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12-08-31 4:44 PM
Educating and engaging all employees By Scott Anderson
If a company wants to implement a truly successful sustainability program it must educate and engage all of its employees and stakeholders. That was the message delivered to a select g roup of env i ronmenta l c h a mpions a s t he y g at here d for “Building Sustainability 2012,” an e x ten siv e one - d ay s u s t a i n a bi l it y forum held recently at the Toronto Botanical Garden under the theme of “Educate, Engage and Exchange.” The forum was organized by SNCLavalin O& M, the operations and maintenance business unit of SNCLavalin. The business unit has expertise, e x per ience a nd business-spec i f ic knowledge across a range of sectors, including real estate management, transportation and industrial, and defense and logistics. It boasts an impressive list of clients from various sectors, including government and institutional (e.g.: Public Works and Government Ser vices Canada and Alberta Infrastructure), broadcasting and telecommunications (e.g.: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Bell Canada), and insurance and finance (e.g.: Bank of Montreal and Standard Life). The forum brought SNC-Lavalin O& M’s clients, senior management and sustainability industry leaders together to showcase how to effectively manage sustainability throughout an entire organization. Bu i ld ing Susta inabi l it y 2 012 featured guest speakers Jed Goldberg, the President of Earth Day Canada, and Simon MacMahon, the Global Director of Advisor y Ser vices for Susta ina ly t ics. T he event a lso included various breakout sessions hosted by key SNC-Lavalin O& M
personnel that covered a wide range of is sue s , i nc lud i ng Su st a i nable P r o j e c t P r a c t i c e s , Tr a c k i n g G r e e n h o u s e G a s e s , I nt e g r at i n g Innovation, Stakeholder Engagement, and Measuring Sustainability. One-hour moderated sessions also covered a variety of topics, including how smart buildings contribute to sustainabilit y, moderated by Don Barry, Associate Partner at IBM’s Globa l Business Ser v ices; the impor tance of the work force, mo d e r ate d b y G old b e r g ; f ut u r e paybacks for sustainability, moderated by Garrick Ng, the Vice-President of Sustainability for Innovolve Group; and the impor tance of water preservation, moderated by Anthony Wa t a n a b e , I n n o v o l v e G r o u p’s President and CEO.
Considered a leader in the business of sustainability, Watanabe's firm is h e l p i n g t o e s t a b l i s h C a n a d a ’s leadership role for a sustainable water future, both at home and abroad. Va r i o u s i n f o r m a t i o n t a b l e s , showcased by select industr y representatives, were incorporated to educate clients and operations teams of the latest innovative technologies/ products that reduce the env ironmenta l foot pr int of their buildings. Goldberg told the group that the best way to save money, build the corporate brand and connect with its employees in achieving its corporate sustainability objectives, is by actively involving the entire staff. “The most efficient and inexpensive way to accomplish this is to inspire Summer 2012 9
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George Mitsopulos Senior Director Technical Operations
Alina Racoviceanu, P.Eng. Director, Sustainability | Technical Operations
your workforce to be the lead players in establishing and meeting your susta i nabi l it y goa ls: t he goa l of eliminating the waste your operation creates and establishing a culture of conservation within your company,” he said. He further stressed that by actively seeking the input of all employees, t he y c a n be encou ra ged to ta k e ownership of the task, and in turn encourage greater participation among other employees. “What follows is a business that has a workforce that is motivated and excited to make its employer succeed. An excited and motivated employee is more productive and happy, working harder and taking fewer sick days. The company will realize additional revenue that goes directly to the bottom line, while at the same time i mprov i n g it s re l at ion s w it h it s customers and the general public. There really is nothing to lose with this proposition.” MacMahon, on the other hand, sees sustainability going beyond just the company itself. He contends that all stakeholders must be involved in the organization’s sustainabilit y plan. “Sustainability has never been more of an imperative,” he told the participants, noting that investors and companies are realizing that the road to prosperity boils down to env ironmental and social responsibility.
Justin Sharp Senior Vice-President, Project Property & Facility Management
“ Fo r c o mp a n i e s to r e m a i n competitive, they have to understand t hat t hey a re mov ing into a n increasingly complex business environment,” he said. “In order to manage this successfully, companies must understand that they need to have a much deeper relationship with a broader range of stakeholders. They need to be focused, not only on their sha reholder s, but a lso on t hei r employees.” “Companies that f ul ly embrace sustainabilit y have access to new markets. They have opportunities to grow and are better positioned to attract and retain new talent … and have the abilit y to create a more resilient reputation,” MacMahon added. More and more companies are realizing that the strength of their management team is judged by how it can effectively manage its sustainability program, according to MacMahon. “If your management team; your executive team; and your board can manage your sustainability brand and have a strong relationship with your st a k eholder s i n ma n a g i n g you r reputation then that is a strong management team.” However, the challenge for companies might be in measuring the success of their sustainability program, said Mark Osterman, Vice-President Environment and Sustainable Development, at SNCLavalin Group.
Jed Goldberg, president Earth Day Canada
“Some things can be measured, but there are many things that cannot be measured,” Osterman said during a brea k-out session on Measu r ing Sustainability. In order to overcome this obstacle, he said, companies must discern what is relevant to the company and its sustainable program. Overall, the forum was organized as a ‘towards zero waste” event that was bullfrog-powered with 100-per cent carbon-free green power. The guests’ travel greenhouse gas emissions were offset through the purchase of Gold Standard carbon offsets. The company also worked with Toronto Botanical Garden to eliminate the residual waste receptacles and ensure recycling and composting bins were present. Sequel, the event caterer, designed a menu based solely on local, seasonal and/or organic ingredients while eliminating catering waste almost entirely by donating food leftovers to a charitable organization. “Building Sustainability 2012” is part of SNC-Lavalin O&M’s employee and client education and engagement program consisting of a series of formal and informal forums organized throughout the year on a national and regional level. This year, the company held two regional events in Halifax and Montreal and will be organizing t wo more si m i l a r g at her i ng s i n Toronto and Vancouver before the end of the year. BS&S
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