Tim Hortons Letter to London Mayor & City Council

Tim Horton’s continues to use community involvement to green wash over their environmental degradation which is all externalized to our shared environment.

In the letter below – sent to city council June 24th, 2009, the group once again highlights their recent recycling efforts. They have been talking about this for years. They claim to have recycling programs in 125 stores. There are currently over 3,000 stores. They recycle where cities can accommodate their existing packaging. They have successfully fought against changing their packaging to accommodate standard recycling requirements. In 2008 – they unveiled a their recycling plan. The plan? – to offer recycling bins for paper, cans and bottles.The letter below gives kudos to city staff for “recognizing the science behind our contention that “there is no air quality benefit to the public from eliminating drive throughs”.

In Nova Scotia, Tim Hortons cups accounted for 22 per cent of all identifiable waste (2005). Tim Hortons is the fourth largest quick service food chain in North America and the largest in Canada, with 3,294 stores system wide (2,870 in Canada and 424 in the US)(December 2008) – with such proliferation the chain’s garbage and pollution levels are continuing to soar. In 2005 it stated on the website that Tim Hortons is always exploring alternative packaging materials, particularly those that are recyclable or biodegradable (It still states this) … however, after a conversation with Greg Skinner, Tim Hortons manager of corporate affairs, it was found that no such research existed. It was also discovered that the corporation was doing nothing to change the composition of the paper cups. On a national level, also in 2005 – Stephen Johnston, Tim Hortons regional vice-president of operations, told a news conference that Tim Hortons is also working toward making its paper cups easier to recycle, and perhaps even biodegradable. We are now in 2009. The ‘green shift’ packaging program has taken off and retailers all over Canada have switched to compostable, recyclable or zero waste policies.

This year – the TDL group (Tim Hortons) went to war with the city of Toronto who wanted the corporation to redesign their cup. The city stated that a cardboard cup with a plastic lid screws up the recycling process by contaminating the paper with plastic. The city also wants stores to offer a 20 cent discount for those who bring their own mugs. The suggestion that Tim Hortons replace disposable coffee cups with reusable mugs or a deposit-return system, prompted outrage. Tim Hortons successfully forced the City of Toronto into submission on its plans to reduce waste, so much of which comes from this one hugely successful chain. The city called it a “compromise”. So much for trying to get one million cups a day (Toronto only) out of the garbage stream. Tim Hortons refused to change their cups or lids, or to contribute to the three million dollar cost of recycling machinery to separate them. And for some reason, they got their way – again. Spokesman. Nick Javor responded that the company will "absolutely not" redesign its cups to suit Toronto, said Javor, who says plastic lids are the only leak-proof products on the market. Even so – on the Tim Hortons website it lists Toronto as one of the cities that participates in a recycling & composting program.

Hard economic times haven’t hurt Tim Hortons Inc., Canada’s largest chain of coffee and doughnut shops. This year – the company’s net income in the first quarter rose by 7.5 per cent compared with a year ago to $66.4 million, from $61.8 million. Annual revenue for Tim Hortons in 2008 was $2.04 billion – up 7.8 per cent from $1.9 billion in 2007.



874 Sinclair Rd., Oakville, Ontario L6K 2Y1

TELEPHONE (905) 845-6511 -FACSIMILE (905) 8450265

June 24, 2009

Mayor DeCicco-Best

Members of Council

City of London

214- 300 Dufferin Avenue

P.O. Box 5035

London, Ontario

N6B 122

Dear Mayor DeCicco-Best and members of London Council:

Sent Via Email


I am writing to you on behalf of the Tim Hortons franchisees in London. Tim Hortons has 68 London locations that employ 1900 people. Our first London location opened in 1973 and we serve approximately 80,000 customers a day.

The information that follows in this letter was presented as a deputation to the Environment and Transportation Committee on June 22, 2009.

Iam here tonight to speak in support of the Environment and Transportation Committee’s Report and the recommendations on idling, as they pertain to drive thrus and the need for public awareness and education. We believe the report contains a fair, balanced and evidenced based approach to this important issue.

We as Tim Hortons welcome the recognition that the proposed idling by-law should not be applied to cars in drive thru, as cars in a drive thru are NOT in a single stationary position for an excessive amount of time, but are moving in a stop and go fashion more like slow moving traffic. This fact alone makes the enforcement of any idling by-laws on drive through users a challenge and not practical. In acknowledging this, London would be joining other municipalities like Peterborough and Burlington that have done the same.

A year ago, somesuggested an outright ban of drive thrus. The staff report you are reviewing today clearly rejects this approach and recognizes the science behind our contention that “there is no air quality benefit to the public from eliminating drive throughs”.

One year later, the RWDl study still stands as the only peer-reviewed analysis of the impact on the environment of banning drive throughs. The staffs report recognizes the RWDl conclusions. City staff have done an admirable and credible job sorting through all of the information, given the complex subject matter.

In the process of getting to today, Tim Hortons understands that the City of London is serious about reducing C02 emissions, and wants to help with a positive response to the global warming problem. We understand that you expect companies like ours to do our part as well.

