Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – Russia, Canada, and Switzerland

Planet BeanAs businesses become more and 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 often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.

In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, 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. Here are some examples from Russia, Canada, and Switzerland.

Natalia Bukhshtaber, Natalia Sharabarina and Nina Koryakina, Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School, Moscow, Russia
UtAir Aviation is a local corporation that supports and carries on a wide range of initiatives that focus on social responsibility and sustainability. They act as a sponsor of various events, provide free air transportation for various charity and volunteering projects, participated in clearing Lake Baikal area, promoted nationwide blood donation initiative. Their example is truly inspiring.

Another example is Megafon, one of the three telecommunication giants in Russia. Back in 2004, they were the first mobile company in Russia to introduce call centres with operators speaking the languages of ethnic minorities. In 2013, thanks to their social investment and a number of sustainability initiatives, they won the People Investor award. One of their most recent initiative is providing the volunteers for Liza Alert, one of the largest volunteer projects, with free mobile services (mobile phone and 3G/4G Internet). Liza Alert is an organisation that specialises in searching for missing people of all ages in various regions of Russia. Having stable mobile connection is of crucial importance for volunteer teams and it was an area that required constant funding. By providing free mobile services to hundreds of volunteers, Megafon ensured more sustainable budget and more reliable connection for Liza Alert operations.

Bruce McAdams, College of Business and Economics, University of Guelph
Neighborhood Group of Restaurants is a regional restaurant company based in Guelph, Ontario. Leaders in the promotion of ‘eating local’, the company has a goal towards moving to a zero carbon footprint. The company uses local building products and craftsmen, employs solar energy and has implemented an aggressive program to limit food waste.

Planet Bean Coffee is a worker co-operative modeled business that has several coffee houses in Guelph, Ontario. It is known as the regions’ fair trade coffee company because of its commitment to farmers rights. Planet Bean serves only certified organic coffee.

Lena Hornlein, PhD Fellow, Oikos, Switzerland
ResponsAbility is an asset manager for investments in developing and emerging economies. The company’s investment vehicles supply debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in sectors with potential to have a positive impact on low-income households and sustainable development: agriculture, education, energy, health and financial market development.

Globalance Bank is a private bank that wants to re-establish the connection of their client’s money with the real economy by disclosing all impacts and risks associated with a given investment – regarding the economy, society, and the environment. Globalance Bank is the pioneer of a new culture and total transparency in banking.


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