February 04, 2010

Burnaby Board Environmental Sustainability Forum for Business

The Burnaby Board of Trade's inaugural Environmental Sustainability Forum for Business last night was a big success, with a stimulating panel of speakers who provided inspiration and examples to help companies get on the road toward reducing their environmental footprints while boosting their bottom lines.

Held at the magnificent Electronic Arts campus in Burnaby, the panel featured Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation; TJ Galda, chair of the Electronic Arts Green Team; David Moran, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola Canada; and Maureen Cureton, Green Business Manager, Vancity. The speakers and ensuing Q & A were ably coordinated by facilitator Coro Strandberg, principal of Strandberg Consulting and author of the Small and Medium-Sized Business Environmental Roadmap for Industry Canada.

The event appeared to be sold out. The auditorium was packed, and the speakers were well received by a responsive and appreciative audience. The panel was a good mix in terms of age and experience, and represented senior corporate management, staff, and NGOs. The overall message was that the green-blue wave is well underway, and companies of all sizes must understand environmental sustainability, and implement it, to hire and retain excellent staff, and develop and maintain optimal relations with their supply chains and customers.

Advice? While you have to have commitment and support from upper management, imbuing an organization with the values of environmental sustainability requires that everyone gets on board. Simply setting up a sustainability team or section will not change behaviour - it will alleviate personal responsibility as staff think "I don't have to do anything, that other group will take care of things."

An interesting resource that was mentioned was the David Suzuki Ambassadors program that provides workshops for businesses "interested in greening their practices." That was another theme that was repeated by several speakers - there are plenty of NGOs out there that businesses can partner with to work together on environmental goals.

Posted by Paul at February 4, 2010 10:19 AM