Let me assure you that we take environmental matters seriously at Tim Hortons. Our customers and stakeholders expect us to be good neighbours in the communities in which we operate.

Page 2

We have had discussions with staff and have offered to partner onpublic education and communication. Last year, you may recall we invited automotive expert Doug Bethune to come and present to this committee. He shared his views onhow best can the individual driver, mitigate their auto based GHG contributions. He reminded us that improved daily driving behaviours, together with proper vehicle maintenance, would contribute more to the GHG reduction challenge. Avoiding jack rabbit starts, properly inflated tires, noexcessive braking, driving the speed limit and regular engine maintenance were a few that he mentioned. He also mentioned that fuel efficient engines, cleaner burning fuels, and new technology, like hybrid vehicles, will help mitigate the impacts we are discussing here . . . and produce cleaner air and fewer GHG‘s.

l was happy to see inclusion of the above same points, noted in the staff report section “Background information on idling” Table I. The largest impact on GHG generation with the vehicle in motion is due to: transportation choice, vehicle choice and, to Doug‘s point, driving style.

It is our intent to discuss this topic with CAA London. Who better as a credible and well recognized source, than the CAA to spread this message about best driving practices? I will be personally contacting the local London Chapter, onhow we can work together, in concert with the City of London and provide this important information to the public.

Our experience has taught us that the messages we post onour video menu boards instore and at the drive thru lane, are indeed read by our customers. It has become a very effective way for us to communicate our key messages.

We will also consider developing special message tray liners and posters to promote these better driving tips. We will work together to ensure that our message is consistent and that we run our program at a time when it will complement the public awareness campaign recommended in this report.

As mentioned earlier, Tim Hortons in London serves some 80,000 Londoners every day. We think that a program ofthis nature, in conjunction with the efforts of the City of London, will have an impact onthis issue.

And finally I want to underline that our business really relies on our customers using their time and their vehicles more efficiently. We are always worried about peak demand management. It is in our own best interest to serve as many people as quickly and efficiently as possible . . . both in store and in the drive thru.

Tim Hortons will continue to develop innovative ways to speed up our service and enhance the customer experience. And we will work with cities like London to design and develop new facilities to keep safety, speed of service and efficient access, as workable standards.

We will also continue to support the City and develop programs that support helping the environment. As some of you may be aware, we have partnered with Communities in Bloom. Last year we sponsored the recycling program called Our Heritage/Our Future.

In conjunction with the “Greening of Festivals”, special blue bins featured pictures of artifacts from the Museum of London. These recycling bins were used at all of the events held at Victoria Park.

Page 3

This past April, during Earth Week, we hosted here in London, the screening of the award winning documentary “Garbage! The Revolution starts at home”. lt was well attended by many students from local and area high schools. We filled 3 theatres and Mr. Stanford brought greetings from the Mayor and the City, in support of the film’s 3R’smessage! Also, we have currently underway a special pilot program, where Jim Graham at Try Recycling is testing his ability to commercially compost our coffee cups. We have sent Jim coffee cups we have collected in our Toronto program where we have over 125 locations now, recycling our cups. (see attachment) Jim is hopeful that he can offer us the ongoing service of processing our cups as compost, and thus avoiding landfill. Once we get the green light, we will roll out our next generation, waste diversion system to all of our London stores.

Also, you will see in the near future our in-store program that promotes our message “Go Green Grab a Handle”. . . . Use a ceramic mug while in-store, or any travel mug and save a dime with each fill. (see attachment)

Let me conclude by saying that we applaud the efforts of city staff and the general direction this report has taken. There is a lot of information presented in the report that we are still digesting and considering.

Tim Hortons will continue to work with the city in the various ways I have indicated and will contribute in a meaningful way, but only if we “can make a true difference”. This is our corporate social responsibility approach, that has served us well.


Nick Javor

Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs


cc: Mr. Jay Stanford, Director of Environmental Programs and Solid Waste

Ms. Linda Rowe, Acting City Clerk

Ms. Heather Lysyniski, ETC Secretary

Tim Hortons London Franchisees


“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008

1 Comment

  1. I was on a site that was shut down recently that actual store owners started. That site is now back up at http://www.thetdlgroupltd.com or http://www.timhortonslies.wordpress.com and after reading the new site I for one will never enter a Tim Hortons again. For all you people on here bragging about this business just take a look at what has happened to former and current franchisees. The company must be extremely mad at these people as they purchased the actual name of the company that owns Tim Hortons. Great read for all you people who think you can earn a large profit from this company. Wake up!!! The siblings story is on their along with much more information pertaining to legal rights. Everyone on here thinks that this is the greatest Canadian company, and when someone steps up to tell the truth sometimes it’s hard to believe. Investigate the time and you will see the reselling of stores is the largest part of their business. In the case of this store in Winnipeg there has been 3 operators already in a short peroid of time, not to mention that it was also corporately ran twice on top of that. There are many more stories including the one in Niagra Falls and another in Burlington where the people experienced the same misfortune. This is not isolated and should be brought to the attention of people who think they are so successful!

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