Category Archives: News


BluPlanet Recycling

If you are a resident in Calgary, you’ve likely heard about the fairly comprehensive overhaul that the City of Calgary has been doing with Waste and Recycling management. Since February 2016, multi-family buildings are required to provide residents with recycling services, and starting November 1, 2017, food and yard waste services will also become mandatory for the same types of residential buildings.

Landlords and building owners will have the option to decide between service providers, so long as they meet the requirements set forth by the City. With only seven months until the new bylaw comes into effect, it’s a great time to begin considering which company can provide the best service. BluPlanet Recycling, a candidate for the Local Economy Leader Award in REAP’s 2016 Be Local awards, can handle both your waste diversion needs while also being a champion for the environment and the Calgary community.

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If you’re looking for a provider that knows the City requirements inside and out, BluPlanet has been instrumental in creating these new bylaws, participating in the process for the last seven years. Their consistent participation has helped create the comprehensive waste management legislation that the City of Calgary is now introducing.

In 2016, they set out to change their business model from being a single service recycling company to offering other waste solutions, including organics. They have specifically designed their services to meet the needs of multi-family residences, by adding garbage collection in order to provide comprehensive waste management. They aim to not just meet City requirements but go above and beyond, achieving the highest waste diversion rates possible. In 2016, they had a goal to divert 2,500 tonnes of materials from Calgary landfills and began offering recycling services for large-volume cardboard, electronics, and fluorescent bulbs, among many other materials.

During a REAP event that they learned about Certified B Corporations. Intrigued by the concept, they did their research and started the process, becoming the fourth business in Canada to become a register Benefit Corporation. This means that while they are a for-profit business, they have a third party measuring their impact and their commitment to the environment and community, holding themselves to highest standards for social and environmental sustainability. Through this, they maintain a triple bottom line policy, considering how they work towards bettering their community and the environment, alongside their financial wellbeing.



BluPlanet demonstrates their commitment to the environment in a number of ways: they are a VCC living wage leader that pays all employees a salary with health benefits and insurance, they are an ABCRC Community Champion, they sit on the Recycling Council of Alberta, and they offer pricing incentives for their fellow REAP members and not-for-profits.

The deadline for compliance with the new bylaws is fast approaching! Contact BluPlanet today – early adopters can beat the Fall 2017 rush and may also qualify for discounts.


Take Action

Follow BluPlanet on Twitter, Facebook, or hit them up on their website.

If you are a landlord or owner of a multi-family property, contact BluPlanet to learn more about discounts for early sign up.

If you are a Calgary resident in a multi-family property, get in touch with your landlord and let them know how they can benefit from early signup with BluPlanet Recycling.

Learn more about Calgary’s Waste Diversion Resources.

Looking Inward: Thrive reflects on its impact

In November 2015, Thrive hired an external consultant to assess its impact, as well as to capture important lessons and implications for Thrive as a social change initiative going forward. This brief shares an overview of the achievements, challenges and lessons that emerged between 2010 and 2015. In sharing highlights from the evaluation, we hope to advance our collective work to build a thriving local economy for all.

Going Further Together

Thrive and Conscious Brands Partner on Leadership Program

This fall, Thrive is teaming up with Conscious Brands to help launch Calgary into the new economy. We are joining forces on a collaborative leadership program, Spiral Table®, providing unique peer-to-peer training for leaders in purpose-driven organizations to accelerate personal and organizational growth.

The initial nudge for the partnership came from Stephanie Jackman, founder of REAP Business Association, and member of the Spiral Table® program. ‘You should really check this out for Thrive’s learning community.’ Intrigued, but unsure about Conscious Brands’ willingness to join forces, Thrive arranged an initial meeting.

The Spiral Table® program seemed like an ideal fit for Thrive, who was seeking ways to provide Calgary leaders in sustainability and social change with opportunities to effectively connect and grow their skills.

Over a quick cup of tea, the synergies between the two organizations became immediately clear. As a result, a partnership to grow the Spiral Table® program in Calgary was born.

This partnership exemplifies one of Conscious Brands guiding principles, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go further, go together” (African proverb). Rather than reinvent the wheel, Thrive is able to adopt an existing program, the Spiral Table®, into their offerings. It provides the structure and processes to deepen relationships and collaborate on effective solutions for a vibrant, new economy in Calgary. At the same time, Conscious Brands, will benefit from the connections Thrive has to local businesses and social innovators via their developed network.

