Why it Matters is a blog series written by TAS’s President and CEO that reflects upon the things we are doing in our neighbourhoods and why they matter to us as a company and to our commitment of Shaping Beautiful Cities™.
At TAS, we fundamentally recognize our position to positively affect change through our projects. We do this by engaging in a process that can empower the communities where we are working to bring about the kind of change they want to see in their neighbourhoods. As a result of this philosophy, we have had quite a year, engaging in multiple partnerships that we believe have meaningful impact in the neighbourhoods where we are building, as well as on our internal corporate team culture.
In this introductory “Why it Matters” post, I want to reflect on our achievements in 2013, and thank the incredible partners we have had the opportunity to collaborate with.
Neighbourhood Partnerships – The Junction Scene
Our partnership with Paul Mercer and Micah Lenahan for the Junction Flea ensured great food and super finds for a second year in a row at the DUKE build site on Dundas Street West. We’re proud to announce that the Junction Flea brand has spread its wings and launched another successful market at the Brickworks this past summer. We have also had an amazing time working with Kristina Skindelyte and the Junction BIA who have been a true force in getting out the story of the neighbourhood as an arts and cultural destination.
Thinking about Food
This past year marked the launch of our food security platform. We saw some pretty amazing projects come to life on our properties that help to raise awareness and create opportunities for urban food production. Through our partnership with Cultivate Toronto and their dedicated volunteer group led by Christopher Wong, we were able to implement a rooftop garden and harvest an amazing amount of food that was donated to the community meal program run out of the new Regent Park Community Food Centre. Who would have ever thought 72 rooftop planter boxes could equate to nearly 400lbs of food!? We also want to thank Ran Goel and his super team at Fresh City for collaborating with us to develop the pop-up Farm Lot this summer on King St. helping to bring the conversation to the street, literally!
Making Homeownership Affordable
Along with food security, TAS is committed to being a driving force behind affordable homeownership options in the city. On this front, we have formally partnered with Trillium Housing so that we may offer a number of affordable homeownership units in our future building at Dupont and Campbell. We also had the pleasure of working with Professor Steve Webber and an incredible group of young and talented fourth year planning students from Ryerson University to explore the state of affordable ownership in Ontario. Their research led to a paper that looks at global best practices and makes suggestions for how we may approach affordable ownership right here in our own city. You may download a copy of their report by clicking here.
Minimizing our Impact
Proudly, we’ve committed to the Frog – Bullfrog that is! We are very excited about our partnership with Bullfrog Power, which has enabled us to inject regionally sourced, Eco-logo certified energy onto the grid for 100% of the electricity we use at our head office building. By doing this, we displace any electricity that would otherwise have to be generated from polluting sources. Along with becoming Bullfrog-powered, the TAS team at our head office has begun a step-by-step office greening regimen to reduce the impact that we have on a day to day basis with respect to waste, energy, transportation, procurement policies, and water use.
Third Party Accreditations – B Corp and SVX
I have always been a firm believer that change starts from within. This year marked TAS’s accreditation as a Certified B Corporation. B Corps are companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, and our accreditation recognizes our commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the corporate culture that sets us apart. TAS is the first Canadian condominium developer to have been certified as a B Corp and for this we are immensely proud.
While being a B Corp recognizes us for our culture and commitment from within, our listing this year on the SVX recognized us for the social impact we are generating through our projects. Through our real estate fund, we have created a social impact investment opportunity, and our listing on the SVX recognizes the capacity we possess to affect change while creating a true quadruple bottom line return. In an environment where our industry is often not given the benefit of the doubt, third party accreditations like SVX and B Corp set us apart as a truly different kind of home builder.
As we embark on another exciting year, I look forward to sharing our stories with you and opening up the conversation about the things that we are doing and why they matter to us as a company and to our commitment of Shaping Beautiful Cities™.