Sustainability means different things to different people. To April Vande Beek, Benevity’s Manager of Communications and Culture, sustainability goes far beyond protecting the environment—it’s about making sure that a company’s overall impact on the world is a good one.
Benevity’s mission—or moonshot, as they call it—is to act as a catalyst to infuse a culture of goodness into the world. From an earthling’s perspective, they do that with programs that engage employees and empower them to volunteer, donate to charity, and otherwise do good.
At Bullfrog’s Sustainability Snapshot event in Calgary, April spoke about how Benevity incorporates doing good into every aspect of their business. “We’re a social enterprise,” she said. “That’s woven into what we do.”
April noted that their internal sustainability program is a great conversation topic. Knowing that walking the walk is an internal priority bolsters their moonshot’s credibility.
Benevity wants their culture of goodness to be as evident within the company as it is to their clients. “Sustainability—and being good citizens in the world—is at the forefront of our mind,” April said. This ethos informs how they talk about their business, how they engage their own employees, and even how their Calgary office is laid out (with desks near windows and offices in the middle of the floors to promote ‘right to light’).
Showcasing their commitment to sustainability is especially important during Benevity’s events. “We fly all of our employees into Calgary once a year, which has a huge environmental impact,” April confessed. “We recognize that. This year, we wanted to ensure that if our goals had an environmental impact, we offset that.”
Instead of utilizing their budget to offer their employees swag to take home after the annual event—which would have had a further environmental impact—Benevity offset the carbon emissions from everyone’s flights through Less Emissions. Employees could be comfortable that their company’s actions were in line with their values. “They’re tree huggers like I am,” April quipped.
But sustainability isn’t always that easy. “We realized that we missed the mark with our offsite lunch,” April admitted. They hadn’t shared their environmental goals with their caterer, and they arrived to find every sandwich wrapped in plastic. “We got there and my heart broke,” April said. “This may seem kind of small, but it matters to the bigger picture and from an internal messaging point of view.”
April ended her talk with a challenge for all those present: to start having those conversations about your company’s impact. “Weaving sustainability into every aspect of our business still isn’t something we’re perfect at, but we’re really cognizant of it,” she said. “Talk about how you can weave it into the very fabric of what you do, so that when someone walks into an event or walks into your office, they’re taking away the same focus and sustainability perspective that you have.”
Interested in offsetting your company’s flights? Get in touch with our sister company, Less Emissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.