We founded TheChange to help people discover companies committed to sustainability in a relevant and engaging way. We’re on a mission to advance the sustainability movement on a city-by-city basis across North America and our latest project, ethicalDeal, will lead the way!

Introducing ethicalDeal!

Part green city guide, part green deal site, part green action network … ethicaldeal helps you discover the best green stuff to do, see and buy in your city, at exclusive discounts, through the power of group buying!

ethicalDeal gives people the chance, as well as the reason to go green. It provides newcomers an easy way to get introduced to a green lifestyle and the already-converted an excuse to try something new!

How it works:

1. Each day we feature one way that you can go green at an unbeatable price.

2. You only get the deal if enough people join that day… so invite your friends!

3. Check back the next day for another awesome ethicalDeal!

Every one of our ethicalDeals meets at least one of these criteria:

• Eco-friendly product/service

• Socially responsible product/service

• Sustainable business practices

You can learn more about each of the organizations featured on ethicalDeal by following their sustainability journey on TheChange!

We’ll launch our first deal when we have enough subscribers to get you 50-90% off the best green stuff to do, see and buy in your city.

Subscribe now to enter to win a $500 green shopping spree on ethicalDeal! We’ll launch ethicalDeal in the city that gets the most subscribers – we go where we’re wanted – so spread the word via twitter and facebook!

Want your business featured on ethicaldeal? Learn more here.

Thanks for joining in TheChange!

Visit http://www.ethicaldeal.com/ to learn more.

As published on: http://seechangemagazine.com

I’m thrilled to have launched TheChange and to see my vision of advancing the sustainability movement locally coming to life with the help of a great team and community support. One-month post launch, I thought I’d take the time to reflect on my journey to date.

I grew up on the West Coast of BC and was raised to be environmentally conscious and socially active. I’ve always been interested in getting involved with organizations that are built to make the world better. They are why I wake up in the morning, and the inspiration for the kind of company I hope to create.

In late 2007, I came up with the concept for an online platform that connects people with organizations that align with their values. It started as an extension of my personal interests, and then became a business opportunity when I noticed the demand increasing for corporate responsibility, green jobs and eco-friendly products/services.

I didn’t have a technical background, but I saw the web as the perfect medium to get people informed and inspired to participate in the green economy. Ultimately, I saw the web as a tool to power offline action.

With this business concept in mind, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program with a specialization in Entrepreneurship at Royal Roads University. The program allowed me to work on a business plan and participate in a start-up incubator. I graduated top of class and with $25,000 in awards. I used this money to incorporate Ethico Solutions Inc. in the fall of 2008.

I spent the next year researching, networking and understanding my customer’s needs. I managed the administration and marketing for the Victoria Values-Based Business Network and Organic Islands, Canada’s largest outdoor green expo. I attended the Social Venture Institute and Web of Change Conference. These experiences gave me to the opportunity to build relationships with many small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) in the local sustainability space.

I learned that SME’s primary challenges were in marketing, sales and recruitment. After hearing their stories and learning how they put sustainability into practice, I was always inspired to support them as a customer, employee or volunteer. So their story – what inspired them to go green and their sustainability initiatives, as they related to the environment, community and employees – became the focus of how I would profile these businesses online. I recruited a technical partner in the Fall of 2009 and for the next six months we worked together, along with designers, branding and legal professionals to release the first version of the platform known as TheChange.

TheChange
launched in Vancouver and Victoria May 15th 2010 and aims to connect people with local sustainable businesses in a relevant and engaging way. Now one-month post launch, TheChange has been featured on the front pages of local media, raised money, hired two employees, recruited a CTO, and is even working with marketing interns from my old stomping ground at BCIT! We have over 50 organizations onboard, are growing daily, and are working diligently on version 2.0 of the platform based on our beta testing and customer feedback.

We’re also gearing up to launch a new initiative called ethicalDeal this Summer! Every day, ethicalDeal will offer one exclusive deal on eco-friendly products and services in your city at an unbeatable price. This is another way we are helping people participate in the green economy and are supporting local businesses that offer green products/services.

We’re moving into an office this summer and will be hiring people to help us grow on a city-by-city basis across North America. I’m very excited for what lies ahead and truly believe that together we can advance the sustainability movement. Join us in TheChange!

Yours for a sustainable future,

Annalea Krebs
Founder & CEO, Ethico Solutions Inc.
www.TheChange.com
www.ethicalDeal.com

Young environmental professionals were in full attendance at the recent Globe 2010 Conference on Business and the Environment. Some, including myself, were there to attend the Globe Forum for Emerging Environmental Leaders. After spending a day engaging with students and young professionals around green jobs and sustainable ventures, I was convinced: This is the Change Generation!

