Welcome back to First Capital’s Climate Action Video and Blog Series. Throughout the series, we’ve focused on major climate change contributors and how we can make positive environmental impacts. In our fourth and final installment of this series, we’ll be discussing biodiversity and how we can preserve it. 

Biodiversity is essential for the health of our planet, but sadly human activity is gradually killing it off. Thankfully, there are ways we can preserve it and stop the destruction of it before there’s none left. The time is now to take action that will have a positive impact for the future and health of our planet. Whether you’re at home or work, your efforts can help preserve the biodiversity of life on Earth.  

What is biodiversity? 

Biodiversity represents all the various kinds of life on earth that make up our natural world – including the endless varieties of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms such as bacteria. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web. 

Biodiversity is essential for the survival of our planet. It provides the air we breathe, the food we eat, medicines that keep us healthy, and so much more. We rely on biodiversity to support all life on Earth. 

Unfortunately, human activity, both intentional and unintentional, affects the biodiversity of the planet and poses a serious threat to its livelihood. Historically, the most significant threat to biodiversity has been the alteration and ongoing deterioration of natural habitats for agriculture and resource extraction. However, as climate change continues to intensify, its impact on ecosystems will become an increasingly pressing concern. As it stands, the degradation of biodiversity on our planet is occurring at an alarming rate and we need to work together to preserve it for generations to come. 

Intentional vs. Unintentional Human Activity Biodiversity Destruction 

A perfect example of habitat and biodiversity destruction from intentional human activity includes the vast deforestation and excavation of land to build homes, commercial buildings, and farms. Currently, forests cover 31% of the land on our planet – a number that sadly used to be much higher. In Canada, extracting natural resources such as gas, oil, and other minerals is a big part of our economy. Not only does the extraction process emit harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but it also negatively impacts our intact forests. Extractions require roads, pipelines, seismic lines, and open pits – all of which cause deforestation. 

Land use change is the primary driver of biodiversity loss, accounting for approximately 30% of the decline worldwide. Overexploitation, such as overfishing, overhunting, and overharvesting of resources like food, medicine, and timber, is the second leading cause of biodiversity loss, contributing to around 20% of the decline. 

Biodiversity loss, however, is not just confined to land. To that effect, an example of unintentional human activity that causes biodiversity destruction is the gradual loss of our coral reefs. Coral reefs are some of the most important and precious ecosystems we have on earth as they provide necessary habitats for fish and other aquatic life, protect coastlines from storms and erosion, provide jobs for local communities, and produce a grave amount of oxygen that keeps aquatic species alive. As an indirect result of human activity (emissions of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases), our oceans’ carbon dioxide levels and overall temperature are continuing to rise. Unfortunately, this creates an environment where coral cannot survive and as a result, many around the world are dying at an alarming rate.  

Our Wilderton Centre property, located in Montreal, QC, contains a moss-filled roof that reduces energy use in the building as it provides a natural cooling barrier. It creates a habitat attracting surrounding wildlife. This helps the neighbourhood’s biodiversity thrive. 

So, how can we preserve biodiversity? 

There are multiple ways we can preserve biodiversity, but in order to make a significant impact, both individuals and organizations alike must do their part. At First Capital, we are committed to sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment. We have implemented various initiatives to help biodiversity thrive.  

During the summer of 2022, we partnered with MircoHabitatto transform an outdoor patio space into an urban farm. We grew a variety of vegetables and harvested over 500 edible plants and 104lbs of vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs – all of which was donated to a local food charity.This initiative contributes to the greening of spaces; helps create local, ecological, and resilient food systems; helps support our local community; and encourages biodiversity in our urban area. Click here to learn more about this initiative.  

In 2020, we launched our Beehive program and have installed a total of 11 beehives at various properties across our portfolio. Bees play an instrumental role in the survival of the Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Their importance lies in the ability to transfer pollen between flowering plants which ultimately leads to their growth and reproduction. Click here to learn how we’re growing our sustainability initiatives one beehive at a time. 

What you can do 

Preserving biodiversity is not just the responsibility of corporations and governments; it’s also up to individuals. Here are some practical steps you can take to help preserve biodiversity:  

  • Make sustainable food choices: food production remains extremely high due to human overconsumption and excess food waste. Our food choices can have a significant impact on biodiversity. Eating a plant-based diet, choosing sustainably sourced local foods, and even reducing our meat consumption can all help preserve biodiversity. 
  • Reduce food waste: food waste is a significant issue that contributes to biodiversity loss. Nearly 60% of the food produced in Canada is thrown out every year. That’s about 35.5 million metric tons, equaling the weight of 300 CN Towers. When we waste food, we waste the resources used to produce it, including the water for crops to grow and the fossil fuels used to harvest and transport it. Try to plan your meals and shop for only what you need. Composting is also an excellent way to reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for plants.   

