According to Changing the System: The 10 Sustainability Challenges for Canadian Business in 2013, leading companies have already secured the easy sustainability wins, such as cutting emissions, going paperless and reducing packaging. To continue to progress their sustainability agendas companies need to tackle system-wide challenges beyond the boundaries of their organizations.
The report draws its insights from a roundtable of leading “green” companies including LoyaltyOne, TD Bank Group, Tim Hortons and Suncor Energy. These firms recognize the need to collaborate to improve their sustainability, according to the Network for Business Sustainability, which is based at the Western University Ivey School of Business.
According to Tim Faveri, director, sustainability and responsibility for Tim Hortons, big brands need to share best practices and solve mutual sustainability problems.
“If other organizations see no value in collaborating – and they’re buying from the same suppliers as us – how can we advance the sustainability agenda?,” he said.
A number of industry initiatives, including the Forest Stewardship Council, the Marine Stewardship Council and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, prove that organizations can team up to address sustainability challenges, the report says.
The report’s findings echo some predictions from World Wildlife Fund UK’s Dax Lovegrove and the Guardian Sustainable Business advisory panel. Lovegrove predicts more collaboration between organizations in 2013, especially on water-related issues.
Companies have already made collaborative efforts to deal with water resource and efficiency challenges. For example, CEOs from The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsico, Levi Strauss & Co., Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever and 40 other international companies agreed during the Rio+ Earth Summit to set targets on their own water efficiency and wastewater management in factories and operations, and called on governments to make global water security a top priority.