Sharing Borders, Opportunities and Challenges with our Canadian Neighbors

I had the pleasure of having lunch this week with Stephen Brereton, Consul General of the Consulate General 
of Canada.  Our conversation revealed many similarities shared by the U.S. and Canada around sustainable development.  In the midst of today’s economic struggles, it’s not surprising that citizens in both countries put the economy and jobs as top priorities, followed by education and healthcare, and somewhere around fifth place (or so, depending on where you live and your perspectives) the environment comes on the list. 

The average citizen in North America doesn’t understand (or in some instances believe) the case for being more environmentally or socially responsible.   There’s a disturbing growing perspective that environmental and social responsibility comes from left wing, liberal types and attempts to regulate or fund these areas will hurt business and commerce.  Debates about climate change take place in bars and over the water cooler and across cyberspace by people who treat science as opinion rather than fact-based.

This is where leadership comes in.  In both countries, corporations are often taking a leadership role, while many in government have become more divisive and focused on the next election.  Many companies have embraced sustainable development as a key strategic priority now and for decades to come.  Nike, Coca-Cola, UPS, Novo Nordisk, Unisource and Unilever are among many finding greater efficiency, innovation, brand image, product development and profits by redefining their business direction.  Consul General Brereton mentioned DIRTT Environmental Solutions, a Calgary –based company growing it’s U.S. business from Savannah GA.  DIRTT stands for Doing it Right This Time.   Named as one of Canada’s Top 50 Best Managed Companies DIRTT makes and installs innovative modular office components, which provide many benefits over traditional building methods – lower cost, greater flexibility, less environmental impact and a more open office environment to enhance communication.  They are committed to making responsible process and material choices for high quality products designed to be dismantled for clean recycling at the end of their useful life, rather than add to construction landfill waste.   

While companies large and small are making steps to compete better by being more innovative and responsible, our government leaders need to do the same.  Aren’t we becoming a bit weary of waiting for some crisis to enrage constituents before we are moved to make changes?  Part of being a good leader means being able to see around the bend and take action to minimize challenges and embrace opportunities and promote honest, fact-based education around these critical issues.

"Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before."

Alexander Graham Bell (A great man shared by Canada, the U.S. and the world) 

Based in Atlanta, Consul General Brereton administers trade, investment, consular and public affairs programs throughout a six-state territory in the southeastern United States -- Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

 

Sources:  http://www.dirtt.net/

 

https://www.canadas50best.com/Pages/Home.aspx?LangRet=%2Fen%2Fabout%2FPages%2FHome%2Easpx

 

Home Page Teaser: 
I had the pleasure of having lunch this week with Stephen Brereton, Consul General of the Consulate General 
of Canada. Our conversation revealed many similarities shared by the U.S. and Canada around sustainable development. In the midst of today’s economic struggles, it’s not surprising that citizens in both countries put the economy and jobs as top priorities, followed by education and healthcare, and somewhere around fifth place (or so, depending on where you live and your perspectives) the environment comes on the list.

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