    Create a wildlife-friendly garden: creating a garden that supports wildlife can help increase biodiversity in your local area. Try planting native species, installing birdhouses and feeders, and avoid using pesticides and herbicides that harm wildlife. A garden is also a great way to save money on rising grocery costs and promote pollination.  

    Educate others: one of the most effective ways to preserve biodiversity is by educating others about its importance. Share what you’ve learned with friends and family, participate in community events, and support organizations that are working towards a better, more sustainable future. 

As we’ve outlined thus far, biodiversity is essential to maintaining the health of our planet and its inhabitants. It’s up to all of us to take action and preserve it. Whether it’s at home, work, or in our communities, every effort counts. As we work towards our overarching goal of achieving net-zero by 2050, improving the biodiversity in our neighbourhoods is one of the many ways that will help us get there. Learn more about our long-term goals in our 2020-2024 ESG Roadmap here

That’s it for our Climate Action Video & Blog Series! We hope this has inspired you to take action and do your part in protecting our environment. Climate change is a journey, and it affects us all. Let’s work together to create a promising future for our planet and generations to come.  

Missed the first three installments of the Climate Action Video and Blog Series? Check them all out below: 


  • Episode 1: Climate Change & Taking action – link here 
  • Episode 2: Energy Conservation – link here 
  • Episode 3: Transportation – link here 

Welcome back to First Capital’s Climate Action Video and Blog Series. In the second installment of this four-part series, we’ll be discussing energy consumption as it is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Luckily, there are ways we can conserve it.  

We’ll be exploring the concept of energy conservation, what we’re doing to help, and providing practical tips for individuals and businesses to reduce their energy consumption. Together, we can transition to cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy. Join us on this journey to a more sustainable future. 

Every day, we consume energy to power our homes, businesses, and lives. From enjoying your morning coffee, charging your cellphone battery, warming and cooling your home, to binge watching your favourite TV show, we’re constantly consuming energy. But have you ever stopped to think about where that energy comes from, and how it impacts our planet?  

Fossil fuels, a non-renewable energy source, are the second largest source for electricity production in Canada – we rely on them very heavily. It is created through the extraction and burning of hydrocarbon-containing materials that are naturally formed in the Earth’s crust such as coal, oil, and natural gas. The process of burning fossil fuels to generate energy (most commonly for electricity and transportation) emits harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutants into the atmosphere. Further to which, the extraction, transportation, and burning of fossil fuels can lead to water and air pollution, habitat destruction, and other environmental issues. Did you know that burning fossil fuels is one of the leading causes of climate change? 

Today, residential, commercial, and institutional buildings contribute to 17% of Canada’s GHG emissions. These emissions come from the electricity used to heat and cool our buildings, as well as to power them and all the appliances inside. Additionally, when we consider building materials and construction, the number jumps from 17% to 30%, making the building sector Canada’s third-highest carbon emitter.  

The truth is, our reliance on fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources is taking a toll on the environment, contributing to climate change and other harmful environmental issues. The good news is that there are things we can do to make a difference – and that starts with energy conservation.  

map of Canada and chart

What is energy conservation?  

Energy conservation is the practice of reducing the amount of energy used while still achieving the same outcome. In other words, it’s about doing more with less. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stop your morning coffee routine; we just have to find ways to make it more efficient.   

Both businesses and individuals have an important role to play in energy conservation. For businesses, energy conservation can reduce operational costs and help with sustainability efforts. For individuals, energy conservation can save money on monthly bills and reduce their carbon footprint. Even better, making your home more energy efficient will likely increase its value.  

So, what can you do at home to conserve energy? Here are three simple things:

  1. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs: these light bulbs (i.e., LEDs) use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. This is an easy upgrade with a huge benefit.  

  2. Draft proofing & installing weatherstrips: Adding weatherstrips around doors and draft proofing windows can keep warm and cool air inside your house. By doing so, it reduces your energy consumed to heat and cool your home, which also results in lower energy bills and overall comfort in your home. This reduces the impact on your HVAC equipment and preserves its longevity.  

  3. Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances: When replacing old appliances, consider upgrading to energy-efficient models. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label, which are certified to use less energy than standard models. These energy-efficient appliances will reduce the energy required by 10% to 50% and can save you 20% to 50% on your monthly energy bills. 

