The Global Compact Network Canada awarded businesses at Canadian SDG Awards 2016, hosted at the Toronto Stock Exchange, to recognize their efforts in making the business case to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Canada and around the world.
The Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) hosted its first annual Canadian SDG Awards at the Toronto Stock Exchange. The Canadian SDG Awards 2016, which were built on the United Nations Global Compact’s SDG Pioneer campaign served to highlight the business case for advancing action on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event was an opportunity to recognize the outstanding efforts of Canadian businesses who are leading the way in integrating the Global Goals into core business strategies, and helping to put Canada, and the world, on a more sustainable path.
The Award nominees opened the Market by “Ringing the Bell” for the 17 SDGs at the Toronto Stock Exchange. The event was attended by over 100 industry leaders from across Canada. In her opening remarks, Helle Bank Jorgensen, President of GCNC, noted the increasing interest and involvement of Canadian businesses in the SDGs. This was something Jorgensen wanted to contribute to, as she stated:
“We started with a webinar to help Canadian businesses learn about the SDGs, and then launched a survey to understand what Canadian companies already were doing and could be doing. Then we involved the new government… we partnered with Global Affairs Canada… we met with the Honourable Joe Clark and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and more of more of the Canadian companies got, not only interested, but took action… and here we are now… launching SDG awards and starting a new [SDG] working group… that makes action and progress more effective, easier, and fun.”
Based on the progress seen from September 2015 to the Canadian SDG Awards 2016, it is evident Canadian companies are not only engaging with the SDGs, but are making meaningful strides to achieve them by 2030.
It is clear that Canadian companies are dedicated to advancing the SDGs, as over 22 companies were nominated for the Canadian SDG Awards 2016. Nominees included Baker and McKenzie LLP, Barrick Gold, General Motors Canada, LexisNexis, MSCI, Refined Risk, The Social License Consortium, WelTel, and many more. The GCNC received over 1,200 online public votes, which determined the top five recipients of the Awards: Agrium Inc., Engineers Without Borders (Mining Shared Value), SkyPower Global, Teranga Gold Corporation, and Unilever Canada. To know more about why these companies were recognized as leaders, read their SDG stories here.
Before the Awards were announced, a representative from each nominated company presented their business case for advancing the SDGs in approximately five words, as challenged by Jorgensen. For instance, SkyPower Global asserted, “we address poverty through renewable energy,” and Agrium Inc. identified their core focus was on “feeding the world responsibly.” JLL shared the pride they have in their ethics and compliance program, while Baker and McKenzie LLP made the business case to end modern slavery.
All nominees received certificates and the winners also took home beautiful “SDG trees.” The SDG trees were budding maple trees, which symbolize the growth and development of the SDGs over the next 15 years and beyond. Today, we are early in our work, and Canadian businesses, like the maple trees, are establishing their roots in taking action toward the SDGs. This sturdy foundation of dedication and commitment will allow Canadian companies to show strong results and outcomes for our future in years to come.
The GCNC would like to extend special thanks to the TMX for providing a beautiful venue and the chance to “ring the bell” for the SDGs, and to PwC and KPMG, whose support made this event possible and are very much involved in taking action and advancing the SDGs. Above all, the GCNC would like to thank all the nominees and attendees who made the event such a success.
The GCNC is looking forward to the 2017 Canadian SDG Awards and to see the growth of the SDG trees.