Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC)

Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) is a private non-profit housing organization that owns and operates 48 buildings around Ottawa providing over 2,000 residents with affordable housing.  Their mission is to create, maintain and promote housing for low and moderate income people.  In 2008, CCOC received a grant to undertake an education campaign on behaviour change to promote sustainability and achieve measurable greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As a tenant and volunteer led organization it was natural for CCOC to include the day-to-day decisions their tenants were making into their overall sustainability efforts.

PACE Consulting, EnviroEconomics and The Natural Step were all enlisted to help CCOC in creating a more holistic approach through the Go Green Initiative. EnviroEconomics delivered a detailed quantitative and qualitative footprint survey for tenants, and PACE Consulting used the results to develop targeted behaviour change strategies through contests, events and promotions.

In order to ensure that staff and tenants had a clear and common understanding of sustainability and the ways in which current practices are unsustainable, The Natural Step was contracted to conduct introductory workshops with several groups of tenants. Additionally, all CCOC staff partook in two days of training in The Natural Step Framework.  By engaging tenants and staff directly, The Natural Step empowered participants to understand and respond to sustainability challenges, to take personal action and to develop capacity to change organizational practices.

“As an organization focused on the social sector, CCOC is in an exemplary position to build the capacity of their organization and tenants to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainability in an accessible, results-oriented way. Their Go Green Initiative did exactly this”, said Senior Natural Step Advisor Sarah Brooks.

In 2009, CCOC signed up as one of the 25 organizations that participated in the pilot project for TNS’s “Greening Ottawa’s NGOs” project. Through this initiative they gained a valuable network of companions with which they were able to problem-solve, learn, and engage to discuss the trials and tribulations of going-green/sustainable. 

Congratulations are extended to CCOC who, in November, was awarded the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association’sGoing Green award”, for their “Go Green” initiative. On the ONPHA website, this award is described as an honour to be bestowed on “a non-profit housing provider who has taken innovative steps to reduce their impact on the environment” – an award for which CCOC is certainly deserving.