Sharing Experiences of Creating Shared Value

By Don Richardson

When companies work hard at creating shared value, it's great to see them communicate about what they're learning. Things get really interesting when companies actively collaborate with neighbours and environmental organizations. When that kind of experience sharing happens, we start to see some creative synergies and new initiatives emerge in areas such as environmental stewardship, biodiversity enhancement and building & energy efficiency opportunities.

We're impressed by Walker Industries' EARTH 1st program and their communication approaches. EARTH 1st is primarily an internal program to help employees better support the environment. The program challenges Walker employees, and the overall company, to "give back more to the environment than what we take from it".

EARTH 1st is very much an internal employee program, but it's outwardly focused, sharing ideas with and from partners, neighbours, suppliers and environmental stewardship organizations. A recent EARTH 1st newsletter contained a variety of information that we found useful, including:

  • a note about how one of the company's suppliers was influenced by Walker employees to change default printer settings to save paper and printing costs
  • an article by the co-founder of Coyote Watch Canada, who is also a neighbour to a Walker facility, sharing information on "Song Dogs of Niagara" - coyotes and their role in the Niagara region ecosystems
  • information on the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity
  • a story about one employee's personal challenge to go completely "paperless"
  • an article about Carolinian Canada and this important stewardship organization's efforts to partner with conservationists, conservation authorities, corporations and others to encourage ecosystem health throughout Southern Ontario
  • information about the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's changes to the Waste Diversion Act
This is peer-to-peer communication at its best. Walker also openly shares PDFs of its internal tip sheets and posters via its "Environmental Messenger" - a internal social marketing initiative that encourages employees to reflect on stewardship ideas from inside the company and from around the world, and generate new ideas to help the company continually improve.
We give Walker Industries two thumbs up for its EARTH 1st program!



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