Workshop PhotoOn June 20th, Sustainable Kingston’s Green Economy Kingston team presented its first Educational Forum of the 2016 Event Season. We invited three panelists from Kingston organizations to give us their perspectives and approaches on managing corporate sustainability within their workplace and how they engage their employees.

Here are some key takeaways from our panel that included Julie Einarson, James Malcolm, and Jana Mareckova.

Sustainability benefits from a top down approach

James Malcolm, owner of Trailhead, reflected  on the importance of approaching sustainability from a top down approach. He routinely invests the time to talk to his employees about the ‘Big Picture’ that inspires thought and change amongst employees. James also emphasized the importance of engaging employees from the initial on-boarding process. James articulated that he aims to leave his employees with something that resonates with them, even beyond the time they spend at work.

Measuring sustainability performance remains challenging

Jana Mareckova, Manager of Kingston Employment Youth Services (KEYS) discussed the importance of improving and increasing measurable success from undergoing various sustainable activities.  Certain activities that have taken place at KEYS, such as their switch to printing double-sided copies, are much easier to quantify than other activities they have adopted, like the use of their Corporate Bike or their addition of bike parking. In any case, she believes that having measurable results can drive employee performance and can inspire positivity and encourage wellness throughout the workplace.

Should sustainability be a corporate value or a corporate initiative?

One of our final topics discussed was whether sustainability should be embedded in corporate values or be considered a corporate initiative.  Julie Einarson, Director of Culture & Communications from Benefits By Design, responded, “sustainability is like what flour is to a cake, you can’t replace it and it cannot exist without it.” The concept of sustainability may not necessarily be a part of an organization’s core values – it is a concept that should be practised regardless of what the corporate mandate may be,  and should go beyond an organization’s goals.

We want to thank all of our fantastic panelists for participating at our event! Stay tuned for the next event of the 2016 Green Economy Kingston Event Season.