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  • Social Responsibility as a Competitive Asset for Contractors

    The concept of social responsibility for a company refers to the positive impact the business can have on its community and more broadly, on the whole society. It’s in the interest of building and renovation contractors to seek to fulfill the needs of consumers who are sensitive to these issues, which involves using locally produced and sustainable products in their service offerings.

    “While profit-making is the purpose of any business, it is becoming increasingly clear that companies that live on and flourish will be assessed on the same level as citizens.” , believes Richard Darveau, chairman of the “Well Made Here” program.

    Mr. Darveau advocates for companies that are committed to their people, the life cycle of what they produce and use, as well as the protection of the planet and its diversified life. “There will be a gradual elimination of contractors who don’t care enough about all of this, at least in the eyes of their customers.”

    In the dock and on trial, or rather, increasing expectations: the environmental impact of construction sites, recruitment and training of construction workers (diversity, knowledge, etc.), adherence to strong values in relation to a sustainable economy, a monetary and / or human investment in the community.

    In fact, the contractor’s culture, his choice of materials and techniques and procedures for renovation and construction, but also in demolition or reuse as well as disposal of the smallest possible amount of waste are all under the microscope.”Behaving in contrary ways to such principles can cause reputational damage,” says Darveau. More seriously, the effect it would take on the entrepreneur’s finances if no commitments are made in relation to issues such as workplace health and safety, human rights including equity and non-discrimination, etc.

    A socially and environmentally responsible contractor, who also cares enough to offer sustainable and locally produced products, will be able to present himself with greater transparency than his competitors. He will possibly be sought out by those with large scale projects as well.

    What to tackle to stand out?

    Here is a non-exhaustive list of ten aspects to be taken into account by any contractor who wants to stand out from his peers through actions that are more frequently being sought by residential and corporate clients:

    1. Designs for homes and other buildings that embrace new criteria such as LEED and WELL; the progressive integration of digital constructions through BIM (Building Modeling Management);
    2. A keen interest in details such as natural lighting, panoramic sight lines, enriching common spaces;
    3. Energy efficiency initiatives;
    4. Support for causes related to his activity or to the territory where activity is conducted;
    5. The purchase of goods with social responsibility criteria;
    6. The prompt payment of subcontractors;
    7. The minimization of waste;
    8. The ongoing training of his workforce and the integration of trainees for succession;
    9. Work and family schedules for staff;
    10. Encouraging active transportation or public transit for staff.

    And as a bonus (!): Follow the evolution of the Well Made Here program on www.ici-here.ca!

    Beyond the quality of products, the socially responsible contractor will advocate for hiring more women and ethnic groups.

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