Event Summaries

For those of you who are unable to attend our events but would like to read about them and share your insight, we welcome your feedback.

Why You Need a Sustainability Narrative

It is not enough for your company to commit to sustainability.  You must find a way to effectively tell your Sustainability Story with meaning and purpose.

Panelists at TSSS

Phillip Haid, Steven Sage, Claudio Gemmiti and Eric Whan discussion the importance of a Sustainability Narrative at TSSS

On September 30th, 2014, over 100 sustainability change agents gathered for a TSSS event at  Ryerson University’s Chang School (with almost 100 more joining via LiveStream and Twitter) to explore the idea of a “Sustainability Narrative” and its value to a company.

Crafting a Sustainability Narrative that will engage consumers was discussed by a panel of four industry experts: (Click here to read the panelists’ bios)

Click here to learn more about our upcoming event on November 12, 2014:
Rethinking Prosperity with Canadian MP, Chrystia Freeland

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Shared Value: Journey to an Unknown but Rewarding Destination

Note: TSSS apologizes for technical difficulties encountered during the event webcast.  We hope that this expanded event summary will allow everyone to share in the presentation and discussion of our May 28, 2014 event.


Justin Bakule, Angela Simo Brown and Tim Faveri sharing their stories of Shared Value at TSSS.

On May 28, 2014 Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series (TSSS) held its first event hosted by Ryerson University.  TSSS Founder Brad Zarnett began by announcing the launch of the TSSS Innovation HUB, a meeting place for sustainability thought leaders which will showcase, explore and celebrate progressive companies to uncover what allows innovation to flourish.

The audience was then welcomed by Dr. Marie Boutrogianni, Dean of Ryerson’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and former Ontario MPP and cabinet minister. Dr. Boutrogianni explained Ryerson’s commitment to our shared future and the university’s dedication to pursuing environmental and social responsibility through its programs and research, including its Certificate in Sustainability Management. She spoke about lessons learned in her political career, including the value of stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

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Capitalism 2.0: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

These words from the US Declaration of Independence also form part of our collective consciousness here in Canada.  We live in a free and democratic society, where we value our rights and freedoms as guaranteed under our Constitution.  The right to pursue happiness and the freedom to experience it – who among us would not want this for ourselves and those we love.  But what does happiness have to do with Capitalism 2.0?


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A Recipe for Award Winning Sustainable Wine: Mix Vision with Equal Parts Passion & Courage

Southbrook Vinyards - Award Winnig Sustainable WIne from Niagara, Ontario

Southbrook Vineyards – Award Winning Sustainable Wine from Niagara, Ontario

“I hate the word sustainability.” This is how Bill Redelmeier, Owner of Southbrook Vineyards, began his presentation to the Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series (TSSS) on November 27, 2013. It’s not that Redelmeier doesn’t believe in the principles that many of us would attach to sustainability; he believes passionately in the importance of long-term well-being in economic, ecological, community and social dimensions.  What frustrates Redelmeier is the lack of third party certification and oversight for most sustainability claims, explaining, “It can be claimed by anyone for any particular reason.”

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McDonald’s: “Yes, our burgers are 100% beef!” Building Trust through Good Communication

McDonalds going greenBob Langert, McDonald’s Global VP CSR and Sustainability, spoke to the TSSS audience on Oct. 9, 2013 about the lessons he’s learned from the “CSR front lines”. Langert’s presentation was both professional and personal; he described how once he became a grandfather, he found himself thinking much more about the future.  This type of personal connection is a familiar story for many who have embarked upon a sustainability journey.  Sustainability is about our collective future, for ourselves, but even more so, for the generations to come.

Langert described his Top 10 Lessons Learned from the CSR Front Lines in three realms – Opportunity, Integration and Connection.  As an example from the first realm, he described the importance of moving from ‘fear’ to ‘opportunity’, and seeing previously perceived ‘enemies’ (e.g. NGOs) as ‘friends’.  For example, in 1989 McDonald’s faced significant negative public attention directed towards its polystyrene packaging, and suffered the indignity of nicknames like “McToxic”.  McDonalds worked with its supply chain partners and NGOs such as the Environmental Defence Fund and was able to reduce waste by 300 million lbs. during the 1990s – this meant significant cost savings for a zero cost program.

[Join us for a follow-up webinar conversation with Bob Langert on October 23rd at 1pm – hosted by CSRwire.  The webinar will summarize the discussion from the live event and hear which of the 250+ brainstorming ideas regarding authentic and transparent communication resonated with McDonald’s senior leaders.  Click here to register for what is sure to be a great interactive discussion.]

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