What exactly is the Spiral Table® program?

Spiral Table® is a form of collaborative leadership development, or peer-to-peer learning, created by Conscious Brands. It’s aimed toward leaders and change-makers of purpose-driven organizations, to help them grow and evolve, together. Meeting monthly over the course of one year in groups of 6-8, each session involves dialoguing through the most pressing challenges and opportunities faced by individual members. Backed by thoughtfully cultivated research and facilitation from Conscious Brands, each Spiral Table® effectively becomes its own senior level advisory group, sounding board, and idea generator for the organizations involved.

Collaborative leadership development goes beyond a simple exchange of advice and information. Going further together means a deeper, more connected approach. It requires an environment of trust and vulnerability, and a commitment to the other leaders to help grow their skills and achieve their goals, as well as one’s own.

Rarely in the professional world are we given the time and opportunity to open up in this way, and have a group of mentors in our immediate circle.

It’s this level of reflection and engagement that produces the most meaningful transformations in the participants.

The concept began as a pilot several years ago, and the original Spiral Table® is still going today, 7 years strong. Now, with 4 active Tables and 2 more to start this fall, Conscious Brands can say with certainty that it’s been a game-changer for them and their members – one that is ready to be offered to a broader audience. That’s where Thrive’s vibrant network of local economy leaders comes in.

Take Action:

  • Check out Conscious Brands here. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook, or stay in touch by signing up for their newsletter database.
  • Follow Thrive on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for Thrive’s newsletter database to stay up to date on local happenings that are building a vibrant sustainable local economy in Calgary.
  • Join a Spiral Table® and grow your leadership collaboratively. Contact Barb Davies at Thrive by phone 403-204-2668 or email for details.

Recruiting 24 leaders for September 2015 in Calgary!

We are recruiting twenty-four leaders to take the 2015-16 SFU Certificate Program for Community Economic Development with a special cohort of Calgary’s most active change-makers. Continue reading “Recruiting 24 leaders for September 2015 in Calgary!” »

Join Thrive and SFU for a Spring Webinar Series

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves in co-creating a sustainable, local economy right here in Calgary? This spring Simon Fraser University is offering a glimpse into their Certificate program in Community Economic Development Continue reading “Join Thrive and SFU for a Spring Webinar Series” »

Momentum’s Carolyn Davis Receives Top 40 Under 40 Award

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By Elisha Kittson

As Community Relations Director at Momentum, Carolyn Davis is a mover and shaker in Calgary’s community economic development scene. She’s also just been recognized by Avenue Magazine in the Top 40 Under 40, class of 2014.

It’s a good thing to know she stood out amongst the 400 odd nominations for “best and brightest in the city”. Because, while some of us were drinking beer and backpacking in our 20s, Carolyn was busy trying to make a dent in persistent poverty.

“Poverty is caused by many things, but it’s always about not having enough money. So at Momentum we work to grow the assets, financial and human of about 4,000 people per year one person at a time. We also identify and understand the barriers and send that info over to our public policy team so they can work on eliminating the barrier or issue at the root. So we have a feedback loop that enables us to deliver legitimate programming,” she says.

During the six years she’s held a leadership role at Momentum Davis has contributed to policy development processes such as the Calgary Economic Development Strategy, Calgary Poverty Reduction Strategy, Alberta Social Policy Framework and most recently the Social Innovation Endowment (2014). She’s also attracted over $3 million in philanthropic contributions, growing Momentum’s fund development portfolio five-fold under her leadership. Holding a senior role at Momentum she helped secure an innovation award from the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations and create the conditions for recognition as a Top 50 employer and Psychologically Healthy Workplace.

Carolyn and her team work to create the conditions for understanding poverty, by using story and policy advocacy (you’ll get the jist in this important article she wrote about supporting low-income families to save for education).

Articulate and heartfelt in her commitment to her work, Carolyn brings it all home for us in these closing words.

“This isn’t about being poverty heroes. As CED practitioners we believe everyone is vulnerable and everyone has assets. My route to Top 40 was relatively easy. On the next page of Avenue magazine, Jill Drader, a Momentum graduate, had a much different path. I’m not diminishing my accomplishment, just pointing out that for lasting community change, we will go further when we go together.”

