The Embedding Project brings leading sustainability professionals to Vancouver

Jan 30, 2017

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Members of the Embedding Project at the organization’s Peer-to-Peer Network meeting in Vancouver

Earlier this month, leading sustainability professionals from across North America met in Vancouver to share their successes, challenges and insights at the Embedding Project’s North American Peer-to-Peer Network event. Over the two-day session, members engaged in facilitated peer-coaching sessions, reflected on their past year as Change Agents and piloted new research and new resources. Highlights included research insights on workplace sustainability-oriented initiatives by Beedie PhD student, Simon Pek, and new research coming out of the Embedding Project’s Community of Practice on contextualized strategy-making.

The Embedding Project is a public-benefit research project founded and led by Dr. Stephanie Bertels, Associate Professor at SFU’s Beedie School of Business and Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability. Bertels developed a framework for embedding sustainability that helps companies inventory, prioritize and focus their efforts to embed sustainability across the organization. Bertels and her team work with companies to apply the framework, facilitate safe peer-learning opportunities for companies, and develop useful tools and resources tailored for sustainability practitioners supported by a rigorous research process.

Their growing community of members includes companies from across industries and around the world, including local companies Teck Resources and Port of Vancouver and international companies Biogen and Nedbank, as well as research institutions such as MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge Judge School of Business and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town. The project has benefitted from funding from over two-dozen companies, CPA Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Longtime member, Jamie Gray-Donald, now Vice President of Sustainability at QuadReal Property Group, describes the value of getting involved: “The combination of academic rigour in the content produced by the Embedding Project and the opportunity to collaborate with participating companies is a powerful mix. Sustainability is still in its infancy as a science and the Embedding Project is one of the very few places that is systematizing the fuzzy and complex parts that are likely the most influential to the long-term success of sustainability programs.”

The Peer-to-Peer meetings are also a time for the Embedding Project team to learn more about what the sustainability community at large needs. “It helps us understand what Corporate Sustainability Change Agents are grappling with and that helps us plan for and focus our ongoing research efforts,” says Bertels. “It’s also an opportunity to see that the research we do has value.”

The Embedding Project currently has two Regional Peer-to-Peer Networks, one in North America and one in South Africa. To learn more about the Embedding Project and the work that they do, please visit their website: