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


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 is 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: Coro Strandberg; Victoria Hurth; Peter ter Weeme; Dave Mowat; Shona McGlashan Type: Guide, Report

Supply Chain Webinar Series

Supply chains hold the key to achieving your sustainability goals. Assessing the full environmental impacts of your supply chain and addressing the risks and capitalizing on opportunities is a business imperative – but can also be a major challenge. This three-part webinar series offered by CDP shows what steps you can take to progress on your sustainable procurement journey.

Measuring and Valuing Environmental Impacts

Navigate the decision-making process to manage environmental impacts like a pro.

Author: Network for Business Sustainability Type: 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: Barbara Gray and Jenna P. Stites; Network for Business Sustainability 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.

Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture

How do we ensure that sustainability remains engrained in the organization after the CEO or sustainability officer leaves? This report addresses this critical question. It is the culmination of a full year’s effort to compile and synthesize the best academic research in the area.

Author: Dr. Stephanie Bertels, Lisa Papania and Daniel Papania, Simon Fraser University; Network for Business Sustainability Type: Report

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

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 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).

Report on Flexible Work Arrangements Consultations

This report presents an overview of what was heard during the public consultations done by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour in 2016. Based on qualitative and, where possible, quantitative analysis, it identifies key messages and provides additional information about the issues that Canadians and stakeholders raised and the experiences they shared in three areas: flexible work arrangements, the right to request and implementation. The last section of the report addresses next steps.

Mark Jaccard Speech at 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

Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals

Eight modules which have been prepared as stand-alone documents that can be read by themselves, but they have also been prepared to complement one another. It has been designed as a tool for health professionals and students in the health care and public health sectors who want to engage more directly on the issue of climate change as educators with their patients, peers and communities, and/or as advocates for the policies, programs and practices needed to mitigate climate change and/or prepare for climate change in their workplaces and communities.

Green Team Guide

Green Team Guide – 2018 – Sustainable Hamilton Burlington

Author: Sustainable Hamilton Burlington Type: Guide

Making Sustainability Work

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

A How-to Guide for Executives in Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture

This report represents a framework for embedding sustainability in organizational culture. Designed for executives, senior HR managers and senior sustainability managers, it presents a portfolio of practices—both those practices that the research has shown to be effective and those that show potential but remain untested.

Getting Top Management Buy-In for Sustainability

5 tips for demonstrating to management the benefits of a sustainability program for your company.

Tips on selling energy efficiency to senior management

7 tips on selling energy efficiency to senior management

The Social Intrapreneur

A field guide for understanding the different types of sustainable change agents, also known as Corporate Changemakers.

Author: SustainAbility Type: Case study, Guide

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: VOX Global, Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting, Net Impact, Berkeley Type: Report

Growing Corporate Green Teams: Bringing Renewed Purpose to the Workplace

Article on how building a green team serves as an empowerment mechanism for improving environmental performance of an organization’s operations.

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.

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: Stanford Social Innovation Review Type: Article

Sustainability How-to Guide: 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: International Facility Management Association Type: Guide

Environmental Policy Template – Straightforward and Practical Guide To Writing An Environmental Policy (with Templates!)

Straightforward, easy-to-use environmental policy templates. Copy, refine and paste our templates to produce an internationally compliant and robust environmental policy. In less than 20 minutes you will have an environmental policy you will be proud to share with customers and staff. Includes 25 low cost green actions that will save you money and the Top 5 ways to get the most out of marketing your green credentials.

Author: Sustainable Business Toolkit Type: Template

CSR Governance Guidelines

These guidelines, developed in coordination with Canadian corporate board directors, provide direction to ensure that CSR issues and opportunities are well-managed at the board level.

Author: Canadian Business for Social Responsibility Type: Case study, Checklist, Guide, Template, Tool

Change Management

An article for corporate change managers, outlining best practices for making any change stick.

Author: Fast Company Type: Article

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 Role of Human Resources Management in Corporate Social Responsibility

This report explores the foundational elements that need to be in place to foster a high performance CSR (corporate social responsibility) organization and presents a road-map for firms wishing to become a high performing CSR organization.

Author: Strandberg Consulting Type: Guide, Report

Sustainability How-to Guide: Getting Started

This guide details implementation strategy for sustainable FM programs in existing buildings, providing direction to assess the organization, identify initiatives to determine their value, and implement, measure and monitor program effectiveness.

Author: Christopher Hodges; International Facility Management Association Type: Guide