Carolyn is also a graduate of the SFU Certificate Program for Community Economic Development hosted by Thrive.

Curate your own sustainable style on Fashion Revolution Day

Some things in life we cannot do without: clothing is one of them. But in the global economy, we are increasingly disconnected from the processes behind our garments. Clothing ourselves in an ethical manner is a daunting task, and Fashion Revolution Day reminds us of this.

On April 24th 2013, 1,133 sweat shop workers died in a clothing factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. To commemorate this tragic occasion, forward-thinking members of the fashion industry have started Fashion Revolution Day, which aims to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future.

More consideration for the social and environmental impacts of our fashion choices are needed from both the supply and the demand side. By prolonging the lifecycle of both your garments and others you can get more sustainable with your clothing now. Here are some quick tips to stay fashionable without increasing demand:


Shoppers can be compelled to go back to the mall on a seasonal basis, creating a glut of underused clothing. What is the silver lining? Fashionistas have access to a near-endless supply of material to comb through and upcycle (creating something new out of something old). Profitable businesses have developed out of this near-waste stream, giving you greater access to repurposed clothing.

  • Shop second hand, and feel good about it! Check out REAP member ReWorks Upcycle Shop for some great accessories, bags, or items for around the home.


How many of us have clothes in our closet that we haven’t worn in months, or even years? One answer to overconsumption is not a break in purchasing, but rather to rethink what we truly need.

  • Cut down on your purchasing! A quick Google search of essential clothing items will give you ideas of how to pare down your closet without sacrificing style.
  • Buy higher quality clothing! Those bulk socks from Costco may be the same price as the quality pair, but twice the material, twice the work, and twice the shipping. They are cheaper for a reason, and the price could be due to lower quality or a social or environmental cost.


One (hu)man’s trash is another’s treasure! Give new life to your underused clothing. Aside from giving it away (we suggest Women In Need Society’s social enterprise Shop 4 Change), here are some other options to give your clothing a new home.

  • Put it on Kijiji! If you didn’t get full use out of an item, you might as well recoup some of the cost, and find someone who will lend a hand with wearing it out.
  • Organize a clothing swap with friends or colleagues! SquareKnot Coop member Paula Blundell organizes an annual clothing swap that plays host to over 15 women who wind up with numerous items for their wardrobe that, though not new, will be appreciated that way. Thrive partner Momentum has an annual clothing swap for its staff members (<50). Could you host a clothing swap at work?

Shopping Sustainably

If you do want to find ethically sourced, environmentally friendly clothing, Riva’s Eco Store is an excellent local business here to start at.

Knowing the detailed story of every piece of your clothing can be a daunting task, so take it one step at a time. By following these quick wins you can ensure your economic footprint is considered along with the environmental and social, and start becoming a more sustainable shopper.

ODCs: an opportunity for local investment

This is part one of a two part series on local investment. Part two will focus on local investment in the Calgary setting.

How much of your invested money stays in the local economy? Chances are, not much. I sat down with Seth Leon of the Alberta Community and Cooperative Association to discuss the up-sides of investing more of our money in our own community. The benefits are clear: a greater percentage of dollars spent locally stay local, it supports businesses that are more likely to act as a contributing member of the community, and the development of an entrepreneurial citizenry. Despite these benefits, very few people think local when they think of their investment portfolio. Continue reading “ODCs: an opportunity for local investment” »

Community Economy Leader Award Winner: Leela Eco Spa!

We’re excited to announce Leela Eco Spa as the winner of the Community Economy Leader Award as part of the REAP Be Local Awards! Congratulations Leela Eco Spa!


The Community Economy Leader Award recognizes a REAP member that is building a resilient local community and economy. This award goes to a business that is rooted here in Calgary and it shows in how they invest in people and places, purchase from fellow local businesses, provide valuable social benefit and support their community in general. The award recipient will also be receiving a bursary to participate in the Community Economic Development Certificate Program being hosted by Thrive and First Calgary Financial in 2014. Continue reading “Community Economy Leader Award Winner: Leela Eco Spa!” »

10 Reasons to Get Your CED Certificate!

Think 3 InterconnectedWondering if you should apply for the Simon Fraser University, Community Economic Development (CED) Certificate Program coming to Calgary? Well, 100% of graduates recommend the program to peers. If that’s not enough of a reason, here are 10 more: Continue reading “10 Reasons to Get Your CED Certificate!” »