Client Profile

Industry / Sector: Environmental Sustainability Partnership/Sponsorship

As a community owned, values-based financial cooperative, Vancity invests 30%* of its net profits through their Shared Success program. As such, to create impact partnerships, we identified an opportunity to deepen relationships and create more impact with the many aligned community events that Vancity sponsored. We conceptualized and developed with Vancity members, Recycling Alternative and Green Chair Recycling – the Zero Waste Events partnership.

This allowed the community investment dollars to flow directly into the community by having interactive recycling stations with Recycling Ambassadors sorting and educating attendees on recycling best practices at strategic community events that Vancity supported.

These initiatives included the local Food Cart Festivals (Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey), National Indigenous Peoples Day, Car Free Day and the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) to name a few.

In the 2nd iteration of the ZWE partnership, we Integrated inclusive employment opportunities with United We Can (a charitable organization that provides jobs for people with barriers to employment) as well as the Binners Project (a social enterprise that empowers binners as a part of the circular economy building community capacity, raising awareness and creating employment programs).


Initiating an impact partnership required collaboration and clear communication between all stakeholders involved to ensure every perspective was incorporated into the program. Through the experience design process, once we developed the prototype, we were able to activate and continue to iterate and scale the partnership to aligned initiatives.


We were able to quickly validate the impact we were making by directing our sponsorship support in this manner. Instead of providing sponsorship dollars for an initiative, we strategically invested sponsorship funds to ensure they would drive tangible impacts that diverted waste from the landfill into other streams. A significant element in this program design also focused on encouraging behaviour change amongst attendees and sustainable procurement practices amongst event organizers and vendors. Each iteration of the ZWE partnership delivered positive outcomes allowing us to scale and drive deeper impact towards Vancity’s environmental sustainability goals.

Collective Community Impact

It was a rewarding and humbling experience to be able to spread holiday cheer in one of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities in Canada; the Downtown Eastside.



Over 19 events in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia in 2014.


lbs of Waste

If not for this initiative, this amount plus the organics and recyclables would have gone to the landfill.


lbs of Organics and Recyclables

Diverted from the landfill into the compost and recycling streams.


Waste Diversion

In 2014, from the 19 events, we diverted this amount of waste from the landfill.

Our Learnings

Developing an innovative partnership model of this magnitude required a lot of trust between all the partners and stakeholders. The ability to convene the relevant stakeholders and design the process of engagement and consultation with those stakeholders to create the program framework. This initiative cultivated community conversation and a growing awareness around the impact of our waste, not only at these large public events but beyond in other areas of our lifestyle and attitudes. We were very lucky to work with such values-aligned and forward thinking leaders in the community who saw and believed in the vision.