About Brenda Plant
Identified by Les Affaires (Business weekly) as one of 15 women who are most influencing the world of business in Quebec (October 2009).
My great passion and mission is to contribute to wider social, environmental and economic responsibility. My consciousness of these issues is the result of working with street children in Ecuador in 1993. I returned to Montreal and pursued this mission locally as a social worker doing advocacy work on income security, housing and immigration rights.
After 6 years in this field, I pursued a Maîtrise es science de la gestion (Master's of management science) at the HEC Montréal to acquire an understanding of finance and economics in order to bridge societal and marketplace interests. My unique research on responsible investing resulted in international speaking engagements.
During this time, I was instrumental in spearheading a responsible investment club at a time when very few responsible investment products were available in Québec. Because there was so much interest in our responsible investment model, two other groups came to me for assistance in forming their own clubs based on our model.
In 2002, I began consulting in corporate and investor social responsibility. This work continues with a wide range of mandates; from aligning investment practices and social mission with foundations to responsible procurement for financial institutions. The Faculty of Management at McGill University invited me to lecture on these issues, and the HEC invited me to participate in the curriculum development for a similar course. I continue to advance education on these issues in my capacity as advisor to the Graduate Diploma in Managment and Sustainable Development at the HEC Montréal, the business school affiiated with the University of Montreal.
There are a number of business networks in Quebec, but I noticed that there was a growing need for one that focused on social responsibility and sustainability. I co-founded cataléthique, a non-profit network of professionals looking to integrate sustainable development into their practice. I was the president of the Board for four years and assured a smooth and stable exit strategy for myself in the summer of 2007. The organization is still thriving.
In early 2005, I was receiving numerous inquiries as to what responsible investment products to purchase, where to find shoes that were not from sweatshops and what children’s wear would have less of an environmental footprint. It was in solving for this “problem“ of citizen interest that the responsible consumption web portal, ethiquette.ca, was born. ethiquette™ is a searchable database housing close to 1000 products and services vetted as socially and environmentally responsible.
In addition to the above initiatives, and among other volunteer directorships, I am Chair of the board of the Capital Équitable, an investment fund dedicated to the importation of fair trade products to Quebec. Businesses importing fair trade products are obliged to finance the entire inventory prior to drawing revenue from sales. The majority of such businesses operate on a small scale and don’t have the liquidity required by this certification. Due to the absence of adequate guarantees, bank financing cannot meet this liquidity need. Capital Équitable meets that financing gap. It has already rendered one importer of fair trade Quinoa bankable (prior to our unique line of credit, the Business Development Bank of Canada rejected his dossier).
In recognition of my various contributions, I was a finalist for young, socially responsbile business leader in Quebec ARISTA prize, granted by the Quebec Young Chamber of Commerce in 2008. In 2009, Elle Québec named me one of the Women of the Year 2009.
Brenda Plant's documents
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