Celesa Horvath's blog

I’m a consultant, with some 20 years of experience in environmental assessment, regulatory affairs, corporate responsibility, and sustainability.  I’ve been involved in projects across Canada and internationally, including China and the Middle East, for clients in the energy, mining, infrastructure, transportation, and government sectors, providing both strategic advice and practical implementation support.  I strive for transformational corporate responsibility wherever possible.

I chair the Board of the Southwest Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative, a community-driven multi-stakeholder synergy group established in 2002, to foster sustainability by improving the community’s knowledge and building engagement, collaboration, and decision-making capacity.

I believe in personal responsibility and integrity.

The Horizon of Industry

In 1941, the House of Seagram – then a Canadian maker of whiskeys, and later the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world – privately published Stephen Leacock’s “Canada: The Foundations of its Future,” a history of Canada’s growth and development to that time.

Samuel Bronfman, the founder of Distillers Corporation, which acquired Seagram in 1928, wrote the foreword to the book, explaining his rationale for publishing such a history when the country was at war. He was motivated by a desire to bolster public morale, but also – and...

Don’t Leave Your Baggage Unattended: Corporate Responsibility Lessons from a Frequent Flyer

As much as I try to telework to minimize our firm’s environmental footprint, there are times when I just have to travel to meet client needs.  So I fly.  A lot.  I can, like most frequent flyers, recite the safety briefing from memory.  On a recent trip, it occurred to me there are gems of wisdom in that briefing that we can apply to the world of corporate responsibility, if we look at them creatively. 

Don’t Leave Your Baggage Unattended” - You often hear this announcement in the holding...

Don’t Leave Your Baggage Unattended: Corporate Responsibility Lessons from a Frequent Flyer

As much as I try to telework to minimize our firm’s environmental footprint, there are times when I just have to travel to meet client needs.  So I fly.  A lot.  I can, like most frequent flyers, recite the safety briefing from memory.  On a recent trip, it occurred to me there are gems of wisdom in that briefing that we can apply to the world of corporate responsibility, if we look at them creatively. 

Don’t Leave Your Baggage Unattended” - You often hear this announcement in the holding room, before boarding....

The White House Blip: Would Ethical Standards be Helpful?

CELESA HORVATH 

This morning, an Associated Press Twitter account was hacked, and a false tweet reported explosions in the White House that injured Barack Obama.  There’s been no better illustration of the potential impact of social media on the economy than this:

...

Social Licence: a Critical Success Factor for Resource Development

CELESA HORVATH

Each year since 2009, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) hosts the Pacific Energy Summit, an invitation-only event that “convenes leaders from government, business, and research to explore innovative solutions to the dual challenges of rising energy demand and climate change.  By bridging the commercial, public, and nonprofit sectors, the Summit informs policy and inspires collaboration to help support sustainable economic development.”  

This week,...

Sustainability? Ask Why.

By CELESA HORVATH

Last week, I wrote about the importance of cultural integration and the need for a shared vision to guide the sustainability agenda, particularly through times of leadership change.  That made me reflect on how we get to that shared vision: we start with ‘why‘.

In my view, “why?” is one of the most critical questions any organization must ask itself before embarking on a sustainability journey.

Recently, I was chatting with a...

The Continuity of Sustainability

By CELESA HORVATH

The Network for Business Sustainability recently articulated their “Top 10” sustainability challenges for Canadian business in 2013.  I think many readers will probably agree these challenges face businesses around the globe as...

Maximum City: Engaging Youth in Urban Sustainability

Last month, I had the opportunity – and the privilege – to participate in the Maximum City program in Toronto.  This program is the brainchild of Josh Fullan, a high school humanities and languages teacher at the University of Toronto Schools, my alma mater.  Last year, Josh ran a pilot...

Guest Post: A National Vision of a Sustainable Future

Qatar has something every country needs.  I’m not referring to oil or natural gas, although Qatar has both in abundance.  I mean a national vision of and strategy for sustainable development.

In less than a generation, Qatar has experienced huge economic and social transformation.  The discovery and development of its hydrocarbon resources has fuelled – pardon the pun – Qatar’s economic growth from a small nation dependent on fishing and pearling to one of the highest per capita income countries in the world.

In the face of that rapid expansion, however, new challenges...

Canada’s Sustainability Heroes: the Clean 50

Earlier this month, Delta Managementannounced the inaugural Clean 50, a group of committed individuals who have made significant contributions to sustainability or “clean capitalism” in Canada in recent years.  These 50, either...

The Red Flag over Playmobil’s Castle

 My daughter loves Playmobil.  She spends hours constructing and then animating complex scenes and she’s a master at combining parts from different sets to create new structures that aren’t in the well-thumbed Playmobil catalogue.  Except for the unpleasantness of stepping on a rogue piece in the dark or sifting through the dust of the vacuum cleaner bag to recover some special plastic bit,...

What Makes a Sustainability Leader?

Many of us in the corporate responsibility and sustainability community were saddened this week by the death of Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface.  If you don’t already know his story, Ray is perhaps best known for his compelling description of the ‘spear in the chest’ epiphany that shifted his environmental paradigm from old-school...

A Work-Life Balance Standard: Helping Employers Distinguish Themselves

Human resources specialists (and corporate social human resources specialists, as Elaine Cohen prefers), take note!  Earlier this month, the ...

Social Media and Corporate Responsibility

Getinvolved.ca is a fantastic initiative focused on connecting individuals and organizations to make change possible. They’re the folks behind Power of the Hour, a national campaign to encourage Canadians to stand up and count the power of volunteer time. They’ve also done a whole series of interesting videos, called Digital U, about various aspects of social media....

Cultivating a Community of Practice

Two years ago today, I launched the Canadian CSR and SD Practitioners Network on LinkedIn.

At the time, I saw a need for a network to connect individual corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners in Canada.  There were already several Canadian (and, of course, international) organizations bringing together businesses and corporations around these issues, but, for the most part, these were...

Dealing with Despots

Each day, the Globe and Mail – one of Canada’s national newspapers – runs a reader poll on a “hot topic.”  Today, in light of current events in Libya and elsewhere, the ...

Tailoring a Bespoke CR Strategy: Why You Should Engage Employees

If you had a chance to take part in or review the #CSRchat on Twitter this week, you will have gleaned some key points about employee engagement in the context of corporate responsibility:  what it means; some examples of who’s doing it well; what might be required to undertake employee engagement; how it might be measured; who might be involved.  But, surprisingly, not too much was said about the benefits of undertaking employee engagement – perhaps there just wasn’t enough time!

Some of the benefits that I heard from other...

Advice for the Shoestring Practitioner: Sustainability Mapping



Are you a Shoestring Practitioner?  A Shoestring Practitioner is someone with a passion for doing good, for doing the right thing, for doing things better, but who is working on a shoestring:  constrained in his or her efforts by a lack of resources, such as staff, time, money, or organizational support.  This post is intended for the Shoestring Practitioner, especially one who is at or near the beginning of a sustainability journey in their organization, but may also be helpful to others trying

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