Why are they the “Change Generation”? The people I met were pursuing PhDs in ethical fashion, engineering green buildings and applying principles learned from biology classes to business. They were actively involved in community action projects that ranged from using theatre to educate people on sustainability (ACT NOW) to organizing fundraising campaigns to place windmills in remote aboriginal communities so that they could have a source of renewable energy.

Ultimately, they were passionate about using their skills to make a difference.

Green careers

It’s great to see young people interested and involved in green careers. I consider green careers to be work that has a positive impact on the environment either directly through the job itself (e.g., clean tech engineer) or indirectly through the organization’s mission (e.g., delivery driver at eeko Couriers).

So who are some of these emerging environmental leaders? Here is a sampling of the 100 that attended.

Jill Doucette, Synergy Enterprises

Jill Doucette, a UVic biology student, has built an award-winning business that specializing in sustainable business practices for coffee businesses. Her company, Synergy Enterprises, provides a complete solution: assessing their operations for issues like energy usage and waste management, sourcing green products and finally marketing these initiatives to the public. Her company name defines her philosophy around sustainable business, and even the dictionary agrees—defining “synergy” as “the working together of two things (environment and business for example) produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.”

I think Jill chose a great niche market to target. High-traffic locations like coffee shops have a great opportunity to help educate people by providing them with sustainable options like eco-containers, fair-trade coffee, local food selections, washroom recycling bins and discounts for personal mugs. Check out the Going Green page on Black Stilt Coffee’s website for a great example of a local café going green (they also happens to be one of Jill’s clients).

Sustainable business consulting is on the rise and a great career choice for people interested in using business as a force for change.

Kim Poldner, Ecofashionworld.com

Clothing can make a statement. So why not make it an eco-friendly one? Kim Poldner is co-founder of Ecofashionworld.com, a site that helps people find everything from bamboo fibre shirts to organic jeans and hemp skirts. Kim says, “When we support ethical fashion, we help reduce poverty and environmental damage. Our actions have an impact.”

She walked the talk at the conference, outfitted in eco-clothing from head to toe.

Clement Bourgogne, mechanical designer

Clement Bourgogne, recently graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He went on to become a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, through the Canada Green Building Council.

He now works as a mechanical designer for a consulting firm specializing in energy efficiency and green buildings. A great example of a traditional career with a green twist!

Scott Macdonald, government project manager

There are also many opportunities within the public sector. Scott Macdonald is a project manager within a large government department in Ottawa. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and currently works with issues involving contaminated sites and abandoned dumpsites.

Advice on green careers

What advice did these emerging green leaders have for other students and young professionals interested in a green career?

• Get involved with students organizations like Common Energy, which works to find local solutions to climate change, or Net Impact, which focuses on corporate responsibility and sustainability.

• Become a member of Young Environmental Professionals! This national organization has more than 120 members involved in its Vancouver chapter and frequently organizes networking and educational opportunities (like this forum).

• Attend networking events like Green Drinks, an informal gathering of people passionate about the environment and sustainability. In Vancouver, Green Drinks is held on the third Wednesday of every month at Steamworks. Also, check Granville’s events calendar regularly for similar opportunities for meeting industry professionals and community members.

Green job and educational resources

For those interested in green careers and related educational programs be sure to check out these great Canadian job boards: GoodWork Canada, ECO Canada, and Work Cabin.

For local green organizations, jobs, events and programs be sure to check out my site TheChange.com, which launches in Vancouver and Victoria on Earth Day, April 22, 2010!

How are you participating in TheChange?

I attended a day-long conference hosted by the Sustainability Purchasing Network (SPN) this week on Greening Your Organization Through Purchasing. Having studied logistics and supply chain management as a student, I was excited to learn more about the role of sustainability in purchasing.

SPN describes sustainable purchasing as considering:

* What the product is made from and how long it lasts
* The energy, material, and emissions “footprints” associated with its manufacture and transport
* Who has made it, how it’s made, and under what working conditions
* How it will ultimately be disposed of
* Whether the purchase needs to be made at all

What was made very clear by all the presenters, is that purchasers have a tremendous opportunity to help the environment and society. In my opinion, they are one of the most important champions of change in an organization.
If purchasers are informed about eco-alternatives, ethical purchasing policies, factory conditions, carbon offsetting etc. they can affect change by spending their organization’s dollars on products and services that are socially and environmentally responsible. Just like consumers can affect change with their dollars, purchasers for corporate, not-for-profit, academic, government, public sector, labour and co-operative organizations have the power to make a difference with their spending. Local leaders in sustainable purchasing include Vancity, MEC and BC Hydro. I was also pleased to see provincial and municipal government representatives in attendance, signaling to me that local government is looking to green their supply chain. Yahoo!

And what’s even more exciting, is that job opportunities abound within this profession! Even in this recession, there is a skill shortage in the supply chain/logistics industry and with companies looking to be energy efficient and community oriented, people with an awareness of sustainable purchasing will be in high demand! So if you want to work for change, consider a career in purchasing/logistics/supply chain management!

