New awards honour great work in CSR

Green Living lauds corporate Canada's responsible citizens

Rebecca Harris October 27, 2011

Green Living lauds corporate Canada’s responsible citizens

A director at a paper and plastics company who started an online boutique selling innovative recycled products, a loyalty company VP who led the opening of a call centre with the largest solar rooftop panel project in the country, and a construction industry exec who partnered with an environmental group to raise standards for the extraction of stone, sand and gravel.

These were among the 20 winners announced Wednesday night in Toronto at Green Living Enterprises’ inaugural Excellence in Corporate Responsibility Awards (ECR).

The awards celebrate corporate Canadians for outstanding work in creating sustainable and ethical practices within their businesses.

While other awards shows honour companies for their CSR programs, “no one was talking about the people behind the programs,” says Laurie Simmonds, president and CEO of Green Living Enterprises, a green marketing, custom publishing and event company in Toronto.

“It’s all driven internally through staff who are extremely passionate about these issues, [who often have] very little budget… We felt there should be a program that puts a face and a name to the people who are behind [these programs].”

Green Living partnered with a number of CSR experts to create the awards including Toby Heaps of Corporate Knights, sustainability expert Bob Willard, and Bob Mann of research firm Janti-Sustainalytics, among others.

Professionals from small, medium and large corporations in a range of industries were eligible to apply. Each category included these sub-categories: a team of up to eight people, a senior corporate individual, and a staff member below VP level. Judging was based on leadership and innovation, performance and results, and process.

The winners of the 2011 ECR Awards are:

Large Business: Resources: Oil, Gas, Forestry and Mining

Large Business: Resources: Manufacturers

Large Business: Financial Services, Insurance and Professional Services

Large Business: Retail, Packaged Goods, Consumer Brands

Large Business: Information, Communications, Technology

Medium Business

Small Business

Industry Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognized the late Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, who spearheaded “Mission Zero,” his company’s commitment to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by 2020.

“Consumers have become very active about pushing companies to perform and be responsible and we’ve seen companies respond with great enthusiasm because they have learned that it is a win-win,” says Simmonds. “When you run your company more sustainably, there’s huge operational savings around that, when you’re reducing your paper, energy and water use.”