Canadian business leaders have reached a pivotal moment in their sustainability efforts. The period of low-hanging sustainability fruit is over. It is now time for leaders in the Canadian marketplace to raise the bar, reach high and wide, and create innovative sustainability opportunities.

NBS's Leadership Council met in September 2012 to identify the issues inside their organizations, in their value chains, in the marketplace, in government and in society that limit sustainable development. In a one-day roundtable facilitated by management researcher and executive director of NBS Tima Bansal, these leaders identified 10 issues facing Canadian businesses and phrased them as questions for the research community and other members of the business community to start answering:

The 10 Sustainability Challenges For Canadian Business in 2013

  1. How can businesses contribute to effective, integrated public policy on the right issues?
  2. How can companies best engage value chain, industry and NGO partners to achieve sustainability goals?
  3. How can businesses help Canadians become informed, inspired and engaged in a national dialogue about responsible consumption?
  4. What corporate structures enable companies to deliver on sustainability goals?
  5. How can companies keep their long-term sustainability agenda on track despite leadership changes?
  6. How should companies navigate issues regarding Aboriginal rights and entitlements?
  7. How can Canadian organizations become more innovative?
  8. How can companies embed social license to operate into their strategy?
  9. How can business and society prepare effectively for the impacts of climate change?
  10. How can companies respond to the proliferation of voluntary and mandatory reporting requirements?


Over the next year, NBS will conduct a systematic review (comprehensive research study) of Challenge #2: Collaboration. We will commission the best academic team in the world to review the existing body of knowledge, and from that review, we will produce a practical guide for business leaders to engage value chain, industry and NGO partners in sustainability. We will also convene a public forum to address Challenge #3: Civic Engagement. Bringing together researchers, business leaders and policymakers, the forum will start a national dialogue on sustainability.