How to get started
Based on her experience as an entrepreneur, Céline Juppeau, founder of Kotmo, shares her thoughts and approach with other entrepreneurs who are eager to upgrade to an eco-responsible business model.
By following a sustainable development approach, your business will gradually adopt management practices that improve your:
- Social setting
The purpose of this approach is to ensure that business activities positively influence the business and community by adopting innovative, eco-friendly management practices through open dialogue with stakeholders.
Source: www.economie.gouv.qc.ca - External link. This link will open in a new window. (French only)
Juppeau believes that new entrepreneurs bear an enormous responsibility to reflect on their long-term vision for the business and see how its values and model can embrace the environmental, social and economic dimensions. She shared her key principles for moving towards adopting a responsible management philosophy, as part of Rendez-vous Réseau M.
“Awareness is the foundation for everything,” says Juppeau. “The organization’s structure and service offering must take into account environmental and social aspects. As entrepreneurs, we’re responsible for understanding how our company will affect society 40 years from now. It’s the only way to build something sustainable while also ensuring the business stays viable.”
Define your vision
Based on this awareness, we need to question what we want to create, why and how. “Our vision of sustainable business involves clearly defining our business objectives so they align with our own, making thoughtful, responsible choices and keeping in mind that we can’t do everything at once,” she says. “To succeed, you need to do it gradually, step by step, and respect your limits by staying focused on what you want to achieve.”
Identify your levers for action
Where can we make a difference? “In my company, for example, my raw material supply and waste production were aspects that I identified for taking action,” she explains. “So, I started looking for solutions and explored the best practices for gradually taking control.”
She also stressed the importance of discussing her project, sharing her experiences and, naturally, listening to others. “This is the best way to make progress, and this approach requires a lot of reflection since we need to be aware of the impacts and possibilities for control in the future.”
Mobilize the team
According to Juppeau, it’s invaluable to achieve objectives as a team. Promoting this eco-friendly approach with employees is crucial since it can strike a chord with many workers who have environmental concerns. This initiative can help your troops to mobilize around personal values. “Furthering a cause that employees hold dear is a good way to retain them and give them another reason to choose an employer and commit to their success,” says Juppeau. “This vision brings them together and keeps them motivated on a daily basis.”
Use available tools
Created 15 years ago in the United States, the B Corp Certification designates that a company is having a positive impact on its governance, employees, clients, suppliers and society as a whole. “This tool helps entrepreneurs set objectives and gradually execute their approach over time,” states Céline Juppeau. “B Corp has an online questionnaire to see where we stand and identify our major areas to work on. While undergoing this certification, we need to comply with a section of the Act, which stipulates that the purpose of the business is to control and reduce its environmental, social and economic impact, not enrich shareholders. The United Nations also implemented a similar online tool.”
Maintain financial health
For a business trying to become sustainable, financial health is also a major corporate responsibility. The financial aspect is the most worrisome issue for many entrepreneurs who are willing to take responsible action, but are afraid that they will need to commit substantial expenses or see their profits negatively impacted in the short- and medium-term. “That’s why it’s important to change bit by bit and not rush in headfirst by making immediate, drastic changes,” emphasizes Juppeau. “Making gradual, deliberate progress is still the key to success.”
She also mentioned that funding agencies have been increasingly incorporating sustainable development into their eligibility criteria. “Many of them require companies to have such a policy,” she says. “As for Kotmo, we’re with Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins, which specializes in the social economy and in responsible investing.”
Position yourself for the future
Commit to adopting a sustainable development policy that combines social, environmental and economic responsibilities with sound governance, and reflects strong values and a genuine willingness to change. Now is the time to raise awareness worldwide and every little bit counts. Anything is possible if entrepreneurs make this job easier by moving forward one step at a time and by using the tools they have available.