Tackling Environmental and Social Issues
Our company, The Delphi Group, is one of the first thought leaders in climate change and corporate sustainability in North America. More importantly we are taking a leadership role by walking the talk.
"The TEC-inspired “aha” moment for me was when I realized it is up to us as individuals and more importantly as CEOs (of large or small companies) to stand up, give much more back to the community, enhance the quality of life for employees, and take a leadership role in catalyzing positive action to change our world for the better."
- Michael Gerbis
What I mean by this is that when I took over the company just over three years ago, I realized that leadership in this country around environmental and social issues was lacking at the corporate and government levels. While numerous individuals were taking initiatives and making a difference, the recession was forcing many corporations and governments to pull back their support for activities that were advancing sustainability and establishing strong environment policy. While we have been helping a small number of governments and leading corporations advance sustainability, we had to significantly advance our own actions, setting the example.
The TEC-inspired “aha” moment for me was when I realized it is up to us as individuals and more importantly as CEOs (of large or small companies) to stand up, give much more back to the community, enhance the quality of life for employees, and take a leadership role in catalyzing positive action to change our world for the better. I immediately convinced our Board to take on this challenge – I am proud to say they agreed and we, as a company of 20-plus employees, have taken several steps.
With an aggressive move into the large corporate marketplace, we influence leaders and create more change. When I started, we were doing 80 per cent of our business with government. Now we have more than doubled in size and are doing 70 percent of our business with companies including close to 20 of the largest in Canada – helping them understand the benefits of sustainable practices and, more importantly, helping them to implement strategies that reduce their environmental footprint and enhance the communities in which they work.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We have increased our own corporate giving. We now donate 1 per cent of our Annual Gross Sales to charity (>10 percent of gross profit last year). Delphi has continued to expand our charity annual baseball tournament which has raised over $40,000 for local community initiatives. Delphi employees volunteered over 600 hours of time last year.
We have become carbon neutral. Delphi purchases green electricity for our operations and has implemented numerous energy efficiency initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint.
In an attempt to transfer knowledge and advance exciting research in the areas of climate change and corporate sustainability, we have enhanced our student engagement by continuing our annual bursary for local students, establishing a new national scholarship for emerging environmental leaders, hired several interns and increased the number of guest lectures we are doing.
IMPROVED HR POLICIES
Our new and leading HR policies will enhance the quality of life for employees and further family-work balance for our employees.
These are just a few examples of what we have done to take a leadership role. Our steps have enhanced employee attraction and retention.
The Delphi Group was awarded National Employee of the year award for 2006 and 2008. These awards created a sense of pride, increase our brand and recognition in the marketplace and most importantly, made a difference while running a successful and profitable company.
I want to challenge all CEOs of TEC to push the limits and take this type of action. As CEOs, it is our role to take our leadership beyond just increasing profits for shareholders and make sure we change the world for the better, economically, socially and environmentally.
Michael Gerbis is the CEO of The Delphi Group, a strategic consulting firm concerned with sustainability, climate change and clean energy. Michael oversees the growth and strategic direction of The Delphi Group. On the project side, Michael provides strategic direction to corporate and government leaders, assisting them to develop and implement actions that will enhance corporate competitiveness and productivity, while transforming the organization into one that is more environmentally and socially responsible.
Michael has more than 18 years experience in both the operational and strategic aspects of environmental management. Prior to joining Delphi, Michael owned and operated a successful environmental engineering consulting firm.
MEMBER AT A GLANCE
- P.Eng; BASc, Chemical Engineering; M.Eng,
- Environmental Engineering
- Founder: Emerging Leaders Forum
- Former Managing Editor of Environmental Business Canada
- Canada’s 2013 Clean50 Award
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