Local businesses boost their bottom line with a healthy marine environment

Do most local businesses depend on marine habitat? The answer might be surprising

At first glance, it might not be apparent that many local businesses rely heavily on the unique waterways of British Columbia’s South Coast, but in fact thriving waterfront economies play a big role in everything from retail to trades. BC’s South Coast cities and towns are established provincial, national and international destinations to live, visit and vacation, with people drawn to exploring their geographic abundance by getting onto the waterways and engaging with the thousands of species—such as the endangered southern resident orcas—that live in the region’s coastal waters.

For Lesli Boldt, President of Boldt Communications Inc., a Vancouver-based community relations and communications firm, supporting a healthy marine environment is something she does both personally and professionally. As a small business owner, Boldt says it’s important for her to live her values in how she runs her business. She encourages other local organizations to reflect on what’s important to them about doing business in this region, and to recognize that local businesses can be agents of change when they opt to make values-based business decisions.

“Georgia Strait Alliance feels right for me because it allows my company to support efforts that will have a positive impact on the local environment and communities.” — Lesli Boldt, President of Boldt Communications Inc.

If a healthy, natural environment, robust waterfront economies, and vibrant communities in the province’s southern coast are what people value in this region, organizations may want to follow Boldt Communications’ lead and consider supporting the work of Georgia Strait Alliance, a non-profit marine conservation organization.

Boldt says that businesses can be agents of change when they choose to make values-based business decisions.

“I choose to support Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA) because of the organization’s unique regional focus on the Strait of Georgia and on the larger Salish Sea. Its initiatives are solutions-based; it focuses on issues that are really important to people and policy makers in this region and the organization is addressing specific threats to our region’s marine environment,” says Boldt.

For Georgia Strait Alliance, having the support of local businesses is not only about validating the work the organization does, it also creates avenues to grow awareness about the need to make a difference to the environment, the climate, and to support species in our own communities where the impact can be felt the most, says Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director of GSA.

Connecting business values with causes

For local businesses operating from a place of values-based decision-making, Boldt suggests it can be easy, comfortable and low risk to extend an organization’s reach to support causes that really matter to them. And if one of those causes is the spectacular marine environment on BC’s South Coast—not only for its plentiful beauty but also for the opportunities it affords to the region’s economies, communities and local businesses—why not find out more about Georgia Strait Alliance?

In her own words

Lesli Boldt, President of Boldt Communications Inc., a Vancouver-based community relations and communications firm, describes why supporting non-profit marine conservation organization Georgia Strait Alliance is easy and comfortable for her to do as a small business owner:

Why is it important for your business to support the work of Georgia Strait Alliance?

“So many businesses in Vancouver benefit from our super, natural environment. The orca, for example, is in the branding of many local businesses—it represents so much about our region—and yet few people, and businesses, are aware that the southern resident killer whale population is on the verge of extinction, due to the current conditions in the Strait of Georgia. It’s important that I contribute and help to raise awareness about threats to species that mean so much to us, and that call our local waters home.”

How do you describe the reasons for sponsoring Georgia Strait Alliance to colleagues, friends or family?

“I love this place I call home, and I care about the future of the species—including people—who live here. By giving my time and money to GSA, I’m making a meaningful, local contribution to my community, and it’s something that everyone who lives here, including plants and wildlife, can benefit from.”

What are some of Georgia Strait Alliance’s initiatives that resonate with you?

“Their work on green boating, and educating sailors and boaters about the marine environment, has been incredibly successful and important to reducing the impacts of recreational boating on our waters. I also appreciate GSA’s smart advocacy on the issue of oil spill response. They start from the fact that we aren’t prepared to handle a major oil spill in Burrard Inlet—and I feel that this is a significant part of the pipeline and shipping story that not enough people are talking about. GSA is changing that.”