For a city with a reputation based on steel-producing and other heavy industry, Hamilton, Ontario would seem at first glance to be an unlikely leader in sustainable practices and reporting. However, Sustainable Hamilton, a not for profit corporation, is inspiring organizations to adopt sustainability as a strategy for greater prosperity – and it is working. Sustainable Hamilton engages local businesses to help them contribute to developing a world-class city with a vibrant, resilient economy, exceptional quality of life and healthy natural environment.

We spoke to Sandi Stride, President/CEO and Founder of Sustainable Hamilton for her insight on how businesses can thrive by including sustainability as part of their business strategy. She gave us five reasons businesses should advocate sustainability:

  1. Cost savings: When an organization tracks spending on resources like water, energy, and supplies, it promotes smarter use—which affects the bottom line. The results can be tremendous, and they include improved financial performance of the businesses involved.

  2. Employee engagement: Creating goals that go beyond profits have been shown to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, while improving employee retention and the ability to attract top-quality people.

  3. Greater innovation: Sustainability efforts help to bring about ideas for innovative processes, products and services. Innovation drives organizational growth.

  4. Improved brand perception: Recognizing, managing and reporting an organization's environmental, economic and social impacts result in improved brand reputation.

  5. Community-wide benefits: Promoting sustainability reduces environmental impacts, improves health, well-being and economic development while encouraging other individuals and organizations to participate.
People are holding businesses more accountable for their impact on society and the environment to the point where sustainability is becoming the next big mega trend.

- Sustainable Hamilton's President/CEO and Founder, Sandi Stride

Sustainable Hamilton success stories

Participating organizations in the Hamilton area have had tremendous success. A company called REfficient has saved 30,000 tons of waste from being added to landfill; Oakrun Farm Bakery is on its way to fulfilling its goal of zero waste; Tekpak has developed Omnidegradable packaging that offers cost-effective solutions that leave no harmful by-products behind. And McMaster Innovation Park, the location of the McMaster-Fraunhofer Project Centre, has received a 2014 Canadian Green Building Council award.

This is impressive from a city that many still refer to as "steel town." Regardless of what type of business you operate or where you choose to locate, embrace sustainability—and your business will flourish.



May 8, 2015

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