Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation, and an Important Role for CBSR
July 26, 2021
I want to open this month’s CBSR newsletter with an acknowledgement about the devastating discovery of unmarked burial ground for children at the Kamloops former residential school. This has been a very difficult time which adds weight to the known lasting impact for those directly affected by residential schools in Canada. This reality is being presented front and centre to many Canadian’s who have been unaware of the human cost that Canada’s history has had, and continues to have, on Indigenous peoples.
The death of children at any time has universal resonance with humans. That said, more resonance needs to take place if we are going to support reconciliation in Canada. For CBSR this means more time listening, learning, reflecting and then developing more thinking, platforms, interactions and tools to support businesses in Canada to understand the truth and to see themselves as part of the solution in supporting the healing that needs to take place in the country.
In a recent conversation with a new friend and board member, Annie Korver, she reminded me that “there can be no reconciliation without truth”. For me, and our organization that is behind CBSR, we are committed to being active participants in truth, reconciliation and justice. We are also very proud that one of our organization’s founders has gone on to create Indigenous Clean Energy, a platform for empowering Indigenous communities through renewable energy development and important initiatives like ‘Bringing it Home’ to address the housing crisis in communities.
For me personally, I had the benefit of doing university at two schools that many decades ago embraced Indigenous learning in Canada, first at Trent University and then at the University of Northern British Columbia. Trent was the first university in Canada, and only the second in North America, to establish an academic department dedicated to the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in its programs and it had a profound impact on me. After that, I had the fortune while at the David Suzuki Foundation to support work with the Musqueam people on preserving the last wild salmon stream in Vancouver. That experience helped me create some very positive relationships, and quite frankly broke down a lot of prejudices I had. Stereotypes were demystified, and I felt freer, and much richer. Now as a father, I have tried to make sure my children have awareness on the truth, the call to reconciliation and understand the importance of it to their future. I have taken them both separately through the Kairos Blanket Exercise and have been deeply impacted by the experience and its teachings.
The recent news from the former residential school shocked me, but didn’t surprise me, given what I knew about the horrors of this reality in our country. I’ll never forget the lesson of the blanket exercise, where even if the children at the schools survived the experience, they often found returning to their communities very difficult and were left with no where to turn. What a terrible life sentence. I hope this Kamloops discovery motivates Canadians to listen, truly listen, to Indigenous stories – stories of the horrific experiences and the lasting impacts today. I believe the true potential for our country can only be achieved if we understand truth, participate in reconciliation, and seek justice for Indigenous peoples. “Reconciliation must create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in social, health and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians” (TRC Final Report, What We Have Learned).
For CBSR, the board is seeking out direction on how to participate in active listening and learning to support acts of reconciliation amongst Canadian business. Diversity of views and backgrounds is a priority to have on the board and this will help when we set out our initiatives and programming. For the business that manages CBSR (the GLOBE and Delphi constellation) we have a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (“JEDI”) process underway, being helped by third party experts to identify areas where we can be better as it relates to critical social issues like Indigenous reconciliation. Given we are a purpose led organization, with ‘socially just’ in our vision, we are looking for more ways to be true to that north star that guides us.
For CBSR’s work, we want to increase the number of businesses in Canada where Indigenous reconciliation is an imperative, from a moral and a business point of view. This will take many steps and paths, and we are motivated by the need for business to be part of the solution to this critical priority for the future of the country. We also commit to actively seek out Indigenous led businesses for involvement in CBSR. Lastly, we encourage all members of CBSR, and its broader network to reach out with examples of steps they are taking, or ideas for strong paths to walk down, that help business engage on reconciliation. Beyond making land acknowledgements, we need to make a statement regarding what measures we are taking to build a more socially just future for Indigenous communities in Canada. Pointing business to Call to Action #92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action Report is a place to start http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf.
As someone who’s life has been enriched by my interactions and collaborations with Indigenous peoples and communities, I desperately hope the rest of the non-indigenous community in Canada can be open and interested to broaden what they see as essential to Canada’s future.
Announcing a Call for Expressions of Interest in the Low Carbon Business Action Initiative
July 5, 2021
The race to net zero is on! Are you looking for out-of-the-box low-carbon and circular-economy solutions to support your emission reduction targets? If the answer is yes, we’d like to invite you to take part in a custom challenge-pitch process hosted by the Low Carbon Business Action (LCBA) initiative, funded by the European Union.
Defining pathways to achieve your emission reduction target — as well as researching, identifying and connecting with cleantech suppliers — can be time and resource-intensive. This project offers a unique opportunity for Canadian corporations to leverage the expertise of some of North America’s most well-known sustainability and cleantech experts – at no cost. As part of the free package, you will also receive:
- Complimentary innovation challenge definition and promotion: We would work with you to understand your pain points and solution needs and distill them into a specific innovation challenge statement. We would then promote the challenge to proven European solution providers.
