Updated: ‘Pledge for a Sustainable Community’ program recognized on world stage

Update: See Burnaby MLA Kathy Corrigan’s statement at the BC Legislature, congratulating members of the Burnaby Board of Trade on their participation in the Pledge for Sustainable Community:

The Burnaby Board of Trade’s Pledge for a Sustainable Community program has been selected as a finalist in the category of “Best Corporate Social Responsibility Project” at the 2015 World Chambers Competition.

The Pledge program, which is a comprehensive online resource and planning tool with the goal of helping businesses large and small reduce their carbon footprint, was one of only four entries selected as a finalist out of a record number of submissions from across 39 countries. Finalists will present their projects to a panel of judges at the 9th World Chamber Congress in Torino, Italy in June.

“Having the Pledge for a Sustainable Community recognized at the international level is a monumental achievement for the Burnaby Board of Trade, our local business community, and the entire Canadian Chamber community,” remarked Board of Trade President and CEO Paul Holden. “The Pledge is a groundbreaking business resource and promotion tool unlike anything ever done before by a board of trade or chamber of commerce in this country.

The criteria for the award includes linking both business and their social responsibility actions to community, philanthropic, environment, workplace and marketplace activities. Projects are designed to advocate sustainable growth, and must underline the business advantages for CSR and ethical business practices as well as reinforce the chamber’s mission of promoting best practices among companies and institutions. Importantly, the projects must be replicable in other business communities.

“The BBOT is a municipal-level board of trade with a membership of almost 1,200 organizations, and yet our program has beaten out submissions from chambers that are potentially much larger than ours – even national level chambers. It couldn’t have been done without the support of our Board of Directors and membership, our Environmental Sustainability Committee, our dedicated staff, generous sponsors, and of course our ever-growing community of Pledge Members who have been the champions of building a strong and sustainable business community in Burnaby and across the Lower Mainland,” said Holden.

Joining the BBOT as finalists are Santa Cruz-Cainco Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Bolivia), Finland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Finland), and Asharquia Chamber of Commerce (Saudi Arabia). The previous winner was Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (United Arab Emirates).

Currently the Pledge features about 120 local organizations that have committed to being more sustainable, and have shared their news, success stories and ideas. In addition, the Burnaby Board of Trade has recently announced plans to license the Pledge model to other chambers of commerce to begin building a world-wide community of like-minded businesses all working to reduce their environmental impact and promote the business case for sustainability. The first international licensee is expected to be formally announced in the coming weeks.

Learn more about the Pledge for a Sustainable Community at bbotpledge.ca.