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IABC Communicating Social Responsibility Conference

Delivering corporate social responsibility messages that engage employees, enhance reputations and address society's challenges

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Browse the program below.

Schedule at a glance

Thursday, 16 October

7:45 a.m.

Registration

8:15–8:40 a.m.

Continental breakfast and opening remarks

A new International Standard for Social Responsibility: Global learnings for communicators
Presenters / Michelle Bernhart / True Blue Communications
Mary-Ellen Hynd / Humber College

8:45–9:45 a.m.

Opening keynote address

You can’t spin Mother Nature: The public relations of climate change
Presenter / James Hoggan / Hoggan & Associates

10–11:15 a.m.

Sustainability: How to engage stakeholders
Presenter / Robert Safrata / Novex Delivery Solutions

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Does anyone care? Communicating out on Vancity’s accountability report
Presenters / Tonya Frizzell / Vancity Credit Union
Joanne Westwood / Vancity Group

12:30–1:45 p.m.

Luncheon keynote address

Raising our game: The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games—a catalyst for engagement and sustainable legacies
Presenter / Ann Duffy / Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games

2–3 p.m.

Social marketing makes its way into Canada’s last remaining wild spaces
Presenters / Selena McLachlan / Mountain Equipment Co-op
Tim Southam / Mountain Equipment Co-op

3:15–4:15 p.m.

The suite spot: Evolving your sustainability report into a communication suite
Presenter / Lynn Patterson / RBC Financial Group

4:15–5:15 p.m.

Closing keynote address

Corporate responsibility communicators: From the back room to the front line
Presenter / Rick Petersen / NATIONAL Public Relations

Friday, 17 October

7:45–8:30 a.m.

Continental breakfast

8:30–9:10 a.m.

Morning keynote address

What drives trust in companies
Presenter / William L. George / Edelman

9:15–10:15 a.m.

Corporate social responsibility as a key differentiator
Presenter / William Azaroff / Vancity

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Transparency, focus and alignment: Farm Credit Canada's corporate social responsibility journey
Presenter / Kellie Garrett, ABC / Farm Credit Canada

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Closing luncheon and keynote address

Innovation and leadership in corporate social responsibility
Presenter / James Tansey, Ph.D. / University of British Columbia

Full program

Thursday, 16 October

7:45 a.m.
Registration

8:15–8:40 a.m.
Continental breakfast and opening remarks:

A new International Standard for Social Responsibility: Global learnings for communicators
Join Michelle Bernhart and Mary-Ellen Hynd for an informative and engaging presentation on the new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26000 International Standard for Social Responsibility. They will share relevant learnings, trends and progress from their participation in developing the standard on behalf of IABC—along with more than 100 global stakeholder groups—at the September 2008 ISO global plenary held in Santiago, Chile.

You will learn:

  • How this unique standard differs from others such as the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Guidelines and the ISO 14000 series, and ways it can be used by communicators
  • The seven principles identified by the standard as critical for proactive social responsibility, and tips on how communicators can integrate them into their organizations’ daily practices
  • Global trends and success stories, including why ongoing stakeholder engagement is a central element of social responsibility

Michelle Bernhart is president of True Blue Communications, which helps organizations strengthen social responsibility performance, achieve strategic objectives, enhance brand and manage risk through credible and engaging communications. With more than 20 years of experience, Bernhart has helped global companies establish comprehensive corporate responsibility improvement programs, led communications and reporting, and developed training and outreach for employee engagement. She currently chairs IABC’s social responsibility committee, and is an appointed expert in the development of the global ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, where she has served as an author, reviewer and member of a key task force.

Mary-Ellen Hynd is a seasoned communications strategist and facilitator skilled at engaging stakeholders to create solutions that achieve business goals. Hynd’s passion and focus is social responsibility and in particular, community investment and building partnerships between the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Her experience includes full time leadership and consulting roles for organizations including RBC-Royal Bank, Direct Energy, Ontario’s Regulatory Health Colleges, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Schulich’s MBA Consulting Practice. She is a part-time professor in the public relations and business programs at Humber College, creating and leading instruction for communication courses. Hynd represents IABC as an expert in the development of the ISO 26000 International Standard for Social Responsibility.

