Social Root Consulting – 2019 SDG Leadership Awards

Social Root Consulting


Industry:  Social and Environmental Consultancy

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Primary SDG Focus

Secondary SDG Focus

How was your primary SDG focus identified and prioritized in the company’s value chain?

Partnerships and collaborations are the backbone of successful and meaningful societal change. Systems are formed through silos, but to solve complex issues companies must rely on multi-disciplinary approaches and partnerships that advance solutions.  SRC is a platform where unique, specialized, and progressive people can focus their strengths toward projects that ignite passion and change. We leverage in-house partnerships and knowledge keepers to frame innovative practices for real change.

Social Root identified and prioritized partnerships and collaborations in order to provide holistic recommendations and innovative projects. Due to the diverse background each of our consultants bring to our business, we work on addressing issues related to food security, air quality and gender equality and sustainability. We first identified partnerships and collaboration as a priority within our own organization as we worked with one another collaborating to address complex social and environmental issues. We utilize and leverage our individual expertise and collaborate with various organizations and businesses to educate the public and develop new projects that will transform communities and businesses alike to become more sustainability conscious.

How was your primary SDG integrated and anchored throughout your business?

Partnerships and collaboration is at the core of SRC.  We believe that in order to contribute to intergenerational transformative and sustainable social change, partnerships between different levels of government, sectors and institutions is necessary.  SRC is a collective of consultants from diverse backgrounds, all collaborating towards a more sustainable society.  Additionally, the projects we work on bring together professionals and community members from different sectors.  We consult on three streams of services: research, development and facilitation.  Below are examples of how the projects we work on embody collaboration and partnerships.

  • Research – Tourism4SDGs19 Conference – SRC presented at the Tourism4SDGs19 conference in Auckland, New Zealand. The presentation focused on why the intersection between child welfare and the growth of Indigenous tourism is important within the Canadian context and called upon the collaboration and partnership among professionals in social work, community development, and the tourism sector.
  • Development – Five Acre Shaker Music Festival 2018 & 2019 – over the last 2 years SRC has been developing and implementing sustainability management strategies for the festival to ensure that it is as socially and environmentally sustainable as possible. This called upon the collaboration of musicians, artists, vendors, volunteers and festival coordinators to ensure a sustainable music festival.

Facilitation – Alberni Air Quality Society – SRC worked with the AAQS to develop a framework that is designed to address air quality by collaboration with different non-profit agencies, governments and community members in order to come up with strategies on how to improve the quality of air in the region.

Did you employ any innovative approaches in your efforts to implement the goal?

  • SRC’s mission is to “elevate the efforts of governments, businesses and organizations to be courageous leaders in their communities, by supporting the creation of new socially and environmentally conscious systems”.  Our goal and approach is to be able to support people to become courageous leaders, where they will decide to support and implement ideas and changes in their company and community that contribute to a more sustainable society, and that takes courage.  We work in partnership and collaboration with our clients who are also contributing to further the SDGs.A specific example of utilizing innovation to promote collaboration is through the Shaker’s Rain Barrel Project. For this project we developed an awareness campaign that brought several community stakeholders together in order to educate the public regarding water conservation and best practices. This project’s aim is to increase the number of households in Port Alberni who offset their water usage through alternative ways. Further, we worked with the arts council in the area to bring artists onboard, so that the barrels would be painted into beautiful art pieces. By engaging the artists with this project, it helped elevate the interest of the environmental campaign, therefore drawing in a broader community of people who are interested in supporting artists, and at the same time contributing to an environmental project.

Were any partnerships leveraged or created?


Since the creation of Social Root in 2017 our business has fostered many new partnerships and connections. We have created partnerships with non-profit organizations, private organizations and various government bodies.