For those who own businesses or want to reduce energy consumption in their workplace, here are a few great ways to do so:   

  1. Conduct an energy audit: This involves analyzing energy use in the workplace and identifying areas where energy can be saved. An energy audit can help businesses determine which systems and processes are using the most energy and where improvements can be made. This is a great starting point to conserve energy.  
  2. Use energy-efficient equipment: Businesses can reduce their energy consumption by using energy-efficient office equipment such as printers, computers, and copiers. Additionally, switching to energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can result in significant energy savings and provide cleaner and better air quality.  
  3. Encourage employee participation: Businesses can promote energy conservation by educating employees on ways to save energy. This can include turning off lights and equipment when not in use and using natural lighting and ventilation when possible. This spring, we’re launching our Green from Home initiative that will encourage our staff to do their part as well. 

How can we introduce clean and renewable energy in our daily lives? 

Clean energy comes from systems that produce energy without emitting any pollutants. Systems like solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower are all examples of clean energy that substantially reduce GHG emissions and help eliminate the need for fossil fuels. 

Businesses and homes are continuing to implement clean energy systems to help combat GHG emissions and reduce energy costs. For example, at First Capital, we are implementing geothermal technology into some of our newest developments. Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy that takes the heat from the earth’s core and uses it to heat and cool buildings. Not only does it have a very long lifecycle, but it can be harvested and used for everyday energy consumption and provides healthy indoor air, eliminating the use and combustion of fossil fuels all together. 

A rendering of our 1071 King Street West development – this Liberty Village development has incorporated several modern architectural elements that conserve energy and are sustainably focused. Learn more about this development here 

At First Capital, we recognize the impact our properties have on the environment and are committed to improving our sustainable efforts until we achieve net-zero by 2050. As leaders in the commercial real estate industry, we believe it is our responsibility to drive sustainability efforts and are committed to doing our part. We’ve taken steps towards reducing our energy consumption at our properties, including our portfolio-wide LED parking lot lighting retrofit. While this was significant, we understand that there is more work to be done and are in the middle of conducting energy-audits at every single one of our properties to identify where we can conserve energy.  

Energy conservation is everyone’s responsibility. By taking simple steps at home and work, we can help protect the environment, reduce our carbon footprint, and save money.  

Visit our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) page for more information on how we’re taking action to combat climate change – click here. 

Missed the first installment of the Climate Action Video and Blog Series? Check it out here

Welcome to First Capital’s Climate Action Video and Blog Series. In this four-part series, we’ll be discussing the climate crisis facing our planet, identifying the three largest contributors to climate change, and talking about how we can take action in both our homes and in the workplace to create positive change.  

Since 2006, First Capital has committed to corporate sustainability through a variety of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives. As leaders in the commercial real estate industry, we believe it is our responsibility to drive sustainability efforts and are committed to doing our part.  

Ever wondered how you can take action to help offset climate change? Climate change is a journey, and it affects us all. Let’s work together to create a promising future for our planet and generations to come.  

Climate Change & Taking Action

What is climate change? 

Climate change is the long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns due to human activity. It is one of the most pressing challenges humanity currently faces. In looking at the state of our environment, we can see the effects of climate change all around us such as extreme weather, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and more. The push for global climate action has never been greater and we are in a defining moment. Now is the time to take action before climate change becomes irreversible. 

So, what can we do? 

The good news is that no matter who you are or where you live, there are actions you can take to make a difference. Did you know that buildings and homes account for 40% of global energy consumption and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)? By making small changes in our buildings, homes, and workplaces, we can make a positive impact. Something as simple as turning off the lights and unplugging appliances when not in use can save up to 25% on our energy bills and reduce our carbon footprint by 1 ton per year

A common misconception we hear often is that people believe making minor lifestyle changes such as cutting out meat one day a week or opting to bike to work every so often won’t make a difference. While this may be an accurate assumption on a singular scale, the truth is that if everyone (or a large group of people at least) adopts these practices, together we can improve the livelihood of our planet.  


Transportation is another significant area where we can make a difference. Did you know that transportation is responsible for 23% of global energy-related GHGs? Replacing single occupancy car rides with walking, biking, or public transit can significantly reduce air pollution and subsequently better our carbon footprint. In fact, taking public transportation instead of driving a car can save you an average of $9,000 per year on vehicle-related expenses and reduce your carbon footprint by up to 30%

Chart of GHG contributors

Food Consumption & Diet Changes 

Another way we can make a significant positive impact on our carbon footprint is by changing our diets and focusing on preserving the biodiversity of our planet. Large scale food production and overexploitation are the primary drivers for biodiversity loss. Did you know that livestock production accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions? 

Eating more plant-based meals, reducing our meat consumption, choosing locally grown foods, as well as planting a small garden at home can greatly reduce the emissions associated with food production and transportation. By adopting a plant-based diet, you can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 50%. Now, we understand a plant-based diet isn’t for everyone, but even just reducing your weekly meat consumption makes a difference. If everyone cut out meat one day a week it would have the same impact on GHG emissions as taking 240 million cars off the road each year.  