8:45–9:45 a.m.
Opening keynote address:

James Hoggan photoYou can’t spin Mother Nature: The public relations of climate change

In a world of manipulative corporations, cynical journalists and skeptical readers, climate change has risen as a breaking-point issue—both environmentally and socially. In this provocative presentation, James Hoggan will track the science—and the public relations—behind the climate change debate.

Attend to hear Hoggan:

  • Trace a history of public relations manipulation techniques
  • Document the links between energy interests and climate change denying scientists
  • Identify the lessons that every communicator should take away on the risks of spinning a message when the truth—ultimately and inevitably—will overtake events

James Hoggan, president of the public relations firm Hoggan & Associates, has spent three decades representing a full spectrum of corporate, government and nonprofit clients. Hoggan is the chair of Canada’s leading environmental organization, the David Suzuki Foundation, a trustee of the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, and a founding director of The Climate Project Canada, which recently organized the first Canadian version of the Al Gore Inconvenient Truth “bootcamp.” He is the co-founder of the climate change web site, DeSmogBlog.com, which the Times of London lists among the top 50 eco-blogs in the world. Hoggan’s first book, Do the Right Thing, is currently being readied for publication.

10–11:15 a.m.

Sustainability: How to engage stakeholders
Novex Couriers has a strategic objective to become a truly sustainable organization, creating a triple bottom line that includes a social, economic and environmental focus. Novex understands that the nature of its business contributes to current environmental problems and is proactively taking steps to develop sustainable business practices. In this session, you will learn about SEE-IT, the real-time reporting tool that Novex uses to engage internal and external stakeholders in its sustainability efforts.

You will learn how to:

  • Communicate to stakeholders using the media
  • Get the most from your speaking engagements
  • Use SEE-IT, a real-time, triple-bottom-line reporting tool

Robert Safrata, CEO of Novex Couriers, has inspired the company to embrace sustainability practices that include the addition of gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles to the company’s fleet of more than 110 vehicles. Novex is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations, including its fleet, office and business practices. An Al Gore trained speaker for An Inconvenient Truth, Safrata is an active partner of Paradigm Partners, a corporate investment group that comprises of the former executive management team of Eaglequest Golf Centers.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Does anyone care? Communicating out on Vancity’s accountability report
In the grand scheme of things, Vancouver-based Vancity is a small player in the financial services world. Yet, Vancity is consistently ranked highly internationally in the accountability reporting arena. During this session, you'll find out some of the reasons why Vancity has a top-rated report. You will learn about the technical aspect of reporting and the communication principles that bring it to life.

Come to this session and hear:

  • An overview of Vancity's sustainability reporting process and how the company decides what to include in the report
  • Reasons why reporting makes Vancity a better organization
  • The practicalities of packaging hundreds of pieces of data and best practices for delivering it to key audiences and making it relevant

Tonya Frizzell is a communication consultant with Vancity Credit Union, Canada's largest credit union. She is responsible for communicating Vancity's Community Leadership Strategy, which includes sharing Vancity's sustainability story with the company's 2,600 employees and 400,000 members. She has received numerous accolades for her reporting work including three IABC Silver Leaf awards for annual and accountability reports. Vancity's 2004-05 report was named "Best Sustainability Report in North America" from Ceres-ACCA—a major coup for a small financial institution.

Joanne Westwood, senior manager of accountability programs, oversees the accountability framework for the Vancity Group. Key responsibilities include the development, implementation and continuous improvement of the stakeholder-based accountability reporting process and supporting the organization to implement its ethical policy.

12:30–1:45 p.m.
Luncheon keynote address:

Ann Duffy photoRaising our game: The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games—a catalyst for engagement and sustainable legacies

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has implemented an intensive sustainability platform including accountability, environmental stewardship and impact reduction, social inclusion and responsibility, Aboriginal participation, economic benefits and sport for sustainable living. Attend this session to hear Ann Duffy, the committee’s corporate sustainability officer, share some road stories on stakeholder engagement and provide a sneak peek on early legacies.

