Guide to business climate action

Step 2: Build engagement & vision


To implement a successful environmental management program, organizations must first build environmental values and principles into their corporate culture and strategic direction. Programs without the support of management and staff, and those that do not align with company goals and principles are sure to fail.

To obtain support from management, prepare a proposal for senior leadership in their terms. This proposal should contain the business case for action and examples of how energy and climate management is practiced in the sector.

Securing support from leadership then allows you to engage employees in your program. Some businesses go a step further by involving stakeholders who either share or are affected by climate change impacts of the business.

Senior leadership and employees should then work together to establish a program vision, strategy and specific performance targets relevant to energy and environmental impacts. Companies can use performance indicators such as energy consumption in kilowatt-hours or greenhouse gases in tonnes to measure progress towards these visions and targets. Reporting on your progress helps to ensure accountability to your vision over time.

Formalize your strategy, including your vision, plan, stakeholders, performance indicators, and reporting method into a policy to be signed by senior leadership. Assemble a team representative of several departments to carry out the policy and be sure to have representation from leadership.

These tools and resources will help you build engagement and create an energy and environmental strategy in your organization.

Tools & Resources


The Climate Justice Playbook for Business

This comprehensive practical guide includes information to help business leaders understand the intersection of climate action and social justice and advance a justice-centered approach to climate action.

Going Hybrid: The Future Workplace Has Arrived

What does the hybrid future workplace look like?  As social distancing measures are lifted in the months ahead, the ‘next normal’ in the recovery phase means that many Canadian workplaces are now planning for more flexible hybrid work models which blend on-site and remote work.

CEO Guide to the SDGs

A high-level guide developed by and for business leaders setting out clear actions to galvanize SDG engagement.

Author: 2017 | World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Type: Guide

How to Build Effective Sustainability Governance Structures

Sustainability governance helps a company implement sustainability strategy across the business, manage goal-setting and reporting processes, strengthen relations with external stakeholders, and ensure overall accountability. Based on BSR’s sustainability management work with our member companies, this article introduces four considerations to keep in mind when building effective governance structures.

Behavioral Psychology of Recycling

Understand the thought patterns associated with recycling and tips on how to use phycology to influence positive change around recycling programs.

Author: 2018 | Busch Systems, Syvannah Vine, Michelle Hoover Type: Video

Purposeful Workplace Experiences (PWE) Podcast Series

Hosted by Carolyn Swora, a Workplace Culture Architect, the Purposeful Workplace Experiences (PWE) podcasts are designed to empower individuals and teams to transform workplace culture by becoming change agents and driving culture from the bottom up. Carolyn is on a mission to shift workplaces from transactional jobs to places where people can grow, transform and thrive while feeling energized, inspired and motivated to do their best work.

Author: Carolyn Swora Type: Video, Website

Purpose Governance: A New Role for Boards

Social purpose in business is fast replacing profit as the reason companies continue to exist. Purpose Governance is fast becoming essential to put organizations on a viable path that creates value for the company and the society on which it depends. This report is an introduction and discussion-starter on the emerging role of boards and governance professionals in providing leadership for  corporate social purpose.

Author: 2020 | Coro Strandberg, Victoria Hurth, Peter ter Weeme, Dave Mowat, Shona McGlashan Type: Guide, Report

Sustainability Through Partnerships

This systematic review synthesizes knowledge on multi-sector partnerships for sustainability. Collaboration is one of the keys for unlocking sustainability. This report outlines four factors affecting partnership outcomes: drivers, motivations, partner characteristics and process issues.

Author: 2013 | Network for Business Sustainability, Barbara Gray and Jenna P. Stites Type: Report

How to Form a Green Team

WWF green team guide provides practical tips on how to create and operate your green team to maximize potential for positive impact.

Employee Engagement and Going Green

Discover 10 ways to develop a workforce that values good business ethics and corporate responsibility. Learn how to engage employees to go green.

Author: 2021 | Network for Business Sustainability Type: Article, Case study, Checklist

Profits with purpose: How organizing for sustainability can benefit the bottom line

In this article, we discuss the research about the economic benefits of sustainability, the organizational practices businesses need to follow to make this work and how moving in this direction can create value.

Dianne Saxe’s Green Economy Heroes Podcast Series

Dianne Saxe, environmental lawyer and former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, converses with Green Economy Heroes.  Each Green Economy Hero podcast features someone you’ll enjoy getting to know. We will explore who they are, what their business are doing, and how it is making a difference. We will hear about their challenges, their successes, and their dreams. And we’ll learn their advice on how you too can start and build a green business.

