Our Story

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REFOCUS was created as an outcome of Harbourfront Centre’s efforts to address it’s sustainabilty. Harbourfront Centre is a multi-disciplinary, non-profit arts and culture organization, located in the heart of the Toronto waterfront. To put it simply, Harbourfront Centre is not a sustainable organization nor is its mandate to deliver sustainability-related education. Click here to read more about Harbourfront Centre

Initially, Harbourfront Centre struggled to simply find examples of how sustainability could be smartly and sincerely addressed. Without a clear path to follow and having virtually no resources to invest, the charity’s leadership boldly committed to building a sustainability program and from it, a replicable model. The hope was that developing and sharing an effective method could help many organizations to more successfully confront the same challenges.

That vision attracted countless partnerships and resulted in the development of a sustainability program that has made an impressive difference. In brief, Harbourfront Centre has been able to adopt dozens of sustainability projects valued in the millions of dollars, on a net-zero investment. The organization has also reduced operating costs in perpetuity while assuming virtually no financial risk. Harbourfront Centre has managed to improve its performance environmentally and socially while strengthening the bottom line. REFOCUS is the most exceptional outcome of these efforts, developed to enable organizations to leverage what has been learned through the many successes and failures experienced.  

As much as the results are impressive, the program represents something of a grand failure. Harbourfront Centre is not sustainable and its sustainability program remains unstable. What is apparent is that having followed a transformational path, albeit less than effectively, has allowed the organization to capitalize on possibilities that would have never been available through a more conventional approach.

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