I was also interested to learn about the effects that sustainable purchasing policies and practices had on employees retention and recruitment. One of the speakers, Cathy Rodgers, VP of Global Services from IBM, raved about the improved employee moral and reduced turnover that she witnessed in the supply chain division of IBM, when she implemented sustainable purchasing practices and policies. Employees were united by new goals that included reducing IBM’s waste and carbon footprint. A provincial government representative shared a story about recruiting purchasers. They had updated their usual job advert with the requirement that an applicant has an interest in or knowledge of sustainable purchasing. Not only did they receive 3 times as many applicants, but also much more variety. Usually they only had people with purchasing experience apply, but now they have people with degrees in environmental science applying. They ended up hiring someone with much more experience in the environmental industry than the purchasing profession as they were so attracted to the applicant’s enthusiasm and commitment to sustainability. These are the types of people that will lead the way to a sustainable economy and world! So organizations take note … communicate your sustainability goals and hire for change!

As much as the media makes corporate responsibility and sustainability (CSR) out to be mainstream, it isn’t. There are still way more companies that are ‘in transition’ and unfortunately only a handful of leaders. But that is why it is so important to support those companies that are just starting down the sustainability path. So that we can create more leaders and truly make CSR mainstream.

In the Next Sustainability Wave, Bob Willard talks about Sustainability Continuums. He describes 5 stages of companies:

Stage 1: Pre-Compliance The company feels no obligation beyond profits. It cuts corners and tries not to get caught if it breaks the law or uses exploitative practices that cheat the system. It ignores sustainability and actively fights against related regulations.
Stage 2: Compliance The business manages its liabilities by obeying the law and all labor, environment, health, and safety regulations. It reactively does what it legally has to do and does it well. Emerging environmental and philanthropic social actions are treated as costs, projects are end-of-pipe retrofits, and CSR is given lip service.
Stage 3: Beyond Compliance The company moves from defense to offense. It realizes it can save expenses with proactive and incremental operational eco-efficiencies , cleaner processes, and better waste management. It recognizes community investment and social marketing can minimize uncertainty, enhance its reputation, and can help maximize shareholder value. However, sustainability initiatives are still marginalized in specialized departments – they are tacked on as “green housekeeping,” not built in and institutionalized.
Stage 4: Integrated Strategy The firm transforms itself. It re-brands itself as a company committed to sustainability and integrates sustainability with key business strategies. It captures added value from breakthrough sustainability initiatives that benefit all stakeholders. Instead of costs and risks, it sees investments and opportunities. It makes cleaner products, applies eco-effectiveness and life-cycle stewardship, and enjoys competitive advantages from sustainability initiatives.
Stage 5: Purpose & Passion Driven by a passionate, values-based commitment to improving the well-being of the company, society, and the environment, the company helps build a better world because it is the right thing to do. Visit www.vbnetwork.ca for great examples of Stage 5 businesses.

I love supporting and promoting businesses that are at Stage 4/5 – they already get it! But I also enjoy the challenge and reward that comes from working with companies that are at the tipping point (Stage 2/3) – working where social change meets the old paradigm and bringing enlightenment into that zone. Where along the sustainability continuum do you want to affect change?

Making a difference while making a living may sound like an oxymoron to some, but I’ve never really thought of the two as mutually exclusive.

Opportunities abound with the advent of greener enterprises and technologies, socially responsible business and innovative nonprofit work. Whether you are an entrepreneur running a mission based business, an executive addressing social or environmental issues in a large corporation, a consultant working to advance the business case for sustainability, an employee working for an ethical business or a staff member at a nonprofit – you are affecting positive social or environmental change and helping to create a more sustainable world.

It used to be that the social sector was seen as the main source of meaningful work; however, with the private sector undergoing a paradigm shift, there are new opportunities to make a difference in companies small and large.

Resources:

A great read on this topic is: “Making a Living While Making a Difference” by Melissa Everett.

Also “Occupation: Change the World” at www.myoccupation.org answers the question, “How do you make money and change the world?”

Yours for a sustainable future,

Annalea

Welcome to Sustainable Pursuits!

This blog covers news and reflections on corporate sustainability and responsibility, social enterprise and values-based work (jobs related to climate change, cleantech, CSR, green business, social enterprise, renewable energy, sustainability).

My professional (and personal) interests have me immersed in sustainable news and events. While my website is still under development, I want to use this blog as a way to share insights, news and resources related to sustainability. I hope that it empowers you to pursue a life that is aligned with your values.

I will be updating on a weekly basis and would love to engage with everyone so feel free to comment or twitter @AnnaleaKrebs. Thanks for reading!

Yours for a sustainable future, Annalea


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