Bradley Fauteux is an environmental advocate with nearly two decades of experience in leading conservation work. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, Brad has previously served as managing director of Ontario Parks, chief executive of Victoria Parks in Melbourne, Australia and as COO of Trillium College. Along the way, he’s worked with more than 300 distinct intergovernmental, community, Indigenous and private sector partners.
Today, Brad Fauteux provides consulting services to clients on large-scale transformation projects in both the public and private sectors. His areas of expertise include strategic and business management; organizational design; government relations; leadership development; strategic advice; conservation; natural, cultural and historic resources management; and building relationships with Indigenous peoples.
We sat down for a conversation with Brad, who explained how sustainability and entrepreneurship can be integrated, how business leaders can develop opportunities that create economic, ecological, and social value and more.
Environmentalism Is Huge Today, With Many Companies Going “Green.” How Did You Get Involved To Such An Extent?
Bradley Fauteux: I’ve been an environmentalist all my life. My belief is that the health and well-being of our natural environments in both urban and rural settings is something everyone needs to be concerned about. These issues are everybody’s business and responsibility. In short, environmental issues are economic issues and social issues, and they’re integral to the fabric of our society.
When It Comes To Leadership Traits, What Is The Key That You’ve Found That Helps You Work With Teams Effectively, Especially In Your Current Consulting Role?
Bradley Fauteux: Well, I’ve always been a natural leader, plus I’m a lifelong learner about leadership. I think I have the ability — some innate, some learned through study and experience — to initiate and maintain relationships with all types of stakeholders, clients and communities. My role is often to bring both practical common sense and emotional intelligence to any situation that an organization may face, whether it’s negotiations in the business, social or labour environments, or being called on to deliver outcomes that exceed expectations. Of course, I’m also adding value by applying mature risk management principles informed by both my experience and the good advice of my colleagues.
How Do You Define Sustainable Entrepreneurship? What Would Be An Example?
Bradley Fauteux: Simply put, sustainable entrepreneurship focuses on addressing social and environmental problems. So, business owners who work sustainably will often have one or more innovative business ideas that they can develop in ways that generate income while also benefiting society. Their efforts, combined with those of their fellow entrepreneurs, can make the economy greener. One example of a sustainable business model with which many people are familiar is Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company founded by Yvon Chouinard in the 1970s. For nearly 50 years they’ve been working with a focus on sustainability and the environment.
Q: Do You Believe That Today’s Entrepreneurs Are Open To Operating Their Companies In A Sustainable Manner?
Bradley Fauteux: Yes, absolutely! We see this all the time. Several years ago the term “social entrepreneurship” began making the rounds. Today, these are virtually household words. Being environmentally conscious is simply good business practice. More than that, though, it makes customers feel like they’re part of something bigger, something that’s helping others.
There’s a long-held misconception that operating your company in a “green” manner is going to be costly, but now we know that that’s not the case. This is why leaders shouldn’t think twice about becoming more energy efficient or using recyclable materials. Practices such as these can actually lead to more business. Why? Because an increasing amount of people are looking to support companies that are more environmentally responsible.
Q: If An Entrepreneur Wants To Establish An Environmentally Friendly Business — Or Adapt Their Current Company To Be More Eco-friendly — How Would You Suggest He Or She Proceed?
Bradley Fauteux: There are many ways, but a good starting point is to begin connecting with other business leaders who are already doing this, and even establish collaborative programs with them. Go green together. Maybe first you start using sustainable packagingand then maybe move to digital only record-keeping. Then, you can install solar panels to generate energy for your company. Buying locally and using renewable resources will also help you reduce your carbon footprint and work more sustainability. One step at a time and you’ll get there.