Partnering for Good: Impacts from a Transformational 10-Year Partnership
Posted on May 14, 2018 by Brad McCabe

Environmental and social issues are increasingly affecting the viability of business — and the communities and environments in which they operate. A proven way to address these issues is through partnerships in which businesses and non-profits collaborate for mutual benefit and create solutions to societal challenges.

Faced with these sizable issues, it can be hard to know where to start — and to determine where the greatest value lies. Taking a page from lean innovation, start with a pilot project, to test and scale what works.

The HP Canada and WWF-Canada partnership is an example of a long-term relationship between two organizations that started small. It has grown to have sustained benefits to both, while contributing to significant societal outcomes over time.

This case study profiles the 10-year collaboration between HP Canada and WWF-Canada in a quest to reduce the environmental footprint of Canadian business. Both HP Canada and WWF-Canada benefitted by tapping into each other’s expertise and resources, engaging employees, building their brands, and increasing customer and public attraction and engagement to further environmental conservation and raise funds for wildlife in Canada.

In the early days, the partnership was traditional and transactional. HP Canada contributed to fundraising events to help WWF-Canada collect contributions for wildlife conservation. As the years passed and trust grew, the two organizations began to collaborate on social innovations that would benefit not only the environment, but their respective organizations.

A flagship program that has flourished with the partnership is called Living Planet at Work (LP@W). The organizations worked together to develop resources, tools and strategic guidance to engage worksites across Canada on environmental business practices. Companies that joined LP@W received tools and support to transition their organization towards sustainability and were given opportunities to participate in WWF-Canada’s employee engagement and fundraising campaigns.

LP@W is targeted both at front-line employees who want to promote conservation at their companies (called “champions”) and at decision-makers who want to initiate large-scale change. HP Canada’s sponsorship enabled WWF-Canada to deliver the program free of charge, reducing barriers to business participation. More than 1,600 corporate champions signed up, representing over 1,300 worksites, and raised nearly $2 million for WWF-Canada’s conservation programs.

The world needs more of this kind of cross-sectoral collaboration to address the myriad environmental and societal challenges ahead, enabling 10 billion people to live well on a healthy planet by 2050.

Article by Coro Strandberg as posted on Sustainable Brands

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