Article by Guest Writer Jill Moffatt, Canadian Olympic Athlete
With the Winter Olympics taking place throughout February, I thought I would share what it’s like to be an Olympian during a pandemic, and the how important community support is. Thanks for reading along and joining me on my journey to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games!
What Does Sustainability and Regenerative Mean in Business?
I don’t have a background in business, but I do hear words like sustainability and regenerative being used when talking about business, especially at the grassroot and local level. During Earth month in April, I’m sure you heard these words being used as well, but what do they mean?
According to the IMD, “sustainability is a business approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organization operates in the ecological, social, and economic environments. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies fosters company longevity.” For example, sustainability focuses on reducing a company’s carbon footprint, such as using recycled materials in products.
Regenerative business is like sustainability, but according to Forbes, “a regenerative company boldly seeks to increase its socio-ecological handprint—as Harvard professor Greg Norris puts it—by restoring the health of individuals, communities, and the planet. In doing so, regenerative businesses can achieve greater financial performance and impact than their sustainability-focused peers.” For example, Patagonia is a leader in regenerative business, they actually invest in regenerative agriculture, where they source cotton from farms that not only reduce greenhouse admissions, but can help trap more carbon than conventional methods.
What This Looks Like For The Consumer
As we are in a climate crisis, we may notice political debates and policies targeting climate change. While politicians figure out the best way to create policy, and debate what should be done, local grassroot businesses have begun to take the lead and embrace sustainability and regeneration.
I’ve noticed some of my favourite brands and places embracing the concepts of sustainability and regeneration. Big Wheel Burger is what I would call the “OG” (original great) and embracing sustainability through every facet of its businesses – becoming Canada’s first carbon neutral fast food restaurant. They also have compostable packaging and contribute to creating compost for their FED (food eco district) garden. But if you are reading this, you probably already know how awesome Big Wheel is in this space!
There are other great local businesses who are doing the same, take Ecologyst, who creates sustainable clothing in house. Larger brands, such as Nike and Adidas, have also begun to create clothing lines with sustainable materials.
If you are interested in finding out local businesses that are sustainable or investing in regenerative business, check out the Vancouver Island Green Business Collective website. You may notice some of your favourites, such as Van Island Brewing, Nezza Naturals and even office spaces, like Monk Office and Pacific Rim College, listed.
Why This Matters
As discussed in my last post, climate change is real and has to be addressed with an all hands on deck approach. I know that at times I feel helpless because it seems that governments may not be doing enough, and fast enough. When local businesses step up and begin to take a sustainable and/or regenerative approach, it sends a message politically, and it directly invests in my future, through taking care of our collective home. As a consumer, I want to support businesses that are investing in my future and the planet.
As someone who isn’t a business owner, I try to support businesses that are doing this by using my purchasing power. Buying and promoting local businesses with environmental initiatives and policies is one way to contribute as a consumer. Another way, is to ask some of your favourite businesses who may not be engaging sustainably, to do so. Either through writing a letter, sending a (polite) tweet, or spending your money somewhere else, you can send a message as a consumer.
As much as I loved the lululemon Team Canada kit, there was a great article by Shireen Ahmed for CBC Sports that looked at the sustainability of the clothing company and the Olympic kit. Although this brand is focusing on sustainable materials in the future, as a Team Canada athlete, I will give feedback that for the next Olympics that it would be great if the was team kit was made through sustainable materials. Although this may not change the world overnight, I can find ways to do my part as a consumer!
For now, I’ll continue to enjoy strawberry shakes from Big Wheel… guilt free!
Chat next month,
Learn more about our sustainability practices here!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Jill Moffatt and I am an Olympic rower living in Victoria, B.C. Big Wheel Burger is supporting me on my path to the Olympics and in exchange I’ll be sharing parts of that journey with you! Follow along each month for behind the scenes stories and other things outside of rowing that I am passionate about.