Learnings include:

  • Choosing what matters
  • Communicating to various audiences with different interests
  • Sustainability reporting for a project entity

Ann Duffy is corporate sustainability officer for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She is responsible for the design and implementation of VANOC’s approach to ensuring accountability for its sustainability performance. As part of the sustainability management and reporting system, Duffy also guides VANOC’s supply chain program called “Buy Smart,” which focuses on sustainable procurement, ethical sourcing and capacity building for business and community benefits. Before joining VANOC, Duffy was vice president of sustainable development at CH2M Hill Canada. She is currently a board member for the International Centre for Sustainable Cities and The Natural Step Canada.

2–3 p.m.

Social marketing makes its way into Canada’s last remaining wild spaces
Less than 10 percent of Canada’s great wilderness is protected. Sound alarming? One retailer thought so. Find out how Mountain Equipment Co-op and its national conservation partner, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, joined forces and leveraged each others’ strengths to take on the challenge of protecting a much larger percentage of land.

Learn how Mountain Equipment Co-op:

  • Established an emotional connection with its audience using a social marketing movement
  • Used online engagement as a central hub for social activity
  • Incorporated internal communication, stakeholder engagement and issue management in launching the initiative

Selena McLachlan is the marketing and research manager for Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Canada’s largest retail consumer co-operative with a customer base of nearly three million. McLachlan oversees national marketing and research efforts including branding, segment strategies, multi-channel programs and social marketing. She played a key role in MEC’s award-winning ad campaign, “Leave Prepared,” in addition to an extensive re-branding project recently recognized by ReBrand 100.

Tim Southam is Mountain Equipment Co-op’s public affairs manager, responsible for corporate communication, issues management and media relations. In this role, he oversees internal communication and provides communication support to the governing board. Southam led the communication team that supported MEC’s decision to stop selling products containing bisphenol-A. He also participated in developing new creative and tactics for the 2008 board of directors election, which received an IABC Bronze Quill Award.

3:15–4:15 p.m.

The suite spot: Evolving your sustainability report into a communication suite
Corporate responsibility (CR) reports are costly and labor-intensive. The worst question that editors can be asked after all of their work is, "Who's reading this thing?" The truth is that not many people read CR Reports. This session will explore using a CR report as the starting point for a smart suite of communication with examples from RBC, which has been producing sustainability reports since 1999. Learn how Canada’s largest financial institution transitioned its lengthy sustainability report into a suite of communication and reporting tools tailored to key audiences across appropriate media and touch points.

Learnings include how to:

  • Avoid the perception of “greenwashing”
  • Brand specific CR programs, such as the RBC Environmental Blueprint and the RBC Blue Water Project
  • Help your company deal with SRI “survey fatigue” using an efficient reporting strategy

Lynn Patterson is director of corporate responsibility for RBC Financial Group, overseeing the company’s global corporate responsibility strategy, including programs, communication and reporting. She has been the managing editor of RBC’s annual corporate responsibility report since 1999, and oversees all of the company’s sustainability reporting. Patterson is a speechwriter for the company’s CEO and one of the company’s subject matter specialists on diversity, immigration, economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and sustainability reporting. She is also a member of the board advisory committee on sustainability for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

4:15–5:15 p.m.

Closing keynote address:

Rick Peterson photoCorporate responsibility communicators: From the back room to the front line

While much energy has been devoted to improving corporate responsibility (CR) communication, less attention has been paid to the effectiveness of professional CR communicators themselves. Many communicators craft messages designed to convince, cajole or charm their audiences, but when it comes to inspiring responsible behavior and affecting change, without solid research and a clear understanding of mutual benefits these messages will fall on deaf ears.

This interactive presentation will explore:

  • The daunting challenges and exciting opportunities of the emerging CR communication profession
  • The trials and triumphs of overcoming denial, fear, ignorance, skepticism and, especially, organizational inertia
  • Building from the inside out

Rick Petersen is head of the corporate responsibility practice of NATIONAL Public Relations, which was recently ranked among the Top 10 in the world for communications firms by Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine. Described in a recent issue of Marketing magazine as “one of the world’s leading experts in corporate responsibility,” Petersen serves on the advisory board for the Conference Board of Canada's annual Carbon Disclosure Project and is the author of the Capital Markets and Sustainability report for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. He is also responsible for the Tremblant Forum on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, an annual international conference . Petersen’s articles have appeared in Corporate Governance Quarterly, Marketing, and the book, Sustainable Development & Communications.

