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“It was through a minority perspective that the Emterra Group was born:” Emmie Leung


Inclusion and Diversity are core values at Emterra Group. As a BIPOC female-owned and operated business, we are proud of our company’s origin story and Emterra Group’s ongoing commitment to working with forward-thinking minority and Aboriginal suppliers, partners, and customers. The company started recycling before the practise of recycling started in Canada. It began with an idea and a will to survive.  

In the mid-1970s, as a young immigrant woman, I was combing through the Winnipeg neighbourhood in search of job and noticed discarded paper and cardboard piles in back alleys. I immediately recognized an opportunity from that pile of discarded waste. Hailing from a country with huge population, recycling was mandatory to maintain the environmental health. Why not put the same idea to use here? 

It was through a minority perspective that the Emterra Group was born. It all started with one woman, an unyielding will, and one truck. Today, with 1,100+ employees and 600+ trucks, the company remains a trailblazer in the Canadian and Michigan recycling industries. That kind of growth does not happen overnight, and it could not have happened without the support and innovative thinking of our employees, partners, and suppliers.  

At Emterra, we recognize and leverage different views to uncover unique opportunities. “A distinct perspective is how this company started, and it’s what is going to continue to grow our company and help us adapt and be agile in a rapidly changing business environment and society. Creating diverse supply chains is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. 

I had a vision – to work hard every day to make my family’s life better. And I believed that it is important to continue creating economic opportunities for others who built their business with a similar goal.  

Our partners and customers who have entrusted Emterra Group with their circular economy, waste management, and compliance needs have been critical to our success. In the next 12 months, the business will be inviting vendors entering our procurement processes to voluntarily self-identify their company’s ownership ancestry, gender identity and sexual orientation. Working with a network of self-identified suppliers will allow us to positively change the waste management and recycling industry.  

Through choosing minority partners, we form resilient supply chains and enhance the social impact these purchasing decisions make. We believe every company can be a catalyst for change by expediting the creation of sustainable, equitable, and accessible supply chains.

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