Small Business Month: Climate Action and the Green Economy

Last Updated: October 18, 2022

How can we, as entrepreneurs, combat climate change while running a small business? Can our personal values, business models, and the need for climate action align? These offerings provide a plethora of perspectives, from trailblazers to trendspotters, for taking corporate social responsibility. They provide a model and ethos for how we can make change when we act together.

Be sure to check out the other posts in our Small Business Month blog series, swing on by the curated displays at David Lam Management Research Library and Irving K. Barber Learning Centre running from Oct. 21 to Nov. 12, 2021, and have yourself a prosperous Small Business Month!


at the wilderness edge book

Little, J. I. (2019). At The Wilderness Edge: The Rise of the Antidevelopment Movement on Canada's West Coast. McGill-Queen's University Press. 


value(s) building a better world book

Carney, M. (2021). Values: Building a Better World For All. Signal.


Environmental Activism on the Ground book

Clapperton, J., & Piper, L. (Eds.). (2019). Environmental Activism on the Ground: Small Green and Indigenous Organizing. University of Calgary Press. 


food trucks cultural identity and social justice book

Agyeman, J., Matthews, C., & Sobel, H. (Eds.) (2017). Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love. MIT Press. 



climate crisis and global green new deal

Chomsky, N., & Pollin, R. (2020). Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet. Verso.  


on fire the burning case for a green new deal book

Klein, N. (2019). On Fire: The Burning Case for A Green New Deal. Simon & Schuster. 


more powerful together book

Gobby, J. (2020). More Powerful Together: Conversations with Climate Activists and Land Defenders. Fernwood Publishing. 


sustainable marketing

Butler, G, Carvill, M., & Evans, G. (2021). Sustainable Marketing: How to Derive Profits with Purpose. Bloomsbury Business. 


sustainable entrepreneur book

Gutterman, A. S. (2018). Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Business Expert Press. 


Get Started With:

On Fire: The Burning Case for A Green New Deal

Naomi Klein’s seventh book gathers longform essays — spanning ten years and locales from Puerto Rico to Vatican City — that offer a Green New Deal as a viable way forward for tackling both climate change and income inequality. The stunning breadth and depth of these essays passionately lay out the moral, social, and economic imperatives needed to take action, and outlines where each of us has a seat at the table in doing so. 

More Powerful Together: Conversations with Climate Activists and Indigenous Land Defenders

Jen Gobby has been involved in climate activism in Canada for years, participating in climate justice, anti-pipeline, and Indigenous land defense movements. In this book, she sits down with fellow activists to hear their reflections on Indigenous scholarship, ecological principles, and activist experiences, weaving them together to tell a powerful story about how change happens. The prevailing insight is that the key to radical transformation lies in forging relationships of equality and reciprocity with each other and with the land. This title should be required reading for all. 



Green Heroes Podcast

Summary: Environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe gets to know Canadians who are building the green economy and making a living doing it. 

Our episode picks: 

Saxe, D. (Host). (2021, September 9). Cool Earth Architecture. (No. 59) [Audio podcast episode]. In Green Heroes Podcast. TMDS.

Sheena Sharp’s approach to construction and architecture is dedicated to building for a zero-carbon future. She started her firm, CoolEarth Architecture, in 2008 and has added continuing education and research programs focused on zero-carbon construction. In this robust discussion, Sharp shares what it’s like to build a green business from the ground up and how her marketing helps like minded green economists seek her out and commission her for projects. 

Saxe, D. (Host). (2021, August 26). Organic farming and leadership at Amara Farm. (No. 58) [Audio podcast episode]. In Green Heroes Podcast. TMDS.

Arzeena Hamir’s professional path is marked by interests in sustainability and environmentalism; she earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in crop sciences before working on sustainable agriculture projects in Thailand. She started Amara Farms as an immigrant to Canada and while mothering two girls, eventually getting elected and securing $200 million in federal money for smart climate farming. 

Saxe, D. (Host). (2021, August 12). Pantonium, On Demand Transit Software. (No. 57) [Audio podcast episode]. In Green Heroes Podcast. TMDS.

What if you could press a button, walk outside, and see the bus waiting at the stop for you? Or never be passed up by a full bus again? Remi Desa of Pantonium tries to reimagine public transit as an on-demand service that gets people where they need to be while reducing city costs and carbon emissions alike.

EcoPolitics Podcast Canada

Summary: A podcast series out of Ontario featuring true stories from the people working towards a world with fewer CO2 emissions and doing what they can to help save the world from the consequences of climate change.

Our episode picks:

Andree, P. (Host). (2020, August 30). Environmental Change in Canada: Plastics Case Study. (No. 1.3) [Audio podcast episode]. In EcoPolitics Podcast Canada. Shared Online Projects Initiative.

Plastics are everywhere — in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even the food we eat. As products that essentially never disappear, plastics have a huge impact on both our environment and our health. In this episode, we talk plastic pollution, regulating waste, and green entrepreneurship with Jay Sinha, Author and Co-founder of Life Without Plastic. He’s been running his business, which has been offering plastic-free goods for individuals pursuing a zero-waste lifestyle, since 2006. He shares with us the ways businesses, government, and even individuals can impact our plastic use.

