Consider the millions of people who make decisions at work every day. Now imagine how the world would change if each one of those decisions took the future of our planet into account.
Miratel Solutions Inc., R.A. Malatest & Associates and Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre walk away from the Change the Equation sustainability reporting contest with greener businesses and great prizes!
As part of the Living Planet @ Work program championed by HP, we challenged participating businesses to take the next step: enter the Change the Equation competition and write their company’s very first sustainability report.
Recognizing the benefits of making business decisions with the environment in mind, Miratel Solutions, R.A. Malatest & Associates and Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre rose to the occasion and completed their first sustainability report with the help of free online tools and consulting support from students from the University of Waterloo’s Environmental & Business program.
The reports were judged by Professor Dirk Matten, professor at the top-ranked Schulich School of Business at York University and the HP Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility.
The grand prize award went to [WWCCAC] Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre.
Highlights from the sustainability reports include:
Miratel Solutions Inc. is a leading supplier of fundraising services designed specifically with the needs of nonprofit organizations in mind. Since its inception in 2000, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives have always been a part of how Miratel does business. For instance, one of the company’s Core Values has always been a ‘triple bottom line,’ which supports its business model of supporting global sustainability. The Living Planet @ Work program and the Change the Equation contest helped Miratel formalize their CSR initiatives through the process of creating their very first sustainability report. The process helped Miratel realize that all of their environmental efforts – which they once considered small in comparison to larger organizations – add up to make a big impact.
“It’s important for other businesses to know that sustainability initiatives can be as simple as changing your light bulbs,” said Angela Puzzolanti, managing partner, Miratel Solutions Inc. “Every effort counts.”
Working with the students from the University of Waterloo to develop their sustainability report was a great opportunity for Miratel. “Our student contact came to the table just like a seasoned professional would,” added Ms. Puzzolanti. “Together, we were able to quantify results for our existing environmental initiatives – some of which actually exceeded our expectations – as well as provide awareness for areas we could improve on.”
But creating a benchmark for where an organization is in terms of environmental sustainability and setting goals for future performance is what sustainability reporting is all about. “Business owners tend be self-conscious when it comes to sharing their flaws, but we knew the report would provide us with the opportunity to benchmark our progress and outline goals for the next reporting period.”
R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. (Malatest) is one of Canada’s largest independently owned and operated research and evaluation firms. The company is a full-service market research firm that uses extensive quantitative and qualitative capabilities to ensure clients research objectives are met. It was through working with clients on energy consumption reviews that Malatest first learned about the Living Planet @ Work program and subsequently, the Change the Equation competition.
“We wanted to participate in both the Living Planet @ Work program and Change the Equation competition to ensure our organization was seen as a participant and leader in reducing energy consumption,” said Tara Judge, manager of corporate operations, R.A. Malatest & Associates. “The key driver behind creating our first sustainability report was that we wanted to see what our office could do to affect the environment as a whole. We really took on the challenge from a social desire to prove that we could help make a difference.”
Malatest’s sustainability reporting initiative was led by the company’s Toronto office. However, the organization’s green team, which took on the project, looked to the company’s regional offices, to pool ideas and leverage existing environmental programs. Malatest now plans implement the procedures outlined within their sustainability report across their offices nation-wide.
As many green advocates find, the positive results of being more environmentally conscious go beyond the office.
“One of the biggest benefits of the program has been the awareness amongst our employees how they can reduce the consumption of resources in their personal lives as well,” said Ms. Judge.
“Another benefit has been our ability to affect other stakeholders. We have also been able to affect client and supplier sustainability from our knowledge gained from participating in the program,” added Jordan Lamb, Research Analyst, R.A Malatest & Associates.
The Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre (WWCCAC) is one of 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) across Ontario. The centres act as central points of access and referral for local community-based health services, including home care services, long-term care home placement and community resource referral and information.
Laura Vaughan, Human Resources Coordinator, Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre, found the WWF Living Planet @ Work Program while doing her own research into how the organization can become more proactive in their sustainable efforts. In their commitment to good governance and transparency, the WWCCAC saw sharing information about their environmental sustainability priories, goals, initiatives and performance as an effective way to be more accountable.
“After becoming a WWF Living Planet @ Work member and using so many of the great online resources the program had to offer and liaising with WWF representatives, we decided to enter the Change the Equation contest,” said Ms. Vaughan.
“Our experience writing the report was positive. We were fortunate to work with a student from the University of Waterloo’s Environment & Business program to help develop and write the report. Our biggest challenge when writing the report was trying to identify measurable benchmarks for certain initiatives and how to accurately report on such programs on an ongoing basis. The support and resources from our student consultant and the WWF helped us overcome those challenges.”
Within its first year, the organization has made great strides toward being more sustainable.
“We have met all of our initiatives that were set out in our 2012 Action Plan. For example, our initiative ‘Think Global, Eat Local’ resulted in a soup lunch where over 50 per cent of our staff attended and the money raised was donated to the WWF and to fund future Green Team Committee Initiatives.”
Business success is typically measured on financial performance alone. However there are many other areas including environmental performance that businesses need to measure to help interpret the total impact of their organization.
Reporting on your commitments to environmentally sound practices as well as company-wide environmental sustainability can bring many benefits to your business including:
If you are interested in creating your company’s very own sustainability report to help drive business and reduce environmental impact, resources like HP’s sustainability reporting tool are available to help you get started.