CSR In Canada: Who's Who and Why They Matter (Part 3: Conference Board of Canada)
By: Meirav Even-Har, Toronto
CSR "enablers" are the organizations that help drive corporate sustainability excellence and continuous improvement in Canada. In recognition of such key players in Canada's CSR network, this Part III of a series profiles The Conference Board of Canada. With vast research topics in the areas of: economic trends, organizational performance, and public policy there's a lot to choose from. Not all research is CSR focused, but much of it provides relevant insights into business issues in Canada, and in some way relate to social and environmental issues.
Research on its own is good, but to be valuable it needs to be harnessed and applied. To do so, The Conference Board organizes its research work around specific topics. Each topic has a policy team, and one or more Executive Networks. Each network is made of various stakeholders depending on the issues addressed. Networks thus drive timely and relevant research for specific industries or issues. Outcomes include publications and events where further discussions occur, with solutions in mind.
Research Areas > Research Topics > Executive Networks > Publications / Events.
Research Topic: Energy, Environment and Transportation
Among the many research focus areas, the Energy, Environment and Transportation topic is especially relevant to recent broader discussions in Canada about limits to growth, use of fossil fuels and climate change. The goal of the Energy, Environment and Transportation policy team is to "advance sustainability by providing Canadian leaders with environmental, economic, and social insights and by advising on key policy issues." 
Why have dedicated policy teams? With governments and corporate leaders as two core member-groups of the Conference Board, providing timely information and identifying practical solutions is key to driving change on two levels - business practice and public policy. There are five key areas of research that also feed into various Executive Networks discussions:
1. Clean energy
2. Climate change mitigation and adaptation
3. Environment and health
5. Innovation in the energy and transportation sectors. 
Executive Networks: Bringing real life issues & solutions to the table
Through Executive Networks, members are able to participate in facilitated discussions with industry peers. Two networks are especially relevant to Canadian CSR: Community Investment Council (CCI) and Business Council for Sustainability (BCS).
The CCI is a network of community investment professionals, responsible for corporate giving, stakeholder relations, partnerships and reputational management. One of CCI's key goals is to "Identify leading-edge, solution-based strategies that will position community investment as an integral component of... [a] company's business strategy."  Consistent with this goal is a soon-to-be released research report that will provide the results of a large countrywide survey on whether and how community investment is a contributor to increasing employee engagement. This will be the first uniquely Canadian survey on this topic and aims to contribute to the larger Canadian corporate community.
To learn more about The Conference Board of Canada, visit: [Website]
To read Part I of the series: Network for Business Sustainability, click HERE
To read Part II of the series: Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series, click HERE
 The Conference Board of Canada: Energy, Environment and Transportation (webpage)
 The Conference Board of Canada: Community Investment Council (webpage)
Image: Conference Board of Canada Logo