The History of the Forum


The Soul of the Next Economy Forum owes its creation to the Calgary West chapter of the Rotary Club.

For many years, the chapter had hosted the Calgary Microcredit Conference at the Danish Canadian Club. At the 2013 Social Enterprise World Forum held in Calgary, Bob Schulz from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary introduced Steve Rickard from the Calgary West chapter to Randy Poon, the Chair of the Business Program at Ambrose University. Steve was looking for a local university to come alongside the chapter to carry on the aims of the Microcredit Conference. From this initial meeting, Paul Gomes from the FigTree Foundation, along with Gary Ellis brainstormed ideas and the Soul of the Next Economy Forum was born with a broader focus building upon the Calgary Microcredit Conference’s international community development emphasis and exploring the role of business in fostering and creating both better business and a better society. This included the field of Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, and Poverty Reduction (in collaboration with business). In the months following, the Derek Cook, Executive Director of the Canadian Poverty Institute, and eventually, Franco Savoia, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary became one of the hosts of the Forum.

From these historical roots, the Forum continues to explore ways business can positively influence society. New partners have emerged over the years and we look forward to new forms of collaboration.

Read more from the Rotary Club: "Rotary Supports Microcredit Forum in Calgary October 2014"

Better Business Profile: Enbridge’s Approach to Energy Efficiency

Written by Sarah Naiman.

As part of CBSR's "Do Business Like a Canadian" campaign, they interviewed Enbridge, a Canadian company who has become a leader in today's global energy industry. Linda Coady, Enbridge's Chief Sustainability Officer, moderated last year's Executive Roundtable. Leor Rotchild, Executive Director of CBSR, will be hosting this year's Executive Roundtable.


"There is a pressing need for the big transformative ideas that can dramatically move the dial and, at the same time, the more nimble ones that enable everyday change in the right direction.”

Linda Coady - Chief Sustainability Officer, Enbridge Inc. (at the 2017 Executive Roundtable)

At Enbridge, moving toward a low-carbon energy future is about more than just growing the company’s already sizeable investments in renewable energy and electrical transmission. It also means considering the big picture on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction across some of North America’s largest transportation and distribution systems for oil and natural gas. In 2016 Enbridge adopted a new climate policy that mandates all of its different business units to develop and implement multi-year plans and goals for carbon reduction and energy efficiency.

Setting Goals

Integrating the potential risks and opportunities from current and emerging carbon pricing policies, building codes and efficiency mandates, among other inputs from both Canada and the US, takes significant time and attention. For example, Enbridge’s natural gas utilities – Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas – are involved in demand side management programs in which they must work within their respective regulatory frameworks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So how does an enterprise transition to a lower carbon future, and develop climate goals and strategies?

Working Together

Enbridge put together a sustainability team that works closely with each of the company’s business units to develop their carbon and energy performance plans. Driven by the objective to reduce Enbridge’s carbon footprint and improve the company’s energy efficiency, the sustainability team is collaborating with business units to develop plans and goals specific to their current and proposed operations and facilities, focusing on the unique circumstances of each individual business unit.

Advice for Other Companies

The sustainability team shared some advice for other companies who are looking to undertake their own company-wide energy efficiency targets.

  1. Gain executive leadership support. It is essential that top-level leaders are on board with setting realistic goals. Some business units may need capital to adjust their regular programs or integrate new processes to achieve their goals, and the company needs to be in a position where senior executives support these efforts.
  1. Elect a champion. Each of Enbridge’s business units has a “champion” for goal-setting efforts.  This gives the business units accountability for their successes, and a representative from the business unit instead of executive leadership helps to motivate the team.
  2. Facilitate collaboration and ownership. Allowing the business units to set their own goals and objectives using a bottom-up approach – instead of imposing them from the top-down – encourages teams to work together and take true ownership of their work. This creates high levels of buy-in from the members of these teams. Makkinga, Suta and Talwar are instrumental in this initiative through their coaching and consultation and by providing Enbridge’s business units with new tools to evaluate costs and benefits of different approaches to carbon reduction and energy efficiency.

Enbridge’s purpose is to provide North Americans with the energy they want and need. The company believes that its commitment to emissions reduction and supporting the transition to a lower carbon future provides a unique opportunity to remain competitive and adaptable as the company responds to changing consumer and societal expectations.

Watch Leor Rotchild's Walrus Talk: Do Business Like a Canadian
Are you doing business like a Canadian? We want to share your story and feature your business as Better Business Profile.
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Looking forward: 10 ways organizations can incorporate CSR, and 5 points of caution


A review of the 2017 Executive Roundtable Session. The third and final round of the Executive Roundtable focused on what organizations are planning to do, in the coming year, in the area of CSR.

10 ways organizations planned to incorporate CSR after the Forum:

  1. Champions heroes
  2. Invest in safety
  3. Engage personally with organizations as opposed to simply investing money
  4. Help students engage in social innovation
  5. Encourage employees to volunteer on company time
  6. Create a community to share what they are doing with other entrepreneurs and learn from each other
  7. Build relationships through events
  8. Partner with indigenous communities, indigenous accelerators and indigenous companies
  9. Build capacity in volunteers
  10. Raise funds for non-profits in different ways including sponsorship, fees for service, selling products and government funding

At the same time, part of the discussion also focused on issues and areas of caution. Knowing that practices and policies can’t change overnight, and that micro-steps towards better CSR practices was the key, participants discussed how quick fixes typically create more problems.


5 points of caution:

  1. Not all employees value CSR or are not sure what the value of CSR is
  2. Sometimes it is difficult to gain interest and support for CSR from companies
  3. Many companies are still not making CSR mean something - it is just words or a pool of funds to them so that their stakeholders believe they are good citizens
  4. Not all groups have the tools to share stories around micro-enterprise - in particular those aged 30-50 years
  5. There are differences in how different age demographics react to issues and share stories

“There is a pressing need for the big transformative ideas that can dramatically move the dial and, at the same time, the more nimble ones that enable everyday change in the right direction.”

-Linda Coady

Chief Sustainability Officer, Enbridge Inc.

Moderator - Executive Roundtable


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People First: 6 ways companies can integrate responsible business practices


A review of the 2017 Executive Roundtable Session. The second round focused on the work environment, technology, and collaboration.

Corporate Social Responsibility is so much more than companies giving money and support non-profits. Companies have a responsibility to their own people.

CSR needs to be “less like a badge” and more woven into the fabric of the organization.

6 ways to integrate responsible business practices, and put people first:

  1. Periodic evaluations of stakeholder/employee performance against the mission statement
  2. Involve more people - this leads to better ideas, more acceptance and engagement
  3. Encourage employees to start their own initiatives
  4. Report and publish reports on the impact of CSR
  5. Improve the skills of people in the community where they operate - this benefits the company and the whole community
  6. Don’t just tolerate, rather EMBRACE diversity

What are other ways companies and organizations can practice their values to strengthen the work environment?


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