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December, 20, 2023  |    |  

Reflections on a Year of Audacity

With 2023 winding down, it’s a poignant juncture for contemplation—an invitation to review the highs and lows and twists and turns. 

Mike Rowlands
Partner and CEO of Junxion, Mike has spent more than 20 years working to catalyse social responsibility and sustainability.

As we approach the end of 2023, it’s a natural time of reflection—a chance to look back on the year that was, with all its ups and downs, ins and outs, shocks and successes. A casual scan of the various ‘news of the year’ sites reinforces three key themes:

  • Economic uncertainty: it’s hard to know which has been rising faster, interest rates or use of ChatGPT!
  • International conflict: Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Hamas, and ongoing strife in Myanmar, Maghreb, Ethiopia, and Sudan, not to mention saber-rattling in China and Taiwan, North Korea, and India. Sadly ironic, during the 75th anniversary year of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
  • Climate change sparked wildfires and megafloods across the world, and data show 2023 will be the hottest year in the last 100 millennia. It really is time for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Against this backdrop, Junxion has had what may turn out to be the most successful year in our history, and we’ve done it by focusing on healthy relationships, mutual support, and our values of generosity, courage, curiosity, and fun!

Here are some of our highlights from the year that’s drawing to a close….

Supporting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is mandated to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue.

Junxion has been working for over a year with the museum staff, management, leadership, and board to articulate their Theory of Change and new strategic plan. 

Completing Coast Capital’s Purpose Measurement Framework

Throughout the world, financial services firms are feeling pressure to shift from a purely profit-driven approach to one that seeks to make a meaningful contribution to the long-term well-being of people and the planet. Coast Capital is a national, member-owned cooperative credit union and a social purpose business.

Over the course of eight months, Junxion worked with Coast Capital’s project team in the co-creation of a purpose measurement framework, specifically tailored to Coast Capital’s unique social purpose: Building Better Futures Together. The framework sets out the model to assess Coast Capital’s progress on three major goals: building and championing more equitable employment, supporting Canadians with more equitable access to education and training, and deliver financial tools, education, and advice for all. Learn more in our recently published case study. Or listen to our SEE Change podcast about the work here.

Chairing November’s ESG Congress

Junxion Principal Adam Garfunkel chaired the ESG Congress—a two-day conference in Berlin for sustainability professionals from across Europe and beyond. The one room event featured 20 presentations and four panels—a smorgasbord of content! 

Leaning into Junxion’s values of courage, generosity, curiosity, and fun, Adam addressed the volume of content by suggesting attendees ‘ate lightly at the feast,’ taking just one or two tasty nuggets from each presentation. Bringing his 30+ years of sustainability experience to help people digest it all, Adam offered morning introductions and evening summaries, consistently bringing the room back to the scale of the challenge we all face, and the responsibility of the leaders in the room to step up to ensure the wellbeing for all people and the planet. 

A Call to Purpose

The Canadian Purpose Economy Project exists to convene, connect, and collaborate to promote the uptake of social purpose action across the economy. A Call to Purpose is a letter from CEOs to CEOs, inviting them to articulate a social purpose as the reason their businesses exist and, “leverage the fullness of their resources, expertise, and capacity for the betterment of our communities, businesses, and country.”

Authored and signed by six of Canada’s most prominent chief executives and endorsed by some five dozen of their peers, A Call to Purpose was opened for public endorsement during a national webcast hosted by The Globe & Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. Read A Call to Purpose and show your support here.

BIV’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies

Business in Vancouver magazine has for years published an annual list of the top 100 fastest-growing businesses in the province. The list is based on percentage growth over a five-year period, and companies must have generated at least $1MM in revenues in 2022.

This year, Junxion was proud to be named on the list! It’s a profound testament to Junxionites’ dedication, our clients’ trust in us and our work, and the ongoing shift toward more responsible business models.

The Partnership Conference

The Partnership Conference brings together leaders in purpose-based partnership innovation to explore how organizations can leverage community investment programs, cause sponsorship, cause marketing, advocacy programs, and other collaborations to advance their purpose agenda and inspire employees and consumers.

I gave a keynote address at the conference. Responding to the organizer’s invitation to “be bold,” I reminded delegates of the pressing problems their organizations face: the climate emergency, entrenched income inequality, dramatic biodiversity loss, social injustices, and more, before sharing insights into social purpose models that use the power, capacity, and reach of business to contribute to urgently needed solutions. 

Convening Junxonites

For the first time since 2019, we were able to bring all full-time Junxionites together for a Summit! We all travelled to Vancouver and then north to Hollyhock for four days of co-designed, co-facilitated meetings, all leading to the articulation of our new, two-year strategic plan.

Between the great meals, the belly laughs, the ocean swims, and the trail walks, deep conversations led us to what is likely the most focused, ambitious, and energizing plan we’ve ever had. Empowering People. Accelerating Impact. calls us toward significant growth—of our reach, our impact, and our revenues.

As we look to embark on this new plan in January, we’re as committed as ever to our purpose to accelerate the shift to the purpose economy.

B is for Materiality

This year we have supported half a dozen organizations on their materiality assessments to accompany them on their journey to B Corp certification and to prepare them for the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

We supported Colart (part of Lindéngruppen) to achieve B Corp certification and later a dry run of their double materiality impact assessment, bringing senior leadership together to support an in-depth conversation about long-term financial and social impact based on a matrix of short-listed issues.

Colart was just one of the many B Corp certifications we completed this year. We’ve kept our focus on large, international companies for which the process is much more complicated and challenging. Included among them was a global private equity platform investing in sustainable businesses through their B Corp certification and materiality assessment.

Phew! What a year!

All the very best for the holidays and a bountiful, beautiful 2024.

Let’s Be Audacious, Together…