Pret a Manger, United Kingdom

Pret A Manger is a UK-based fast food chain with a twist: sandwiches and salads are made in-house throughout each day using natural, preservative-free ingredients. In an industry full of big sandwich factories, and bland, highly processed foods, Pret’s unique formula is redefining the traditional wisdom on fast food – and its success is turning more than a few heads in the business world. The first Pret A Manger restaurant opened in London in 1986, with college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe creating the sort of food they craved but couldn’t find anywhere else. By 1992, the friends had expanded their operations to three sandwich shops, and their business formula was beginning to click. Today, Pret operates 150 shops, with nearly 4,000 employees, and turns over close to 180 million Euros each year. By 2005, Pret’s management was ready to expand Pret’s core values of fresh food to pursue sustainability all aspects of its operations, from packaging to energy use. Pret asked The Natural Step, a recognized leader in strategic sustainability, to help the company envision a sustainable future and take strategic steps towards it. Today, the company’s ‘charity run,’ a service that delivers fresh meals to numerous homeless shelters throughout London, is diverting nearly four tones of wasted food from landfills and providing 12,000 meals to people each week. By investing in electric vans for their regular charity run deliveries, Pret is reducing its CO2 emissions by more than three tonnes. Reductions in packaging material save more than eight tonnes of waste each year, and Pret now sources all of its electricity from 100% renewable sources. Download...

Scandic Hotels, Sweden

Scandic Hotels is the largest hotel operator in the Nordic region, and one of Europe’s most successful hotel chains. The company operates over 145 hotels in nine countries – and hosts about eight million guests annually.  Scandic has been working with The Natural Step (TNS) since 1994, when Scandic  encountered economic problems and was looking to refocus its business. The company decided to build a strong brand around sustainability that employees could be proud of and guests could identify with. TNS helped Scandic develop a plan to move systematically towards sustainability. What started as a dialogue with employees, led to suggestions that  resulted in a substantial reduction in energy and water consumption per guest night (17% and 14% respectively from 1996 to 2006). CO2 emissions have been cut by 30% and Scandic has the ambitious targets of reducing CO2 emissions by an additional 50% by 2011 and eliminating fossil fuel emissions altogether by 2025. Scandic Hotels’ sustainability work has directly impacted millions of hotel guests and engaged Scandic’s 5,700 employees in sustainability.  The company’s commitment to sustainability helped create a stronger corporate culture, improved operational efficiency and saved the company 18 million Euros (more than $23 million USD). For more, view their ‘Better World’ campaign on their website. Download the full case study...

Bathurst Sustainable Development, Canada

Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada The coastal city of Bathurst, New Brunswick, (population 12,714) is proving to be fertile ground for the development of strategic sustainability initiatives. In 1998, an organization called Bathurst Sustainable Development (BSD) was formed in response to growing local concerns over quality of life and water in the region. The project began with the goal of facilitating communication and action towards sustainability among businesses, the local government and the community. Today, BSD operates as an Environmental Resource Centre to help the public learn more about the environment and sustainability, under the direction of Community Development Coordinator Brenda Kelley. It also continues to work with the municipality itself, most recently co-developing a Local Plan of Action for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the city. In 2007, BSD joined the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI), a regional project designed to build capacity and momentum around sustainability. Along with 13 other businesses, NGOs and municipalities, BSD signed a project charter committing it to take action on sustainability issues, using The Natural Step Framework as a guide. “TNS and ACSI coaches were vital in providing understanding about the ACSI initiative and principles of TNS,” Kelley said. As a partner organization of ACSI, BSD developed a 2020 vision for the City of Bathurst, outlining the characteristics and objectives of a sustainable Bathurst. The city approved the vision statement in March 2008 and followed BSD’s recommendation that it become a partner of ACSI itself. As a part of its ACSI commitment, BSD educated city staff on sustainability topics, including The Natural Step framework and the practice of sustainable procurement. The organization worked...

Antigonish Sustainable Development, Canada

Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada The town and county of Antigonish are located in the province of Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast. The county has a population of about 22,000 people, with just over 4000 of them living in the Town of Antigonish itself. As home to St. Francis Xavier University and the longest-running Highland Games festival in North America, Antigonish already has an international reputation. But if area residents have their way, Antigonish could soon be known for a lot more than excellence in education and bag piping. In 2007, the town, county, and a number of local organizations discussed a model to make Antigonish a sustainable community and regional leader. In July 2007, the Framework for Antigonish as a Leading Sustainable Community was released to the public – a plan developed locally with a group of individuals representing organizations, businesses, municipalities and the community. The plan was developed under the umbrella of a local non-profit organization, Antigonish Sustainable Development (ASD), which is made up of a group of volunteer representatives from civil society, businesses, cultural groups, and environmental organizations. As a participating organization in ACSI, the group gained access to leading sustainability expertise from The Natural Step Canada and other organizations. Using The Natural Step and other models for sustainable development, ASD’s framework includes working with organizations seeking to become sustainable, a community-wide capacity building program and the creation of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) by December 2008. ASD invited local businesses, the two municipalities, and other organizations to become change agents in their community and help develop momentum for sustainability. Twenty local organizations signed up...

Halifax Shambhala Centre, Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada The Halifax Shambhala Centre is part of an international community dedicated to meditation and the establishment of an enlightened society. Since 1986, the Centre has offered meditation instruction, spiritual teachings, and community gatherings to its memberships, which now numbers close to 600 people. In 2007, the Halifax Shambhala Centre became one of 14 Sustainability Partners of the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI), a collaborative program designed to build capacity and momentum toward sustainability. Using The Natural Step as a guide, ACSI partners committed to take action on sustainability within their organizations. To explore how sustainability could be realized within the activities and spiritual practices of the Shambhala Centre, members formed a Sustainability Initiative group comprised of senior students, the director of the Centre, and other community members with a strong commitment to sustainability. “At the heart of our spiritual teachings is that we are all compassionate human beings,” explained Richard Peisinger, coordinator of the Centre’s Sustainability Initiative group. “We are all connected with each other and the world around us in an utmost and dear way. This is part of our daily path, so sustainability is naturally bound to this.” The group began by conducting a baseline assessment of Shambhala’s operations. By examining their existing practices, they identified a number of areas for improvement, including lowering their energy use, reducing transportation demands, switching to biodegradable cleaning products, and encouraging more sustainable purchases. The group led education sessions to introduce sustainability to the Shambhala community and initiate dialogue. “Our primary focus has been to touch the intelligence and commitment of each person individually, in all the...