Sustainability for a Stronger Business:
Spotlight on the Burnaby Board of Trade
Once limited to a feel-good PR initiative slotted into the corporate portfolio, sustainability increasingly is seen by the world’s leading companies as an imperative—not only good for the planet, but directly equated with business value. Increasingly, businesses are making strategic decisions around the type and extent of their corporate sustainability policies. This comes as individuals, communities and governments are all prioritising environmental sustainability more and more as an essential aspect of any corporate or social policy. Organisations that have been proactive are already reaping significant benefits from their forward-looking practices.
Embracing environmentally sustainable business practices can have a number of significant benefits. Sustainable businesses are often considered the most innovative because they are constantly reviewing processes to find new, more effective solutions. Eco-conscious businesses also generally have employees who are more invested in the business culture, which provides more fulfilling jobs and helps the organization attract and retain key talent. A strong focus on sustainability also builds a culture of accountability throughout the organisation.
Furthermore, in today’s culture of heightened social awareness, consumer behaviour has increasingly shifted to shopping for companies and brands over products. As awareness and activism around environmental concerns increases, businesses that are proactive in building sustainable practices are the most likely to find themselves succeeding. In short, sustainability in business is no longer an option – it has become a requirement.
Still, the drive towards true sustainability in business requires an integrated strategy in which environmental responsibility is wholly embedded within a company’s structure and culture – a concept the Burnaby Board of Trade has a firm grasp on. Recognized as the economic development arm of the City of Burnaby, the Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) is the city’s pre-eminent member based business association. The BBOT promotes the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental sustainability. In their commitment to helping organizations throughout the Canadian business community become more sustainable in their practices and initiatives, the BBOT created the Pledge for a Sustainable Community, a program designed to help businesses get started on their sustainability journey.
The Pledge for a Sustainable Community has been so well received globally, the BBOT were finalists in the category of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the 2015 World Chambers Competition, the only global awards programme to recognise the most innovative projects undertaken by chambers of commerce and industry from around the world.
About the Pledge for a Sustainable Community
The Pledge for A Sustainable Community is a comprehensive online resource with the goal of helping businesses large and small reduce their environmental footprint while at the same time promoting their company and even saving money. Program participants have access to lots of valuable resources, tips and case studies to help them create a more sustainable workplace. Any business or organization large or small can take the Pledge regardless of where they are located and it’s absolutely free! Businesses taking the Pledge have the opportunity to share their successes, serve as role models, and pledge to take on new challenges. Once registered as a Pledge member, among other incentives businesses will be featured and recognized on BBOT channels, at events, and in the membership directory. Organizations who have taken the Pledge can be found in the BBOT’s Pledge directory.
And what has been the result? BBOT has a long list of success stories from organizations who have taken the Pledge and are now recognized sustainability champions. Interested in learning more about how to take the Pledge? We thought you might be! Find the Pledge for A Sustainable Community at bbotpledge.ca, where you will also be reminded “Sustainability in the workplace is a group effort! Don’t forget to engage your co-workers and employees, and share your efforts with customers, suppliers, and across your business network!”
Whether you decide to take the Pledge, or design and implement your own sustainability strategies, the bottom line is that in today's increasingly competitive landscape, more and more companies are realizing that being sustainable is more than an environmental gesture—it makes long-term economic sense.