Andree, P. (Host). (2020, November 9). Corporate Social Responsibility. (No. 1.14) [Audio podcast episode]. In EcoPolitics Podcast Canada. Shared Online Projects Initiative.

Greenwashing, or legitimate Corporate Social Responsibility? It can be hard to tell the difference. In this episode, Dr. Hamish van der Ven, Assistant Professor at the School of Environment and Department of Political Science at McGill University, helps us understand these two concepts before walking us through two case studies.

Climate Rising

Summary: Climate Rising is about the impact of climate change on business. It brings business and policy leaders and Harvard Business School faculty together to share insights about what businesses are doing, can do, and should do to confront climate change. It explores the many challenges and opportunities that climate change raises for managers, such as decisions about where they choose to locate; the technologies they develop and use; and their strategies with respect to products, marketing, customer engagement, and policy.

Our episode picks:

Emanuel, R. (Host). (2021, April 22). Ensuring a Resilient Future: Shalini Vajjhala and Jamie Rhodes, re:focus partners  (No. 18) [Audio podcast episode]. In Climate Rising. Harvard Business School.

Shalini Vajjhala and Jamie Rhodes of re:focus partners share new thinking on how they are helping communities design and finance climate-resilience projects needed to protect municipalities from the physical impacts of climate change, including more intense storms, sea-level rise, droughts, and wildfires. They discuss resilience bonds, an innovative financial instrument that is enabling communities to finance large-scale infrastructure projects by capturing value from the costs they avoid to create a “revenue stream” from those savings.

Emanuel, R. (Host). (2021, April 15). Innovation in Materials for a Better Climate: Matt Scullin, MycoWorks.  (No. 17) [Audio podcast episode]. In Climate Rising. Harvard Business School.

Matthew Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks, is attempting to reduce the carbon impact of the fashion industry by producing leather made from mushrooms as an alternative to leather made from cow hides or plastic. His product is called Reishi and, unlike conventional leathers, it produces very little greenhouse gas. And, because it’s grown in a laboratory to precise product specifications, it produces far less waste as well.

The Social Impact Show

Summary: This podcast, based in Calgary and run by startup Benevity, asks why corporate social responsibility matters in 2021 and how to implement it in one’s own CSR programs. Their visitors include individuals responsible for social impact programs; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and community investment. 

Our episode picks:

(2021, September 16). How Blend uses Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to impact Consumer Banking. (No. 39) [Audio podcast episode]. In The Social Impact Show. Benevity.

The Social Impact Show talks with Ulysses Smith, Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging with Blend, to explore how Blend uses DE&I to create an inclusive consumer ecosystem while building a diverse workforce. They discuss how Blend’s Community Investment and DE&I strategies are tied together, chat about challenges to Blend's DE&I journey, and, finally, dispense advice for companies just starting theirs.

(2021, June 24). How Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Build a Better Workplace. (No. 30) [Audio podcast episode]. In The Social Impact Show. Benevity.

Janelle St. Omer, Regional Vice-President with Benevity, discusses how corporate social responsibility and diversity can build better workplaces and businesses. They complement each other in myriad ways but what does the future hold for each? Bonus for small businesses interested in CSR: how to start a DEI program as a CSR pro.



Green Communities Commitee. (2021, June). Becoming Carbon Neutral. [Webinar]. BC Climate Action Toolkit.

The BC Climate Action Toolkit created the Becoming Carbon Neutral webinars out of workshops aimed at teaching local governments and corporations how to measure and reduce their carbon emissions. In this webinar, you will learn how to use their SMARTtool to assess, measure, and identify areas to reduce your carbon impact. 

Abreu, C., Appadurai, A., Jama, S., & Lee, E.V, (2020, June 11). Why A Just Recovery Must Be Anti-Racist. [Webinar]. Climate Action Network Canada.

Brought to you by the Climate Action Network Canada, this webinar discusses the intersections of climate change and systemic racism, and why we must address how minority communities bear the brunt of poor environmental conditions caused by climate change. There is room for everyone in this discussion; watch to learn the principles of a just and anti-racist climate recovery, and inform your answers to the question, “How can I help?”

Andrews, A., Croome, J., & Neufeldt, A. (2020, June 10). There is No Planet B: The Fight for Strong Climate Action Across Canada. [Webinar]. Ecojustice.

Ecojustice’s Better Than Normal web series addresses how we can build a better economy and society after COVID-19 from many different angles. In this webinar, Ecojustice weighs in on how to include the needs of our planet in conversations about economic recovery, among other questions. 

Market Research

Vancouver Economic Commission. (2021, October 20). Vancouver Economy Report Fall 2021.

The Vancouver Economy Report Fall 2021 focuses on leading and learning in the climate emergency. Read to get a snapshot of exclusive new VEC green jobs data, learn about how VEC is watching the carbon market and decarbonization, and learn about just transition, a concept central to equitable and inclusive development. 


Social Media

UBC Library is on TikTok! Well, more specifically, our @businesslibrarian is! If you managed to make it all the way through this post but typically prefer your recommended resources presented in fun, little video clips, then @businesslibrarian is who you want to spend time with. We recommend her 'Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs' posts. 

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