As businesses become more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they repeatedly hear the same examples from the same international companies.
In an attempt to share some new examples of good practise, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Below are some examples from Canada, more specifically across British Columbia.
Rachel Goldsworthy,Coordinator, Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation, Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Canada
Maple Leaf Adventures is a small ecotourism business that takes visitors from around the world into wilderness areas of Canada’s West Coast to experience the region’s rich natural and cultural history. Along with a host of other responsible-tourism attributes, Maple Leaf has respectful longstanding agreements with local First Nations that provide access and guides to their traditional territories. One of the biggest impacts of Maple Leaf tours, though, is that they give passengers a first-hand look, smell, and taste of healthy wilderness, and they invariably disembark with a zeal to protect it.
Finest at Sea is a completely integrated seafood business that owns the fishing boats, the licenses, the processing plants, retail shops and even some food service outlets. All of its products, which are sold to local and global markets, are sustainably harvested. As well, the owners believe in a sustainable workforce so they train staff to work in a variety of roles; nobody gets stuck at a filleting table all day every day, and that makes for happier, healthier employees as well as a resilient business.
Mark Giltrow, Program Head Sustainable Business Leadership Programme, British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Vancity with nearly 500 000 members is a credit union serving the metro Vancouver area. Among it’s many sustainable initiatives it has undertaken the B-hive. The B-hive allows Vancity to target the $100 million dollars a year procurement it spends on goods and services to member businesses that provide sustainable social or environmental impact to the community. By directing money to their business members as well as showcasing specific positive impacts that some of their business are engaging in, the B-Hive helps ensure the alignment of Vancity values and circulates cash flow among its members.
Stephanie Bertels, Assistant Professor, Simon Frasier University Beedle School of Business, Canada
Potluck Café Society provides healthy meals and creates jobs for people with barriers to employment living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Its highly successful catering business supports its community programs which have become a beacon for those living in the DTES. Shift Urban Cargo Delivery is Canada’s first trike delivery service. It operates as a co-op to deliver products such as office supplies, food, clothing, and even recycling to business throughout Vancouver, saving on fuel costs and GHG emissions. Shift is a participating organization in Radius, a social innovation lab and venture incubator based at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Inner City Farms revives neglected garden space and converts lawns into beautiful and productive urban farms throughout the city of Vancouver. In 2013, it grew food for over 50 families and 6 restaurants through its Community Supported Agriculture program.
– What are your favorite local sustainable businesses? Share them in the comments area below. –