Recently voted our most trusted Canadian, David Suzuki is an institution in Canada. I remember growing up watching The Nature of Things and my interest in science and the environment being kindled at a young age.
That trust has helped the David Suzuki Foundation become a leading research and policy group on issues such as Climate Change, Human Health and our Oceans. A challenge, like with most non-profit organizations, has been how to translate that trust and brand to action. A few years ago, the Foundation launched the Nature Challenge program. This was a great way for ordinary Canadians to learn more about how to become more environmentally conscious through a series of concrete and practical steps.
After the success of this program, DSF launched the Nature Challenge at Work program to help businesses take the same kind of action. The Foundation quickly realized that businesses would need help with this and rather than doing this purely internally, they reached out to a network of volunteers. I was invited to be one of the first Ambassadors in Vancouver – part of a group of 14. Our role is to go to local businesses and facilitate a two-hour workshop on how to green your business.
One of the reasons I’m excited about the program is that the workshop is very flexible and driven by employees. What a “green business” looks like in a manufacturing plant versus a software company versus a retail bank is very different. The @ Work program is designed to be flexible and we get employees to look at categories like energy, waste, water, transportation and creating a healthy workplace to come up with a shortlist of actions to take and build a committed team of employees to get things done.
I’m very excited to be part of the program and proud to be helping businesses in this way. The program has generated a lot of interest so far and the 14 Ambassadors are busy in Vancouver. We have also trained another 10 Ambassadors in Toronto and they are very keen to engage with local businesses.
The Green Café at the SAP Vancouver offices I wrote about a couple of weeks ago is designed to bring these principles to a broader group of companies, make connections and share best practices amongst businesses trying to make changes.
To request an Ambassador to come to your workplace (for free!), visit the David Suzuki Ambassador page. And make sure to download the @ Work toolkit (also for free!) for lots of great tips and activities to build the business case for “green”, engage your staff and take action to make a more sustainable business.