Climate change is a complex issue, but taking action doesn’t have to be. In our next three installments of our Climate Action Video and Blog Series, we’ll be identifying the three largest contributors to climate change, and how we can take action in both our homes and in the workplace to create positive change: energy consumption, transportation habits, and our diet/biodiversity. 

This spring, we’re participating in Project Neutral’s “Green From Home” program where we’ll be challenging all First Capital employees to reduce their own carbon footprints. By making small changes in our daily lives and practices, we can all work together to create a more sustainable future for our planet and generations to come. 

Visit our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) page for more information on how we’re taking action to combat climate change – click here

From early spring to late fall 2022, we partnered with MircoHabitat to sustainably transform an outdoor patio space into a green urban farm. Taking place at our head office in Liberty Village, we set up several planting pots lining our top floor terrace, growing over 15 varieties of vegetables and herbs, including Oregano, Thyme, Mint, Rosemary, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Peppers, Beans, Tomatoes, Arugula, Swiss Chard and more. We’re proud to share that our Urban Farm harvested over 500 edible plants and 103.64 lbs of vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs. All were donated to Second Harvest (Canada’s largest food rescue organization) and redistributed to local food banks to help combat food insecurity in our neighbourhoods. 

This sustainable initiative contributes to the greening of spaces; creates local, ecological, and resilient food systems; helps support our local community; and encourages biodiversity in our urban area.  

Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at FCR encompasses all aspects of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices. Our values and our sustainability program guide our actions and supports our strategy of creating thriving neighbourhoods to generate value for businesses, residents, communities, and our investors. This project is a part of our 2020-2024 ESG Roadmap and is the next step in continuing our long-term sustainability goals and initiatives of achieving net zero by 2050. 

Image of the garden the gardener and our logo on the building

Beginning in April 2022, our ESG team began their partnership with Microhabitat and kicked off planning for our first-ever urban farm that would take place from June to late October. Once the planting pots were installed and assembled, the Microhabitat team held in person and virtual workshops for our staff that provided an overview of the project, outlined the importance of urban farms, educated them on sustainable consumption awareness and the environment around food, and how they could make their own urban farms from home. By doing so, we were able to cultivate further sustainable change by informing, inspiring, empowering, sharing skills, knowledge, and building meaningful collaborative relationships with our staff by reconnecting them with nature. 

Over the course of the season, our urban farm grew an abundance of vegetables and herbs for those in need. MicroHabitat’s team provided weekly visits, tended to the crops, harvested them, and winterized the garden at the end of the season.  

Impacts of our MicroHabitat urban farm 

  • The Environmental impact includes:

  • Greening our outdoor spaces

    Reducing our environmental footprint

    Reducing heat island effects (Cities have an average temperature of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius higher than the outlying areas. This phenomenon, known as a “heat island”, is due to the high concentration of built-up areas that absorb and re-emit heat from the sun)

    Improving local biodiversity

    Supporting pollinators with the presence of melliferous (honey producing) plants

    100% ecological cultivation

    Holistic approach with natural fertilizers, ecological automatic irrigation system, no use of chemicals

    Ultra-local production that reduces food loss and greenhouse gas production by limiting transportation

  • The Social impact includes:

  • Mobilizing teams around a sustainable development project

    Raising awareness and promoting healthy, local, and sustainable food

    Improving the feeling of well-being and performance at work

    Supporting Second Harvest – Canada’s largest food rescue organization

  • The Economic impact includes:

  • Added value to the property

    Employee engagement

    Team-building opportunity through education workshops

    Innovative and sustainable positioning

    Improvement of eco-responsible practices

MicroHabitat believes in urban farming for change. Their mission is to build a healthier society and world by reconnecting people with nature and their food. They do this by transforming unused spaces into urban farms. MicroHabitat believes in creating greener and more resilient cities through urban agriculture. Their ultimate goal is to cultivate cities to consume better and live better. 

First Capital would like to thank MicroHabitat on the success of this sustainable pilot project. With over 500 crops harvested in a single season, our urban farm exceeded our expectations and provided an abundance of fresh produce and herbs for Second Harvest; giving back to the communities in which we operate. Since 2021, we’ve carried out several additional fundraising initiatives in support of Second Harvest donating over 939,000 meals. Click here to read how we achieved that.   

We recognize and understand the importance of preserving our world and improving the environment we live in, and our urban farm is just one step on our ESG journey. Read more about our ESG goals and initiatives here and be sure to check out our 2020-2024 ESG Roadmap here