- Complimentary identification of European SMEs & technologies relevant to your interests: Following your review and selection, we would arrange for up to four companies to present on and answer questions about their solutions.
- Complimentary brand visibility: Your challenge will be promoted on the lcbacanada.com website and through the EU network partners, offering strong complimentary brand visibility
- Complimentary participation in high-profile Canadian events: Pitches take place in the context of events such as GLOBE FORUM, the World Circular Economy Forum and other prominent industry events designed to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon and circular economy. Your participation in the LCBA initiative provides you complimentary participation.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by participating.
- We will need a time commitment of between a ½ day to 3 business days to:
- Support the definition of the innovation challenge statement
- Review the applications received (usually up to 10) and select the top solution providers of interest (up to 4)
- Participate in a 1hr public pitch event in September
- Meet one-on-one with EU SMEs of interest
- Provide an update to the LCBA project team
Eligible Challenge topics are broad and can cover a wide variety of areas. Examples include, but are certainly not limited to: Energy efficiency, alternative energy, emission monitoring, CCUS, electrification, renewable/compostable packaging
Leading Sustainability Association Launches Canada’s First-ever Net-zero Leaderboard
June 18, 2021
For Immediate Release
OTTAWA, June 18, 2021 – Today, CBSR launched Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard, which provides information on climate change commitments made by Canadian companies. Business leadership is essential if Canada is going to meet its legislated net-zero goals by 2050. By providing a one-stop-shop for information on climate targets, the leaderboard will inspire companies to join the race to net zero. It will also kickstart an important conversation about closing the gap between ambition and action, and about standardizing language for climate targets.
Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard will be publicly accessible and allow people to search across a number of criteria, including:
- Targets and timeframes
- Emission scopes included in the target, i.e., Scope 1, 2 and/or 3
- Interim targets
- Whether the goal is aligned with the Science Based Targets initiative
- Whether the company intends to use offsets to meet its target
CBSR and Delphi experts will regularly update Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard so that it is as comprehensive as possible. As scrutiny around what constitutes a robust net-zero target continues to increase, CBSR will also look to expand the scope of information that is being tracked.
Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard is part of a suite of tools, events and services that CBSR and its sister organizations are providing to increase ambition on the road to net zero by 2050. These include GLOBE’s Destination Net Zero-themed event series, culminating in GLOBE Forum in Vancouver in February 2022; two CBSR working groups, one focused on developing targets and the other on achieving them; Delphi’s advisory services on developing, executing and communicating rigorous net-zero strategies; and Leading Change Canada’s curated conversations between young sustainability leaders and executives.
“Canadian business leadership on reducing emissions will help us transform our economy and ensure Canada remains competitive on the global stage. Setting a target is a critical step on the road to net zero, and setting up a one-stop-shop for information will showcase and accelerate Canadian leadership. We’re looking forward to working with companies from across Canada to close the gap between ambition and action.”
Ted Ferguson, Managing Director, CBSR, and Chief Sustainability Officer for the group of organizations that includes CBSR, The Delphi Group, GLOBE Series, and Leading Change Canada
“As the world’s first major carbon-neutral food company, we believe we can go further, faster together. Maple Leaf Foods is delighted to support Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard as it is a central platform for advancing important conversations about Canadian corporate climate ambition and action.”
Tim Faveri, Vice President, Sustainability & Shared Value, Maple Leaf Foods
“As a leading Canadian business in responding to climate change, Bell welcomes the launch of Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard and the opportunity to engage other Canadian companies on the road to net zero. We are proud to be the first communications company in North America to have its energy management system certified to the ISO 50001 standard. Building on that foundation, we are now committed to set a SBTi approved absolute greenhouse gas reduction goal in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C aim by 2030, with an interim target to be carbon neutral for our operations starting in 2025. As we work toward achieving our targets, Canada’s Net-zero Leaderboard will be an essential engagement tool for collective progress.”
Marc Duchesne, Vice President, Corporate Security & Responsibility, Bell
“At Enbridge, we’re committed to delivering the energy mix of today and tomorrow, building a bridge to our energy future as we focus on achieving company-wide net-zero emissions by 2050. Setting GHG emissions targets and investing in innovation across the entire energy system will help us contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future. We believe the Net-zero Leaderboard is a critical platform for sharing key information on these targets across sectors.”
Pete Sheffield, Enbridge’s Chief Sustainability Officer
About our group of organizations
CBSR is an independent not-for-profit professional association that connects and empowers Canadian companies to advance social and environmental leadership. CBSR is part of a group of organizations that includes GLOBE Series, The Delphi Group, and Leading Change Canada. Together, we work towards a common purpose: to achieve a sustainable, prosperous and socially just future in a generation. We provide services and platforms that empower business, government and youth to improve performance while accelerating the clean economy.
Alex Carr | Vice President, Marketing and Communications