Michaëla Talbot, BComm, CRM

SMEs and the Environment: How to Make a Difference With Your Business

In 2014, Lareau made the decision to become a paperless environment. This decision seemed to be forward-thinking at the time, although today it may seem like an obvious one. Since then, Lareau has made continuous efforts with regard to the environment, both in its branches and during its events. Discover simple, practical actions that you can also implement for your business.


Sanitary products: All of our sanitary products have been replaced with environmentally friendly equivalents, i.e. products with ingredients of higher quality and that are more efficient and environmentally responsible. From toilet paper and facial tissues to hand soap and dish soap, we have opted for a Quebec business that offers Canadian products in bulk.

Compost: Last year, we implemented a domestic compost program at our head office in Napierville and currently use the municipal compost system at our Valleyfield branch. We are aiming to implement this initiative in all of our branches; however, certain municipalities do not yet collect organic waste. In the short term, we hope to call on these municipalities to implement compost systems, so that we can compost at all Lareau branches in the future.

Cleaning products: Since we use multi-surface cleaners, it is of the utmost importance that they are safe for users. For this reason, we have selected plant-based products.

In terms of the materials needed for cleaning, we purchased dish brushes made from untreated beech wood and Tampico fibre, i.e. two biodegradable materials. When the brushes wear out, the heads can be changed. In the meantime, they can be easily washed in boiling water, which ensures that they will last for a long time. In addition, as our products are now being purchased in bulk, we have equipped each branch with amber soap dispensers.

Coffee and tea: The members of our team now enjoy organic, fair-trade coffee and tea from FARO Roasting Houses and Não Premium Tea. Supporting Quebec businesses and the local economy is important to us, particularly when such businesses share our environmental values.


Reduction of single-use plastics: We have chosen to eliminate single-use plastic products and to introduce compostable dishware at our events. Despite what some may think, it is possible to find compostable dishware made from solid materials that do not decompose during use!

Reusable bins for collecting cans and bottles to be returned and compost: We collaborated with our printer to create reusable bins that we bring to all of our external events. In fact, we now have three bins: compost, cans and bottles to be returned, and recycling!

Choice of suppliers: Certain items are unavoidable in an office environment, particularly anything related to stationery. However, when making such purchases, we feel the need to choose good suppliers and to prioritize sustainable materials (and to avoid plastic at all costs!). Whenever possible, we work with Quebec businesses to create our promotional materials. This allows us to encourage local businesses and minimize the transport, and thus the pollution, associated with the production of our items.

Moreover, during all events organized for the members of our team, the alcohol products we choose come only from Quebec businesses, and the caterers that we hire favour local products when creating their menus.

In short, when coming together for the environment, all actions, no matter how small, are good ones. We need to change our consumption habits and educate the people around us in order to make a difference. We hope that we have inspired you to make positive changes for your business!

To find out more about how you can reduce your ecological footprint, click here.

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Michaëla Talbot, BComm, CRM Personal-Lines Administration and optimization Director
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