Environmental and social issues are growing in importance and increasingly affecting the viability of business – and the communities and environments where they operate. A proven way to address these issues is through partnerships in which business and non-profits collaborate for mutual benefit and create solutions to societal challenges.
Faced with these sizable issues, it can be hard to know where to start – and to determine where the greatest value lies. Taking a page from lean innovation, start with a pilot project, to test and scale what works.
The HP Canada and WWF-Canada partnership is an example of a long-term relationship between two organizations that started small. It grew to have sustained benefits to both, while contributing to significant societal outcomes over time.
This case study profiles the 10-year collaboration between HP Canada and WWF-Canada in a quest to reduce the environmental footprint of Canadian business. Both HP Canada and WWF-Canada benefitted by tapping into the expertise and resources of one another, engaging employees, building their brands and increasing customer and public attraction and engagement to further environmental conservation and raise funds for wildlife in Canada.
In the early days, the partnership was traditional and transactional. HP Canada contributed to fundraising events to help WWF-Canada collect contributions for wildlife conservation. As the years passed and trust grew, the two organizations began to collaborate on social innovations that would benefit not only the environment, but their respective organizations.
A flagship program that has flourished with the partnership is called Living Planet at Work (LP@W). HP and WWF-Canada worked together to develop resources, tools and strategic guidance to engage worksites across Canada on environmental business practices. Companies that joined LP@W received tools and support to transition their organization towards sustainability and were given opportunities to participate in WWF-Canada’s employee engagement and fundraising campaigns.
LP@W is targeted both at front-line employees who want to promote conservation at their companies (called “champions”) and at decision-makers who want to initiate large-scale change. HP Canada’s sponsorship enabled WWF-Canada to deliver the program free-of-charge, reducing barriers to business participation. More than 1,600 corporate champions signed up, representing over 1,300 worksites, and raised nearly $2M for WWF-Canada’s conservation programs.
The world needs more of this kind of cross-sectoral collaboration to address the societal challenges ahead, enabling 10 billion people to live well on a healthy planet by 2050.
Want to know more about how companies and non-profits can work together to address the most complex and critical issues of our time? Read more about the HP Canada and WWF-Canada partnership for insights and small action steps and pivots that can lead to significant impacts.