In Canada and Quebec, several unions have already begun to look into environmental issues. To draw inspiration and learn from their peers, the members of the Youth Committee gathered a panel of union leaders who each helped to implement an environmental policy within their organization. Donald Lafleur, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), and Carina Ebnoether, a union activist and member of the National Environment Committee of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) explained their unions’ approaches to the young FIQ activists.
An organization uses its environmental policy to affirm its values and commitment to environmental causes. It also describes why the union decided to take that particular stance and how it intends to implement these principles.
Implementing an environmental policy raised several challenges for both the CUPE and the CLC. Their own members showed opposition because of issues related to job losses in the extractive industries sector (oil, gas and mining). Despite these obstacles, the union leaders were able to demonstrate the importance of going green. At the CUPE, it was their union membership that came up with the idea to implement an environmental policy.
Once the organization adopts a policy, it must then implement it and make the necessary changes at all levels of the organization. The key to success: collaboration between political officers and labour organizations’ representatives and employees.
It was an inspiring and promising panel on implementing a sustainable development policy at the FIQ!