Inclusive and impactful purpose drives both wealth and intergenerational unity
We are living in a historic period of disruption. Amid the anxiety of a pandemic, wake-up calls of racial disparity and social injustice, there is a golden opportunity to think differently. About how we live, work and interact. Global events are threat accelerators to regional challenges. They highlight our need for collective sense-making. They signal inflection points to reframe issues and seize opportunities to effect real change.
There is strength in numbers
We need strong leadership to address our challenges. Canadian family business owners are uniquely qualified to drive positive change. An action-minded collective of individuals with the privilege of voice, power and influence can tackle Canada’s most pressing issues in lasting ways.
As employers of 6.9 million Canadians who contribute to almost 50% of private sector GDP, Canada’s family-owned enterprises matter. Imagine harnessing such force and prosperity to drive social, economic and environmental change for the better.
We could tackle big issues – poverty, climate change, healthcare access – that Canadian’s face in some way every day. There are darker sides to prosperity that some prefer to ignore. A great teacher once said: “Where there is suffering, it must be comprehended because when it is truly comprehended, the cause becomes evident, is willingly abandoned, and the solutions get fully developed”. This was true of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and this can be true for each of us as well.
As entrepreneurial Canadians, we are in an enviable position to leverage our prosperity for good. Yet we need to understand the problem. Through the UN Sustainable Development Goals program, a collection of 17 interlinked global objectives designed as a blueprint to achieve a more sustainable future for all, we can. And we are. You can too.
Some believe these goals are directed mainly at the developing world. Not so. We have our own uniquely Canadian challenges to which UN objectives apply. Quality education. Clean water. Clean energy. No poverty. Good health. Reducing inequality. These issues, and many others, are as Canadian as they are global.
This new way forward will drive economic growth while tackling challenges of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Through Family Enterprise Canada, you can seize an exciting opportunity: To learn from enterprising families, progressive businesses, sustainability-minded organizations, and others who are committed to sustainability. They’ve taken action. FEC is committed to the global Family Business for Sustainable Development initiative. Join us as we learn from each other and make a distinctly Canadian impact.
In a crisis there is opportunity
Crises are opportunities to unite and fight for worthy causes. They can unite governments, the private sector and individuals from diverse communities. They help bond generations in family enterprises that otherwise would be worlds apart. Indeed, our initiative is a chance for next gens to shape their futures beyond the horizon of current leaders.
Consider Canada’s poor socio-economic and environmental track records and the UN Sustainable Development Goals will resonate with those who wish to bring about real positive change. When we include all Canadians and meet these goals, we can achieve something great.
There is much to do and some Canadian family businesses have already stepped up. What can your family do? Reflect on your efforts and practices in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals listed here. Start a conversation with your stakeholders. Talk to younger family members. See what they have to say!
What does engagement look like? Your business could participate in a case study based on new ISO Sustainable Development Standards, for example increasing transparency about products and practices to limit environment impact. Or it could be benchmarking your progress as your own unique sustainable development journey unfolds.
Our goal is to document and share your family’s experiences and inspire others. We intend to measure our mutual successes in a drive towards collective improvement. Play your role!
Start by signing the Family Business for Sustainable Development pledge here. Be purpose-driven. Be sustainable. Create prosperity for all.
About Family Enterprise Foundation
We are associated with Family Enterprise Canada, the national community for family business in Canada. Our goal is to ensure the long-term success and continuity of enterprising families and their family enterprises, across generations! Family Enterprise Canada empowers business families and Family Enterprise Advisors to thrive by providing a dynamic peer community, family-focused learning, relevant insights, a family enterprise specific designation and - together with our Foundation - a voice for all. Learn more at familyenterprise.ca