Social Root works collaboratively with Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, to develop sustainable tourism curriculum to enhance Port Alberni’s economy and tourism industry while educating on cultural sensitivities and environmental stewardship. Through this process Social Root has connected with various small businesses and has secure additional contracts through the Chamber of Commerce, addressing tourism and sustainability. Social Root also collaborates with the annual Shaker Music Festival to promote sustainability. This contract requires that Social Root network with various sponsors, and event contributors.

Through contracts with the The Port Alberni Air Quality roundtable, Social Root has leveraged relationships with governments and businesses to bring awareness to air quality issues in the region and developing a new Terms of Reference with substantial input from local stakeholders.

Additionally, some of our main partnerships and collaborators are:

Non-profit organizations:

-Impact Travel Alliance

-Rollin Arts Centre

-Sustainability-Leaders Project

– The Alberni Valley Transitions Town Society


-City of Port Alberni

-Port Alberni Port Authority

-Tourism Vancouver Island

-Nuu-chah-nulth Education Training Program

– Island Health

What communications strategy did you employ to share the initiative with your stakeholders?

Our stakeholders are our clients and the community at large; we communicate our initiatives through various channels in order to share progress and successes of our company, and stay transparent in our mission.

Communication strategies include:

    • Blog posts
    • Facebook and Instagram
    • Emails
    • Reports
    • Journal articles
    • Presentations

How were KPIs and the levels of success outlined and defined?

Within each project we determine the goals and outcomes our clients seek. Through initial and ongoing conversations with our clients we distil the larger goals into feasible milestone and indicators for success. These indicators are unique to the project, allowing us to customize for desired results. Below are specific examples of recent projects and KPIs used to meet client’s needs and project outcomes:

Sustainability initiatives: Shaker Music Festival

Working with the planning committee we committed to:

-Increasing our festival goers awareness of best practices by measuring water usage/consumption from our water sites, single use plastic usage, and by tracking carpooling/shuttle services

-Reduce the amount of waste each year by 25% that goes to the landfill

-Measuring carbon emissions produced from the festival, and offset Co2 emissions by 10% each year. This is conducted through a program software, and offsetting is applied through a third party representative

– Collaborate and partner with at least 5 organizations that align with our sustainability values

Intersections of Child Welfare and Indigenous tourism growth in Canada

– Accepted and invited to present at the conference

– The feedback we received at the conference demonstrated that this topic is novel, and yet to be fully explored. Academics and practitioners were interested in learning more on how they could approach this subject in their own work.

– Invited to submit a journal article for potential publication for a special addition in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, with a focus on the SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals.

What were some key lessons learned? Please also elaborate on any setbacks you may have encountered.

As a young consultancy, Social Root Consulting is currently growing and learning through new experiences and experiencing substantial growth within a transitional time towards sustainability. Due to this, Social Root is constantly developing new methods of engagement, collaboration and partnerships.

As a networking consultancy, Social Root has had to balance the intricacies of working within diverse agencies such as non-profit organizations, small businesses and multi-level governments. Social Root must consider varying resources, perspectives and objectives while developing new ideas, coordinating programs and educating the community. Through these learning curves, Social Root has become innovative in their collaboration methods, and their promotion of the SDGs.

Furthermore, one of the main challenges that Social Root works on is creating actionable change that community members can learn and incorporate into the daily lives. These actionable changes include general life style alterations, which require time and routine. Behavioral changes are an ongoing process and will result from establishing consistency in our messaging and ensuring unwavering participation within our community.

What were the key impacts and results?

We have been recognized for our social and environmental work as finalist in:

  1. Eco-star Awards

Category: Social Innovation

The Ecostar Awards recognize outstanding environmental achievements and leadership on Vancouver Island. The awards are presented to island based businesses, non-profits, academia, governments and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in sustainability.

  1. Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards

Category: Green Business

The Business Excellence Awards recognize entrepreneurs, businesses, individuals, and organizations that work hard in the Alberni Valley to make positive impacts within the community. They celebrate innovation, customer service excellence, long standing businesses, and rising stars.