“They quickly realized, though, that they were creating more than green spaces: they were branching out into local communities, as well, with the hope of making a difference both in the present and for future generations.”
Branch Out program was born from the voice of employee and expanded across the country by the voice of participant. In 2018, the program achieved fifth anniversary.
The Branch Out program is a volunteer environmental initiative that provides employees to give back to the community the work in.
The Branch Out program is a volunteer environmental initiative that provides employees across the country the opportunity to give back to the community they work in. Employees invest time from their working schedule to take part in various eco-friendly projects. The program provides the perfect balance between supporting local communities, making an environmental impact, and promoting employee engagement and wellness. It encourage team sprit; employees at all levels work side by side crating beautiful and sustainable green spaces. Over the past five years, 2,012 employees have donated more than 8,000 hours of services, planted more than 33,000 trees, removed 92,000 cubic feet of invasive plant species and restored 7,000 square feet of shorelines in 45 Canadian communities.
The Branch Out program is truly a national program. Canon Canada works with registered, non-for-profit environmental groups and conservation authorities across the country. They look for partners in their local communities that have programs in place that align with their environmental goals. After providing details about Branch Out program, they invite groups to tell them how best they can help. Events take place in communities where Canon Canada has an office. With encouragement from both their managers and the Executive Leadership Team, employees sign up to spend an afternoon away from their desk to give back their work communities.
The program was born to combine teamwork and environmental causes.
Several years ago, Canon Canada conducted an engagement survey to learn what would make employees feel more involved in their work community. At the same time, they were seeing how employees, especially the younger demographic, valued Canon's contributions to sustainability issues. An internal initiative that combined teamwork and environmental causes was the perfect fit. They called the program Branch Out at first because it started as a tree-planting program.
Tony Valente reviews, “They quickly realized, though, that they were creating more than green spaces: they were branching out into local communities, as well, with the hope of making a difference both in the present and for future generations.”
Steve Yanofsky, a responsible person of the program, states “In the third year, 2016, Canon Canada's organizers challenged themselves to expand the program's eco-activities, to go beyond planting trees and make an even greater environmental impact on their local communities. With no single partner able to offer multiple activities, program organizers began planning earlier than usual, reaching out to numerous environmental organizations across the country. They worked with these new partners to expand existing programs, or build new ones, suitable for Canon Canada. Employees, already eager to participate each fall, responded enthusiastically and embraced the opportunity to do more environmental good.”
The program has been started a planning and has been expanded to various environmental protection initiatives.
Branch Out 2018 was held with 383 employees – more than one-third of all Canon Canada workers at 9 locations, one location was canceled due to heavy rain. At some locations events were held at multiple days to give more opportunity to many employees. Employees look forward to giving back to their work and home communities.
|Place||Date||Partner||Activity||Number of participant
|1. Vancouver, B.C.||Oct. 4||Trout Unlimited||Shoreline cleanup||29|
|2. Calgary, Alta.||Sep. 1 and 2||Trout Unlimited||Planting||32|
|3. Edmonton||<Canceled due to bad weather>|
|4. Kitchener & London, Ont.||Oct.11||Grand River Conservation Authority||Pollinator garden maintenance
Invasive species removal
|5. Hamilton, Ont.||Oct. 4||Hamilton Conservation Authority||Planting||23|
|6. Brampton & Mississauga, Ont.||Sep. 1, 2, 4 and 11||Credit Valley Conservation||Planting
Making seeds balls
|7. Toronto, Ont.||Sep. 2 and Oct. 3||Living City Foundation||Invasive species removal
Tiny trash cleanup
|8. Ottawa, Ont.||Sep. 1||Rideau Valley Conservation||Shrub planting||25|
|9. Montreal & St. Laurent, Que.||Oct. 16, 17 and 18||Soverdi||Planting||43|
|10. Quebec City, Que.||Oct. 11||AF2R
(Association forestiere des deax rives)
Since 2014, Canon Canada employees have planted more than 33,000 trees and shrubs in 45 communities. Employees roll up their sleeves in an effort to restore and maintain their local ecosystems. Canon Canada works with municipalities and conservation authorities to determine areas that are most in need of new greenery.
Invasive, non-native plants pose a serious threat to ecosystems in many areas in Canada and are one of the leading causes of native biodiversity loss. These plants compete with and displace native plant species, and can change ecosystems' functions, structures and cycles. In 2017 alone, Canon Canada employees removed more than 46,000 cubic feet of invasive plants, contributing to the 92,000 cubic feet total since 2014.
Almost one-third of the world's crops require cross-pollination to spread and thrive. In Canada, bees are the most important pollinators. Unfortunately, bee populations around the world are declining. Since 2016 through Branch Out, employees have planted more than 650 pollinator plants and built more than 110 pollinator habitats, helping restore not only the health of bees, but of other pollinators such as birds, bats and butterflies. They've also planted flowers that provide pollinators with much-needed nectar food supply and a place to nest.
Pollinators and other insects rely on wildflowers and food plants for their nourishment and habitat. Seed balls provide and help protect these valuable resources for them, as well as replant areas where natural flora has been destroyed. The balls can be tossed into spots that otherwise would be hard to reach or plant. In 2018, employees got their hands dirty mixing potting soil, clay and water with seeds to make more than 550 wildflower seed balls that were then placed throughout the local communities.
Invasive weeds can outcompete the beneficial native plants that help hold stream banks together and limit excessive erosion and sedimentation. This is important for maintaining water quality and good habitat for fish, birds and other animals. Canon Canada employees have helped restore more than 7,000 square feet of shoreline in their local communities by removing non-native, invasive plants and replacing them with native shrubs.
Trout Unlimited Canada is pleased to partner with Canon Canada through the Branch Out program. The program helps us reach our conservation and education goals by carrying out meaningful on-the-ground work to conserve, protect and restore Canada's water. While they work, Canon Canada employees also learn about some of the issues facing local water resources. We believe this provides the staff with a valuable learning experience—and helps us get work done! We have found Canon Canada employees to be enthusiastic, engaged, good-humoured and up for anything! They work as a cohesive team to accomplish the tasks at hand. We are grateful for the support we received.
I've done Branch Out for all five years. I've had the chance to dig through the bottom of a ravine and pick out wildlife; plant trees and shrubs; build bee boxes; and remove invasive species. I've planted my roots at Canon Canada, so for me it's about more than just going to an office. It's about contributing to the community.
It's nice to work for a company that wants to participate in their communities in such an active and meaningful way. I live in Mississauga, and I usually don't see this part of my neighborhood. It's nice to do something positive for the environment, the surroundings and the eco-system.
Branch Out allows you to work as a team with people you normally don't interact with day to day. It develops a sense of community that although we may work in different departments, we are in one corporate culture that's supporting the environment. It allows us to be a part of something bigger beyond our work.
The Canon Canada Branch Out Program integrates teamwork and employee engagement in harmony with our Kyosei philosophy. It builds strong camaraderie across divisions, contributes to Canon's Clean Earth Campaign commitment, and leaves a positive, lasting impact on our living environment. The management team strongly supports the program by promoting events and allowing employees the flexibility to spend an afternoon out of the office. The team also actively participates in every event across the country. I am very proud of Branch Out, and of our employees for dedicating time from their workday to give back to our local communities.
We introduce Canon's activities through a framework featuring elements of an integrated report.
The project highlights the cycle of life through various activities conducted at Canon sites around the world.