Even though governments and businesses across the world have implemented greener practices, the effects of climate change are already wreaking havoc on our planet. As our sea levels increase and our landfills continue to grow, more needs to be done to ensure a brighter and greener future.
Fortunately, Canadian small businesses have been leaders in creating greener industries. One business, in particular, Vancouver’s first package-free grocery store, NADA, has made it a part of their business model to create real impact and change in the supermarket ecosystem.
“Vancouverites send 100,000 tonnes of food and packaging waste to landfills every year,” says NADA Founder and CEO Brianne Miller. She started her business because she wanted to see this dangerous behaviour end.
Brianne has a background in marine biology and, in her words, is a “zero-waste nerd.” As someone with a passion for local food systems and creating innovative solutions for complex conservation issues, she used these interests as fuel to create a business that will lead the market to make better decisions.
“The NADA business model is radically different from the mass-produced and globally shipped food network upon which conventional grocery stores rely,” she says. “We have a holistic approach to the food supply chain – encompassing everything from our suppliers, customers, and community partners to our sourcing criteria, waste diversion, and energy use.”
The greatest difference in their approach to selling food is that they have their customers use cloth bags, plastic containers, and other types of storage to purchase food by weight. This approach eliminates unnecessary packaging and ensures that customers purchase only what they need.
After successfully operating pop-up shops across the city and at various farmers’ markets, NADA plans to open their first permanent location in Vancouver, B.C in the upcoming months. The business struggled to find the perfect commercial location in the beginning but now have secured a lease in one of the great hotspots the city has to offer.
And Brianne is not stopping at just one store. In the future, Brianne plans to expand NADA and bring her vision and the zero-waste movement nationwide.
NADA has also found incredible success in building their online community. Facebook has been a fundamental platform for them, as it has helped them gather passionate consumers in the surrounding communities together for proactive and engaging conversations around the waste-free lifestyle. Currently, their Facebook page “NADA” has over 4,300 likes.
When asked about what advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, Brianne says: “Always ask questions – there are so many people out there willing to help. Surround yourself with supportive people, get enough sleep, exercise and take time to spend with friends and family. Starting a business is always harder than you think, but totally worth it!”
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Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media and Content Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada