As a valued client of Envirolum Consulting Inc., we wish to reassure you with the information provided here that we are committed to the health and safety of our clients and the community. After monitoring the updates regarding the spread of COVID-19 within the Waterloo Region, across Canada and around the globe, and the subsequent closures and cancellations, we feel that it is necessary to implement some temporary health and safety precautions - for both your protection and ours.
With much thought and consideration, we are asking to postpone all meetings and site visits that are deemed as not urgent until Monday, April 6, 2020. As new information is provided, we will be making appropriate proactive and practical decisions for our next steps.
At the same time, we are following the guidelines from Health Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health Ontario and local Public Health authorities, particularly the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Toronto Public Health to maintain the safety of our community. We are taking the advice of the Chief Public Health of Canada to take every precaution to protect those at highest risk of infection and to reduce the impact of COVID-19 by implementing the following actions:
We are doing our part as a responsible business and citizen to help "flatten the curve" to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases so our healthcare and response systems don’t get overwhelmed. We would like to assure you that we remain committed to servicing your projects and that these Health & Safety practices will not impact our quality services to you, our client. Thank you for your continued support and trust in Envirolum Consulting Inc.
Stay well and stay safe!
Managing Director & Principal Consultant
The majority of us, if not all, own some sort of investment. Mutual funds, Exchange-traded funds (ETFs), publicly traded stocks, pension funds...what do all these have in common? The option to choose sustainably in a responsible manner. This week is Responsible Investment Week in Canada with a focus to educate and gain awareness about all things related to responsible investing. In recognition of this, we feel it is important to start a discussion about responsible investing.
Earlier this year, our Managing Director, Connie Lum prepared a research paper and virtual presentation (click to view) titled "Adding the Sustainability Approach to Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)" to complete her Master's degree in Environmental Practice. The paper addresses the following topics:
- the barriers preventing the shift towards SRI
- financial performance of SRIs versus conventional investments
- ESG strategies
- recommended tools and strategies for shifting towards responsible investing.
Socially responsible investing has grown significantly and matured into the mainstream of investing, however, there are still mixed reviews related to the financial performance of socially responsible investments compared to conventional funds. The objectives of the research paper is to investigate the potential profitability of SRI and to identify the barriers that may be preventing widespread adoption of SRI. The paper also addresses the question of whether an investor can do well (financially), while doing good (ESG). A synthesis of literature indicates that common barriers towards SRI include short-termism, lack of corporate disclosure and transparency, lack of standardization, and diminished sense of ownership. Sustainability approaches are identified to improve financial goals of SRIs and to shift towards SRIs with more focus on institutional investors than individual investors. The approaches include tools and strategies such as adaptive co-management, education and awareness, engagement, active ownership, enabling organizations and adaptive governance, and ESG integration. All of these tools and strategies complement each other, in one way or another through learning and collaboration.
Studies show that SRIs perform just as well as conventional funds. Furthermore, financial performance of SRIs can be improved when sustainability is considered. Businesses that factors sustainability into their strategies are expected to perform better financially.
Feel free to contact us for access to the full research paper.
Driving an Environmental Entrepreneur
Today, I found myself reflecting on the progress of my environmental consulting business and I thought, it's time for another blog entry. I admit I don't blog very often, but when I do, I feel like there is something worth sharing. So here it is...
As much as I love owning a business and working as my own boss, I was thinking about how tough it is to keep going during times when work can be slow. The Christmas holidays can be a real crack in the piggy bank. If you are an entrepreneur, you may know exactly what I mean. For the rest of you who may be curious about the daily grind of an entrepreneur, let me be the one to tell you. I'm not afraid to be an open book in this respect. It has been two and a half years since I started a consulting business and in the last few weeks I found myself contemplating on getting a part-time job, not just to supplement my unsteady income since pay is project-based, not salary-based, but mainly to help pay my way through grad school. It also seems easier to quit and start looking for a full-time job working for somebody else's company where there is the hope of security with bi-weekly paycheques, health benefits, bonuses and perhaps even tuition reimbursement.
