Should Associations Play a Role in Sustainability?

January 18, 2024 /in /by Trace Associates

Industry and commercial associations are devoted to fostering member resilience and relevance for a safe and viable future.

To assist with this objective, the Canadian Standards Association Group (CSA) has released a sustainability guidance document for associations, CSA SPE-116:23 Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainable development goals (SDGs) guidance for associations.

The document summarizes best practices and provides a road map for associations to support the sustainability of their operations and that of their members.

Trace Associates Inc. (Trace) set out to discover if, and how, the recommendations in the guidance document resonate with associations and their members.

Twenty-four associations throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta agreed to provide their membership with a ten-question, multiple‑choice survey, based on the CSA guidance document. The associations include regional chambers of commerce and industry associations. Early results of our survey are telling.

Looking for a teaser of the survey results so far?

  • The more members know, the more they want to know.
  • Emerging top priorities for associations are advocacy and public engagement.
  • Popular requests for support include training, tool kits, and metrics.
  • Results varied widely geographically and by industry type.
  • There are pockets of membership uninterested in sustainability.
  • Association‑specific data does not automatically align with provincial, national, or international trends.

Complete the anonymous survey at the link below to let your association know what your expectations are regarding sustainability support. Should this be an area of focus for your association? Only you can determine that.




Partner and Principal Environmental Scientist, Trace Associates Inc.