Growing Business for Good in Burnaby: The Burnaby Board of Trade and Social Purpose Institute Announce Partnership

In an exciting announcement, the Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) will be partnering with the Social Purpose Institute (SPI) to help grow business for good in Burnaby. This marks the first-ever partnership with a business association to promote social purpose in business and opens the door to an acceleration of the movement and adoption of social purpose practices within Burnaby. Among other things, this partnership will help to establish a Burnaby-based cluster of Social Purpose businesses, leaders and collaborators.

Social purpose is an emerging trend in business – where companies define contributing to societal good as a key motive, and place it at the core of their operations. Social purpose gives companies a competitive advantage, helps them navigate turbulent times, and creates new opportunities for maximizing profits and building shareholder value. Social purpose is good for business and good for society.

“The BBOT and the SPI is hitting the ground running in 2020,” said Michael McKnight, President and CEO of United Way of the Lower Mainland. “This partnership aims at developing an outreach strategy to involve more Burnaby-based businesses in the work of SPI, including leadership sessions, workshops, and the possibility of a “Social Purpose Innovators” cohort exclusive to Burnaby businesses. This is just the beginning of an amazing journey in purpose. We are at the leading edge of a movement that is prime to explode with enthusiasm from all corners of the business world.”

A Natural Partnership
The vision of the Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) is to be the recognized leader in championing an innovative, sustainable, socially responsible and robust business community in Burnaby.
The goal of the Social Purpose Institute is to grow the social purpose movement across Canada and internationally to help businesses become engines for good – by doing business – and maximizing their positive impact on the communities in which they operate.

Given the strong business and community benefits business can realize from having a social purpose, the Burnaby Board of Trade and the Social Purpose Institute at United Way took hold of a natural partnership to formalize the work.
“We are delighted to be partnering with the Social Purpose Institute,” said Paul Holden, President and CEO of the Burnaby Board of Trade. “Helping Burnaby’s businesses embed social purpose into their business model will be a game changer that will drive social and business innovation, and position Burnaby as the centre of business leadership. I’m excited to see where this takes our community.”

To date, several BBOT members have participated or are currently participating in the Social Purpose Institute’s programs to embed social purpose in their business models, including:
• Hemlock Printers
• Chandos Construction
• Traction on Demand
• Royal Printers
• Return-It
• ABC Recycling

Burnaby businesses represent roughly 25% of the participants currently running through the Social Purpose Innovators and Implementers programs.

“As a proud member of the Burnaby business community, we are very excited to see the BBOT partnering with the Social Purpose Institute. The BBOT has played and continues to play an important role in helping local businesses adopt socially and environmentally progressive business practices. This initiative is another way the BBOT can bring businesses together and help them succeed in the long term, building a stronger community in the process. We look forward to supporting this work through our association with both organizations.” Richard Kouwenhoven, President & COO, Hemlock Printers

At the end of the day, all parties involved hope to grow the “Purpose in Business” movement – placing Burnaby at the centre of an exciting push forward.

“Business leaders in Burnaby have been inspiring early adopters of the social purpose model, demonstrating how partnering with the Social Purpose Institute at United Way can help your business become more resilient, sustainable, and profoundly positive for the communities you serve,” said Mary Ellen Schaafsma, Director of the Social Purpose Institute. “This partnership will showcase Burnaby as an example to other cities and help more local businesses integrate a social purpose into their practices, for the benefit – not only of their business – but of their entire community. We’re excited to see where this partnership will lead us.