Later this fall in October, I will be attending the 9th Annual Canadian Business for Social Responsibility Summit in Toronto.  This event will focus on how Canadian business is perceived globally – how do Canadian initiatives impact our bottom line and world beyond our borders?  Given corporate Canada’s global operations, international supply chains, and culturally diverse workforce in the world, how does Canada’s environmental impact fare globally and what are future directions towards sustainability?

With a leadership panel providing perspectives, inspiration and debate on the global role of corporate Canada, as well as a keynote from distinguished scholar and humanitarian, Steven Lewis, I’m optimistic that this event will reiterate the great work Sustainable Waterloo Region is doing at a local level to promote a community of support amongst organizations, sustainable initiatives, and greenhouse gas reduction.

I’m hoping to be able to better understand how Canada’s social and environmental performance compares globally, and what action is needed to create a sustainable future in our current global economy.  Can global business achieve sustainability – is that even possible?

Corporate social responsibility is not a new concept, having been around for decades, but has its time come (Globe and Mail, May 31, 2011)?  As corporations increase their efforts, or at least their awareness, to reduce their ecological and environmental impacts, engage in social venture partnerships (see SVP Waterloo RegionSVP InternationalSVP Toronto, etc.) and contribute to triple-bottom lines (profits, planet, and people), is there a risk of using “green” simply as a marketing tool?

Paul Klein, founder of Impakt, believes that corporations “have social purpose and to be contributing to social issues in a meaningful way” where companies and stakeholders “have very different expectations of business today” (Globe and Mail, May 31, 2011).

Sustainability relies on the changing behaviours of both people and businesses, and Canada plays a significant role in this shift.  I’m curious to uncover how corporate Canada measures up globally, and how local efforts contribute to this movement.  With local organizations, including City of KitchenerHouse of FriendshipMiovision Technologies Inc., and Energent Incorporated, having recently joined the Regional Carbon Initiative, there is no doubt a genuine appetite to commit to reducing our environmental impact in Waterloo Region at a business level.

How can we continue to inspire this at a global level?


1 thoughts on “Canadian Sustainability: Local Responses, Global Impact?

  1. David Roewade says:

    Look slike a interesting event Cam. I hope in the remainder of this decade, Canada can show the world that it can buck the trend of the richest countries often having the highest ecological/carbon footprints. I’ve seen several international reports showing Canada’s poor environmental performance regarding GHG and I believe that we have too much talent and social responsability as a country to be comfortable with any environmental record that is at or near the bottom of the world’s top performers. Furthermore, I most sincerely believe that the local innovation, drive and collective intelligence within our community should be able to position Waterloo Region as national leaders in demonstarting how the greener, lower carbon economy is the linch pin for long-term, equitable prosperity and a healthy quality of life.

    We must always rember that Sustainability is not a short-term proposition nor something that our current generation can finish in our lifetime, yet it is absolutely critical that we start the process with enough momentum on a grand scale so the next generation who grabs our baton has a fighting chance to build on our temporary accomplishments.

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