles through a car share program and promote alternatives to single driver trips by establishing an online rideshare bulletin board as well as a community board in the One Sky office. The funding structure of the car share will be such that the carbon emitted during each trip will be offset via carbon finance projects underway in the Lower Mainland, making it the first carbon neutral car share in the province.

The project will consist of a research and development phase to assess market demand, identify and address barriers to participation, form partnerships, address legal issues and design an appropriate co-op membership and financial structure. In the second phase we will implement the project: establishing a car share fleet (one to two vehicles) and creating and maintaining rideshare boards. Community sensitization and outreach will be ongoing throughout the project. At the end of the second year, we will conduct a detailed assessment of the project with the dual aims of a) providing a blueprint for other rural communities and b) expanding the project into a financially sustainable, long-term community car share co-op with a multi-purpose fleet.

GO2 Carshare Cooperative