So what drives me to continue to do what I do? Reflecting back on why has reminded me about two things.
One driver is I love helping my clients. They definitely keep me going. I appreciate their loyalty to continue to work with me. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be where I am today. Sure there are struggles, but that is nobody's fault. It just comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. There are good days and there are bad days. The days when I feel like I am able to help out one of my clients whether it is answering a question or finishing a project, those are the good days. And that is almost every day. I will continue to provide you with my honest opinion, regulatory knowledge, and the quality of work you've come to value. I also appreciate the positive feedback that my clients have shared with me. It reminds me of why I do what I do.
The other driver is being able to contribute to make the place a better world. I may be a small piece of the puzzle, but we are all interconnected. You, me, the air we breathe, the trees that are absorbing the carbon dioxide and turning it into oxygen to give us life. The oxygen that gives all other living creatures life as well. It's the circle of life. Being able to help a company take a step closer to becoming sustainable, whether or not it is triggered by regulatory requirements is one of the reasons why I got into this field. The products made from non-renewable resources also have a life. From raw material use for processing to the final product made for end-users like us. It's finally time to think about how we are connected to things and the life cycle of these things. But this is a topic to save for another blog. For now, it's a penny for your thoughts.
These are the drivers that keep me going and pushing through the challenges as an entrepreneur. As for the challenges, I'm leaving it to fate to work things out and trusting the universe that all that I deserve will eventually come at the right time. I just need to be more patient. By the way, I am 65% closer to obtaining a Master's Degree in Environmental Practice. I can't quit now.
All the best,
It's been one year since I registered for an Ontario Business Number and dubbed Envirolum Consulting as my operating name. For that, I would like to take this time to thank my supporters and mentors and share with you the lessons learned in my venture.
To my fellow consulting colleagues: My "go-to" people during the times when I needed a second opinion or to run a thought by. Thanks for letting me think out loud.
To my clients: Whether it's subcontract or direct, loyal returning clients and new alike, thank you for your patronage and trusting me to work with you. I look forward to working with you all again as I venture into the 2nd year of operating Envirolum Consulting.
To friends and family: Thank you for your tremendous support and for believing in me. You are my cheerleader. It has been an amazing year in my career and I wouldn't have been able to do it without all your support!
What better time to reflect back on what I've learned about working solo.
Here are 5 lessons learned over the past year:
1. Invest in your business (and yourself)
I live an active lifestyle, and I consider myself young & healthy. So why would I need healthcare benefits? When it comes to health, it is not a topic I take lightly or would want to gamble with. If I have "health" insurance for my car and my house, why would I not insure myself? I did my research and found the best healthcare plan for an individual is offered through my very own alma mater. In fact, it is a group benefit plan for most universities and colleges and is available for all alumni.
I am also currently completing a Master's degree in Environmental Practice. This has always been a personal goal of mine and running my own business has made me realize the value in this investment.
2. Never Stop Learning
Further investing into your own business is to never stop learning. As I continue to develop my business, I have learned to wear many hats. Not only am I an Environmental Consultant, I also make up the finance, business development, sales, human resources, and administrative departments. I am constantly learning new skills. Now I make more effort and time to go to relevant workshops, seminars, courses and webinars.
New challenge? Yes, bring it on!
3. Build Trusting Relationships
It is more valuable for a growing business to develop a trusting relationship with clients and colleagues.
4. Adjusting to Financial Uncertainty
Unlike corporate paycheques that were directly deposited into my bank account on a regular bi-weekly basis, getting paid by project completion becomes much more sporadic as it depends on length of time to complete a project. It's like Christmas morning every time I check my mailbox and find a cheque in the mail. A good method to adopt is to offer the client an incentive for upfront payments.
5. Filling the Social Void
Now that I work from home for the most part, I often find that I miss the office environment for the social aspect. This is where joining an industry association, local chamber of commerce, or making the effort to attend a monthly meet-up group becomes a bonus. Never pass up an opportunity that is presented to you for networking and personal development.
I look forward to continuing my relationships with you all in the new fiscal year and seeing this list grow as I continue to learn.