Author: Dianne Saxe, environmental lawyer, president of, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Type: Video

A framework for assessing financial impact of physical climate change

This report is designed to demonstrate how the tools already used in the insurance industry can help assess financial impacts – specifically the risk of increasing weather-related losses – from climate change. This report can be used by practitioners and firms to develop their own assessment of financial impacts of physical climate change risks in order to understand the impact on specific business decisions. The term ‘physical climate change risks’ is used to refer to this risk of increasing losses – as opposed to other risks from climate change and society’s response to it (such as a fall in the value of assets).

Bay Area Climate Change Forum 2020

Dr. Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, speaks at the Bay Area Climate Change Forum 2020, on how to overcome human psychological traits that hinder our ability to act effectively on the global warming threat. (Start at 30:00 minutes).

The Definitive Guide to Peer Coaching

Peer coaching also has the potential to be the core vehicle for managing change. Furthermore, peer coaching humanizes work, connects us, and drives employee fulfillment.

Author: Aaron Hurst Type: Guide, White paper

Green Team Guide Sustainability Leadership

Green Team Guide – 2018 – Sustainable Hamilton Burlington

Author: Sustainability Leadership Type: Guide

Making Sustainability Work

Best Practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental and economic impacts.

Author: 2009 | Marc J. Epstein Type: Report

5 Ways to Engage Your Senior Leadership on Sustainability Strategy

Boards and senior executives must have the expertise, insights and information necessary to plan for a sustainable future over the long term, while also overseeing sustainability performance today. This means we as a profession more effectively must engage our senior leadership on sustainability topics.

Tips on selling energy efficiency to senior management

7 tips on selling energy efficiency to senior management

Author: 2015 | GreenBiz; Kit Oung Type: Article

Making the Pitch: Selling Sustainability from Inside Corporate America

Survey report from sustainability professionals of several Fortune 100 companies on how the integrated sustainability within their organizations

Author: 2012 | VOX Global; Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting; Net Impact, Berkeley Type: Report

How to develop a Green Team in your company

An ultimate guide on how to do it, who to invite, what roles to assign, and how to get more support within your company.

Author: 2020 | Leaders for Climate Action; Anna Esakova Type: Article

Private-Sector Collaboration for Sustainable Development

This report discusses ways businesses can leverage their collective assets and resources, through collaboration, to fulfil the objectives laid down in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

The Four Stages of Sustainable Transformation

This article introduces a four-stage transformation model to help companies assess and manage their progress towards true sustainable transformation.

Author: 2018 | GreenBiz; Gib Hedstrom Type: Article

Sustainability ROI Workbook

This free, open-sourced Excel workbook helps users identify, quantify and monetize all potential business benefits that may arise from a sustainability project. It also includes a Project Appraisal Tools that will help CFO’s make better informed decisions on sustainability projects.

Author: Sustainability Advantage; Bob Willard Type: Guide, Template, Tool

Engaging Employees to Create a Sustainable Business

The key to creating a vibrant and sustainable company is to find ways to get all employees—from top executives to assembly line workers—personally engaged in day-to-day corporate sustainability efforts.

Author: 2016 | Stanford Social Innovation Review; Paul Polman, CB Bhattacharya Type: Article

Engaging Occupants in Your Sustainability Program

This guide introduces facility professionals and sustainability managers to the opportunities and benefits of engaging occupants and tenants in their initiatives, and provides a step by step approach for designing, implementing and measuring the impact of an occupant engagement program to achieve positive behavior changes.

Author: 2016 | International Facility Management Association; Cynthia Putnam, Melanie Danuser, Lynn Clark, Stephanie Randall Cooper Type: Guide

Yorkdale Shopping Centre Sustainable Building Practices Tenant Package

This Sustainable Building Practices Tenant Package from the Yorkdale Shopping Centre outlines environmental policies, programs and engagement practices regarding indoor air quality, green cleaning, waste management and transportation.

The Crucial — and Underappreciated — Role of HR in Sustainability

HR’s role should be to build sustainability into its own activities and processes so that it can play a major role in the structuring of a company’s sustainability processes, practices and strategies. This article from MIT Sloan Management Review defines HR’s Role in Sustainability Programs, what it is, and what it should be.

Author: 2014 | MIT Sloan Management Review; Edward E. Lawler III, Susan A. Mohrman Type: Article

Redefining Sustainable Business: Management for a Rapidly Changing World

Many companies continue to struggle to incorporate sustainability into their strategies, governance, and management structures. This report provides a blueprint for putting sustainability at the center of business to enable companies to play their full part in the creation of a just and sustainable world. It focuses on how sustainability is implemented inside companies.