On Thursday morning we were greatly impressed by the generosity and organization offered by John Ballam, the Director at the Greystone College. He kindly put together a well-structured morning marked by interesting presentations and interactive sessions with other students. The morning started off by a presentation by John himself introducing us and his students to the Tripple Bottom Line Theory which consists of three main pillars; Planet, People and Profit. During the presentation he further pointed out the importance of sustainable business practices in Canada as well as all around the world.
Related to the topic, Gavin Jones, Director of Operations at embers joined as a guest speaker and talked about the so-called “social enterprise” structure and his work at the company. The mentioned structure was fairly new to us Swiss students, where a company with a successful business model aims to reach business as well as social goals by giving back to the society. Talking about embers, the company describes itself as a 100% self-supporting charity and supports marginalized people with low-income in finding a suitable job or part-time employment. In comparison to other companies, embers puts higher importance on the human and environmental well-being rather than profit.
In the name of all students and professors in this room, I can clearly confirm that everyone was really touched by Gavin’s speech when he was talking about the success stories on helping out former addicts or people with mental illness and giving them a purpose in life again. One major learning gained was surely that meaningful work and giving back to the society can lead to a much more satisfying and happier work life!
The morning continued by touching on the pillar of Planet. Deborah, a student at the Greystone College, talked with deep passion and enthusiasm about the present issue of plastic in the ocean. With figures and facts Deborah underlined the importance of caring more about the planet and shopping more consciously in order to reduce the amount of plastic! Considering that in 2050 the same number of plastics in the ocean will be as high as the number of fishes was quite shocking to hear for all of us and made us rethink our style of living.
After listening to these three informative presentations we were rewarded with pizza and soft drinks during lunch time. We additionally used the time to network with the diverse students and learn about their life and studies in Canada! In order to finish off the topic of the Tripple Bottom Line, John organized a visit to the Port of Vancouver that presented the perfect case study of sustainability.
Ultimately, we were so grateful by the organization of John Ballam and Greystone College for offering us such an insightful and interesting morning and afternoon. When thinking back of Vancouver, we will keep the Greystone College as a remarkable memory and experience!
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