Friday, 17 October

7:45–8:30 a.m.
Continental breakfast

8:30–9:10 a.m.
Morning keynote address:

William L. George photoWhat drives trust in companies

What type of organizations do opinion leaders in Canada trust the most, and why? What drives these leaders to trust certain companies and not others? Find out the answers to these questions and others, when William L. George, senior vice president and national leader of the corporate social responsibility and sustainability practice at Edelman Canada, presents the results of an important Edelman study known as the Edelman Trust Barometer, which is the most extensive global survey of opinion leaders aged 25–64 in 18 countries, notably Canada.

This session will:

  • Examine the relationship between a company’s corporate social responsibility commitment and its ability to garner trust
  • Discuss the growing body of evidence about this relationship
  • Highlight the buttons to push and not to push in order to capitalize from being a trusted institution

William L. George, senior vice president and practice leader of the corporate social responsibility and sustainability practice at Edelman Canada, has extensive senior experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Previously, George was senior vice president, communications and government relations at CGI Group, the world’s largest IT and business process services provider. Before moving to the private sector, George held senior management positions in the Government of Canada, notably in the Privy Council Office and in the Department of National Defense. He was also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) policy planning staff. George has supported several environmental groups such as the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Forest Ethics, the Forest Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund in their efforts to constructively engage large corporations.

9:15–10:15 a.m.

Corporate social responsibility as a key differentiator
Do well by doing good. Increasing community engagement and leading key social and environmental issues can improve your brand and your business. Trust and accountability are two key drivers of success at Vancity, which are directly impacted by demonstrating a commitment to shared values.

In this session, you will learn how good corporate citizenship:

  • Increases transparency, accountability and trust
  • Improves your ability to leverage social media
  • Ensures your marketing dollars go further

William Azaroff directs online strategy and community engagement at Vancity, Canada's largest credit union, where he pioneered ChangeEverything.ca, the groundbreaking change-themed online community. Azaroff builds on a decade of experience at digital agencies driving strategy, extending brands to the Internet and building relationships for companies in several verticals, including Honda, Disney, Intuit Canada and the Government of British Columbia.

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Transparency, focus and alignment: Farm Credit Canada's corporate social responsibility journey
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) works best when aligned with an organization’s vision and values and backed by corporate initiatives and measures. Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has embarked on an ambitious CSR program and reports progress quarterly to its board of directors and senior management team. Last year, FCC won an Imagine Canada “Caring Company” award.

In this session, you will learn how FCC:

  • Selected its areas of CSR focus and desired end state and obtained board support
  • Ensured alignment between its vision, values, internal cultural practices and strategies/measures
  • Learned lessons on enlisting support from multi-disciplinary areas

Kellie Garrett, ABC, has been called a trailblazer who blends the strategic with the practical. As senior vice president of strategy, knowledge and reputation for one of Canada’s top 50 companies, Farm Credit Canada, Garrett is responsible for the company's business strategy, innovation, knowledge management, strategic intelligence and communication. In 2007, Garrett was named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. She is a board director with Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, past-chair of the IABC Research Foundation, chair of the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and a lay counselor to parents of children with autism.

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Closing luncheon and keynote address:

Innovation and leadership in corporate social responsibility
James Tansey, Ph.D.
, is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia where he leads the Sauder School of Business’ activities on sustainability and social innovation. He also works closely with the Business Family Centre to identify areas where advances in social innovation can meet philanthropic goals. His current research focuses on emerging international markets for carbon exchange, food security and aquaculture and strategic corporate social responsibility. He is co-founder of a Canadian carbon offset company called offsetters.com and works with start-up companies in the green technology sector. Tansey has recently worked as an advisor and contributor to the World Economic Forum, the U.K. National Audit Office, Oxford Analytica, Cisco, Isis Innovation (Oxford), Environment Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

2008 Employee Communication Conference