NBS is a growing network of more than 6000 researchers and managers committed to advancing sustainable business.
We believe businesses need access to rigorous, relevant research to support their decisions actions – and researchers need to understand real-world business challenges to ask relevant questions.
We aim to shape management practice and research with the resources we produce and the dialogue we facilitate.
At NBS, we define business sustainability as: Business models and decisions that create economic value and that benefit the world today and tomorrow.
From 2005-2015, we produced research on the Canadian business community's top sustainability challenges. Our business partners came to consensus on their most pressing challenges, and we recruited globally renowned researchers to help study the issues.
We managed the research co-creation process, ensuring meaningful input from both research and practice, and rigorous, relevant outputs. We then translated the research into practical planning resources for business and disseminated them worldwide at no cost.
Partners are cross-sectoral sustainability leaders.
NBS has a history of deep, meaningful partnerships with a range of companies, from large firms to SMEs. We’ve also worked closely with 15 industry associations, helping mobilize our work to more than 30,000 companies.
This deep engagement has been enabled by a public-private funding model. Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) provided $2.1 million from 2008-2015. Those funds were matched 1:1 by support from our corporate partners.
Many of our partners, including TD Bank, Suncor, Tim Hortons, Canadian Pacific Railway, Telus, Tembec, Unilever, and Holcim, have re-engaged with us year after year. They do so because the knowledge created at the nexus of research and practice pushes their thinking.
“NBS is really a conduit in terms of knowledge generation for other sectors and organizations,” explains Michael Gullo, Director of Policy, Economic & Environmental Affairs at the Railway Association of Canada.
Tim Faveri, Former Director of Sustainability and Responsibility at Tim Hortons, provides insight into his personal experience. “Working with NBS has helped me grow as a sustainability practitioner," explains Faveri. "My involvement allowed me to stay informed on important and emerging sustainability issues and trends. I was able to see what other sustainability leaders were doing and learn from their experiences.”
“There's a need for academic rigour – a need for somebody to be at a certain distance and have permission to criticize you, which you don't always get with consultants.”
NBS has also had a profound impact on our academic partners. Many of our research partners shift their careers. They are inspired to continue working closely with practitioners, finding answers to real-world problems.
One NBS Systematic Review author described the experience: “No one has made as much of an impact (as NBS) on my career, even in my doctoral program.”
The sustainability landscape is changing. So are we.
Business sustainability has evolved since 2005. Companies are more familiar with sustainability issues and many have reaped the low hanging fruit of operational efficiencies.
However, solutions to complex, systems-level problems, such as climate change and social inequality, remain elusive. Tackling these challenges will require innovative thought and action and new partnerships. In response to this evolving need, NBS is shifting its activities.
Sylvia is part of the NBS innovation research team that explores and analyzes innovation processes at Canadian organizations. The aim of this project is to establish innovation processes for sustainability and for shared value creation.
Chelsea Hicks-Webster, Operations Manager
Chelsea manages the daily activities of NBS’s Anglophone office in London, Canada. She aims to ensure all staff have the information and resources needed to make their projects a success.
Pam Laughland, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Pam oversees engagement with NBS's public and private sector partners. She helps organizations ‘find their fit’, be it as a partner in an existing project or as a collaborator in a new venture. Pam knows the Network’s body of work and competencies, and has presented to audiences around the world about what we do and what we’ve learned.
Carole Leblond, Manager, Montreal Office (REDD)
Carole manages the daily activities of NBS’s Montreal Office. She develops and oversees French language knowledge, and develops dissemination strategies for managers and researchers. Working closely with the Director of the Montreal office, Marie-France Turcotte, she carries out the strategic goals and oversees a dynamic team of professionals and students.
Garima supports NBS's approach toward knowledge co-creation by developing resources that allow researchers and managers to effectively collaborate. She writes for NBS's newsletter for the academic community and is studying and documenting NBS's co-creation process.
Marie-France Turcotte, Director, Montreal Office (REDD)
Marie-France Turcotte is the Director of NBS's Montreal office and oversees all its activities. She is also a professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), department of strategy, social and environmental responsibility.