The SUSTAINABILITY|COMMUNICATION Group : Two decades of engagement in sustainable development communication
Yes, our group has turned 20. And for twenty years now (2003-2023), the SUSTAINABILITY|COMMUNICATION Group has devoted all its activities to the immense responsibility of communications with regard to social responsibility, sustainable development and climate issues. Originally known by its initial name, Centre for Sustainable Development, Ethics and Communications (2003-2010) at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), our team has become, over the years, a reference point for these concerns in Quebec and Canada. For at the start of the new millennium, it was not uncommon, here as elsewhere in the world, to see members of the academic and professional communications community raise questions about these values, and wonder about their communication roles, then widely unknown among them.
A decade later, this path had taken root in our profoundly transformed world. With essential groups who were pushing the doors wide open – Corporate Knights, Novae, Réseau québécois des femmes en environnement, and others – solidarity was increasing. Sustainable development communication had gained vigorous momentum, growing recognition and knowledge, well beyond our borders. The tide had turned. And the tide is turning even more broadly 20 years later. And this is very fortunate, as ever larger issues that pose serious threats to our planet, directly impact the expertise of professionals and researchers in communication.
Members of our team were instrumental in a number of new initiatives on these issues in our country and abroad, including the first books in Quebec and Canada. Longitudinal studies revealing pioneering commitments but also greenwashing in very large organisations. First pan-Canadian survey with Léger Marketing. International collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme. First contribution of communication professionals to the implementation of Québec’s sustainable development plan. Canada's first graduate CSR program in communications/management sciences. Scientific and professional international events. Courses exploring theoretical frameworks and concrete applications. Publications, research, seminars. Reference site on ethical issues. Not to mention all the projects, events, analyses, and concertation tables in which their expertise has been involved. Or their many links in Quebec, Canada and beyond.
Thank you to all the members who have brought our work to life along the way, their dedication has built the SUSTAINABILITY|COMMUNICATION Group: Thérèse Drapeau, Dominique Ferrand, Carole Villeneuve, Guy Lachapelle, Jacques Baronet and our colleagues devoted to ethical issues, Deanna Drendel, Gabrielle Collu, Geneviève Bernatchez, Ritha Cossette.
Thanks to UQAM for its important support. To Danielle Maisonneuve and the late Michel Dumas of our Advisory Committee. To our interns, partners, webmasters and students. Thank you to our important allies: Canadian Public Relations Society, Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques, IABC QC, Association des communicateurs municipaux du Québec, Alliance des cabinets de relations publiques du Québec, Public Relations publiques without Borders. To our colleagues in ministries and friends around the world.
And to the late Pierre Dansereau, the father of sustainable development in Canada, for his immediate support to this commitment, deeply rooted in our roles as the social conscience of organisations.
Still a long way to go, but with our combined expertise, let's build a better future directly in his footsteps.
Solange Tremblay, president