suzuki_speaksWant a great example of how to engage your employees in the company’s sustainability efforts? Here you go (including 5 reasons why its such a great example).

by Chris Jarvis, Senior Consultant for Realized Worth, Follow Chris on Twitter @RealizedWorth

I recently came across a fairly cryptic press release (by the way, here’s what I think of press releases), the title of which caught my attention: The Co-operators creates social media-based program to engage staff and agents in sustainability. Thankfully, the title didn’t throw me for long. Barbara Turley-McIntyre is the Director of Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at The Co-Operators and she was able to educate me on the story behind the press release when I interviewed her at the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) conference last month in Toronto.

Here’s the deal:

The Co-Operators just launched a sustainability program utilizing social media. It appears to be very successful so far. Some reasons why:

The ability to share stories online

      – The Co-Operators program utilizes the power of story-telling via an internal social media platform. They need to go further, but this is a good start.


Good training and e-learning

      – Find good and proven learning materials like those offered by the

Natural Step (love these guys)



High profile partnership

      – David Suzuki is a Canadian icon, and his Foundation offers excellent visibility for the program.


A step by step roll out

      – An all at once approach is confusing and overwhelming, so this is a much better approach.


Clear connections to the business and the employees job

    – ‘nough said!

One of the outcomes so far? Based on a survey produced by Hewitt on employee engagement, 94% of Co-operaters participants believe the company is socially and environmentally responsible. Pretty cool.

Here’s a bit of the press release, and a video with more (better) information. Be sure to watch for the editing error at the end of my video interview – kinda funny.

The Co-operators creates social media-based program to engage staff and agents in sustainability

The Co-operators today wrapped up the first part of CSR: Co-operators Sustainability Race, an innovative staff and agent engagement project developed in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation. More than 330 people from offices across Canada registered for the first part, the Transportation Race, which took place over three weeks in October.

CSR consists of a social media platform hosted on a dedicated micro-site. It includes participant profiles and daily tracking of each person’s sustainability-related activities, as well as a vast collection of information on environmental topics. Participants can network with each other to challenge and encourage each other one-on-one, and see how their progress compares with that of their colleagues on a daily basis. (the entire press release is here…yawn).

What do you think is the most effective social media platform?

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Author: cjarvis (6 Articles)