From: Dave Sherman, Blu Skye , Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published March 1, 2010 05:06 AM

Olympics Create a Green Business Tipping Point in Canada

On the eve of the Winter Olympics, over 300 CEOs and senior executives of Canadian businesses met in Vancouver to accelerate the implementation of sustainable business practices. The highly interactive day not only gave the executives an opportunity to explore new opportunities for collaboration, but may yet prove to have been a green business tipping point in Canada.

David Cheesewright, Walmart Canada’s CEO and the host of the event, kicked off the day by challenging the delegates to use the summit as a vehicle to "build a bigger team" – to share lessons learned and best practices that will benefit all businesses, large and small. He encouraged the delegates to create stretch goals and foster experimentation in their organizations, with the understanding that the road to sustainability is full of unknowns.


David Suzuki put the present moment in context for the Summit participants: our grandparent’s and parent’s generations did not understand that they were destroying the very systems that support our lives but, us–we are the first generation that does understand. How can we face our children and grandchildren and say that we knew and we did nothing? With that premise, summit participants spent the day thinking and talking not only about what meaningful action would look like but how they might work together to make it happen.

Participants were primed for the afternoon collaborative working session through the sharing of highpoint stories in their own experiences and by a lively panel discussion where the leaders of Mountain Equipment Coop, SC Johnson Canada, Heinz Canada, Walmart Canada and a senior executive of Maple Leaf shared case studies of how they have simultaneously addressed sustainability challenges and created business value. Panelists also discussed how leadership, collaboration and innovation were fundamental to enabling Canadian businesses to make real progress against the challenges that Suzuki so eloquently delineated. The key, they agreed, will be to make addressing sustainability challenges core to the business rather than a profit-draining sideline.

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