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Our sustainability mission: it’s personal


Celebrated every year on April 22, this year’s Earth Day reminds us that we are in the midst of a critical decade.

“How we live and the decisions we make over the next five years, from 2015 to 2020, will have a dramatic impact on our future,” says Deb Doncaster, President of @EarthDayCanada.

We must all unite to make significant changes in the way we view and interact with our environment, reducing global carbon emissions in this timeframe. We all have a role to play – personally, and within our organizations.

At TELUS, sustainability is simply the way we do business, each and every day.

Earlier today, this work was honoured by Canada’s Top 100 Employers as they named TELUS one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.

Canada’s Greenest Employers recognizes companies that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness within their organizations. We are proud to be receiving this recognition for the fourth consecutive year and applaud the other forward-thinking businesses that are trying to make a positive impact. As business leaders, we must work together to meet the environmental crises we face with equal force, continuing to build on our successes.

This is what I’ve learned from organizations worldwide who have implemented innovative environmental and sustainability initiatives:

  1. Start from within

Earth Day Canada is one example of an organization that works strategically with corporate partners to create and deliver customized programs that facilitate behaviour change amongst employees, while helping achieve their sustainability goals. These types of programs are important as they create feelings of shared ownership on achieving common sustainability goals with the benefits of strengthening employee engagement.

This is one of the many reasons that earlier this year we launched a Sustainability Council focused on driving our sustainability vision. The council is made up of a diverse group of 15 employee volunteers, each one dedicating five to 10 per cent of their paid working time to help integrate sustainability considerations across the company as well as act as an environmental task force for employee education and awareness.

  1. Green our work spaces and make it fun!

TD Bank’s web-based sustainability performance management tool, TD green nation, allows employees to create their own profile where they can define, pledge and accomplish green acts. Visual dashboards let branches compare their performance.

At TELUS, we are piloting a content gamification app that allows employees to engage with sustainability-focused content to further their education on environmental matters. This app also allows the team to tell us what they would like to see implemented at TELUS to advance our sustainability vision.

  1. Take time to reflect

At Patagonia, The Responsible Economy – You are part of it is a collection of essays from Yvon Chouinard (founder and owner), Rick Ridgeway and Bob Massie that explore what a more responsible economy might look like, one that allows communities to flourish, creates meaningful work, and takes from nature only what it can replenish. Admittedly they don’t have all the answers but they are inviting their stakeholders (customers, employees etc.) to join them in seeking examples and solutions for a new responsible economy.

If you have more examples of what other companies are doing we’d love for you to share them in the comments above. All efforts, both big and small, collectively make a big difference for our planet. We also want to hear some of the ways our community of followers were making sustainability personal. Here are a few of the great #actsofgreen you shared with us on Twitter:

 

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Keep sharing your ideas and green achievements with us by tweeting @TELUS using #actsofgreen – we’d love to read more of your ideas!

As we celebrate Earth Day, I’m happy to see our sustainability mission becoming personal so together we can do even more for our planet.