New Report Reveals the Top Sustainability Challenges facing Canadian Businesses in 2014

Feb 6, 2014 10:15 AM ET

LONDON, ON, Feb. 6, 2014 /3BL Media/ – A new report released by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), a research group at the Ivey Business School, and Deloitte points to the complexity of driving sustainable business – and the increasing need to simplify it.

Leading Canadian businesses such as 3M, Target, TD Bank Group, The Home Depot and Suncor Energy were a few of the organizations weighing in on the most pressing social and environmental issues of the coming year. NBS convenes its Leadership Council (LC) at the annual roundtable. Known for their commitment to sustainability, the organizations on the LC systematically identified their most pressing sustainability challenges.

The 2014 report is the 7th of its kind, outlining the top 8 sustainability challenges for Canadian business in the coming year. NBS partnered with Deloitte for a second consecutive year to understand how these challenges fit into Canada’s economy. NBS encourages both business action and relevant academic research on the selected issues.

The top issue facing businesses: how to make the case for long-term decisions in a world dominated by short-term concerns. Ivey Business School Dean Robert Kennedy notes, “Corporate leaders are facing more complex and multi-faceted issues than ever before. By understanding the economic, environmental and social challenges facing business in the 21st century, schools like Ivey can better prepare future managers and CEOs to be effective in this environment.”

Several topics made repeat appearances in this year’s report, but the re-framing of the issues is notable. “These are thorny problems, but shifts in the way our Leadership Council frames these questions
point to hard-won experience and better-nuanced understanding of the issues,” said Tima Bansal, Executive Director of NBS and Canada Research Chair of Business Sustainability at Ivey.

The report’s outcomes point to progress. With the help of academically sound research, leading Canadian businesses are beginning to grasp the complexities of sustainability. The next step will be to simplify the issues and share lessons learned with the rest of Canadian business leaders.

Click here to read the full document.

The Top 8 Canadian Business Sustainability Challenges

  1. How can businesses act for tomorrow today?
  2. How can companies design resilient sustainability programs that can survive changes in leadership¬, economic downturns, political shifts, and other setbacks?
  3. How can companies most effectively engage with activist groups and NGOs on controversial issues?
  4. How can companies combat consumer apathy to build active support for sustainability initiatives?
  5. How can firms create a pragmatic connection between sustainability and innovation?
  6. How can firms improve overall performance by embedding sustainability throughout their value chains?
  7. What are the appropriate metrics for sustainable development in a natural-resource, export-based and growing economy such as Canada’s?
  8. What are the best ways for businesses to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives on sustainability, and include Aboriginal communities in discussion of projects that affect their interests?

Stay tuned for more on these challenges by following @NBSnet.

For more information, please contact Jessica Kilcoyne, Communications Coordinator, NBS at 519-661-2111 x88932 or

About the Network for Business Sustainability
The Network for Business Sustainability is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that connects thousands of researchers and business leaders worldwide, with the goal of creating new, sustainable business models for the 21st century. NBS receives funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ivey Business School at Western University, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and industry partners.

NBS Leadership Council Members
3M, BC Hydro, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, City of Vancouver, The Co-operators Group Limited, Environment Canada, Holcim (Canada) Inc., Home Depot of Canada Inc., Industry Canada, LoyaltyOne, Inc., Pembina Institute, Suncor Energy Inc., Target Canada, TD Bank Group, Teck Resources Limited, Tembec Inc., Tim Hortons Inc., Unilever Canada Inc., Westport Innovations Inc.