Social Impact Report: BMO partners on Indigenous online course

Plus, Corona fights waste with "Plastic Beachgoers" and Harvey's doles out free burgers to support vaccination efforts.

You’re reading the Social Impact Report, a series tracking brands’ efforts to drive social good. The series is part of Strategy C-Suite, a weekly briefing on how Canada’s brand leaders are responding to market challenges and acting on new opportunities. 

BMO helps bring Indigenous perspectives to Canadians

BMO Financial Group-Bringing Indigenous Perspectives to CanadianTo mark National Indigenous History Month, BMO partnered with First Nations University of Canada and Reconciliation Education, a producer of online courses exploring the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians, to launch Nisitohtamowin (which means “understanding” in Cree), an introductory online learning course geared towards understanding Indigenous perspectives in Canada.

Originally designed for internal use at BMO, the course has been turned into a free public resource available from June 1 to July 15. In a release, the bank said the goal is to help “promote understanding and reconciliation through education.”

To date, the course has been completed by nearly 25,000 BMO employees, or roughly 80% of its workforce. BMO is also making a $250,000 donation to support access to education with scholarships for Indigenous students attending First Nations University of Canada.

In announcing their initiative, the organizations noted the tragic events that marked the beginning of the National Indigenous History Month this year, with the discovery of the remains of 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“We stand with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, Indigenous peoples nationwide and all Canadians in mourning the deaths of the 215 children – and all the children – who did not survive Residential School.”

Corona becomes first global beverage brand with a net-zero plastic footprint

Earlier this month, Corona Canada announced new commitments that will contribute to cleaning Canadian shorelines and help them remain plastic-free. Among them is a partnership with Ocean Wise, a Vancouver-based global conservation organization focused on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, including participation in one of its programs, The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Corona BeachgoersStarting on World Oceans Day on June 8, the Mexico-born AB-InBev beer brand – with the help of Anomaly – will educate Canadians about plastic waste at waterfront locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal using human-like figures (dubbed “Plastic Beachgoers”) made with plastics removed from Canadian shorelines. The Beachgoers will include a QR code that drives Canadians online where they can sign up for a local self-led cleanup.

In addition, in partnership with the Global Innovation and Technology Centre, Corona Canada is launching new six-pack beer bottle packaging made from surplus barley straw, a process that uses 90% less water than the traditional raw wood process. The move builds on efforts first launched in 2019, when the brand replaced all plastic packaging on its cans with compostable cardboard packaging.

Globally, Corona announced on June 8 having become the first global beverage brand with a net zero plastic footprint, meaning it recovers more plastic from the environment than it releases into the world. The milestone is based on an external assessment of Corona’s global operations against the 3RI Corporate Plastic Stewardship Guidelines by South Pole, a leading climate solutions provider.

Harvey’s takes it “best shot” at supporting vaccination efforts

This summer, the Recipe Unlimited burger chain will give away $250,000 worth of free burgers to vaccinated Canadians at GTA pop-up clinics and via social media in support of the country’s fight against COVID-19.

Harvey's Best ShotThe chain’s “Best Shot” initiative kicked-off at a clinic at Seneca College on May 29 and will continue throughout June and July.

Customers unable to claim their free burger in person, as well as those who have already been vaccinated, can participate by sharing their “vaccination selfie” or a photo holding their record card on social media along with #CanadasBestShot. They can also comment or reply to a Harvey’s social post explaining why or who they are getting vaccinated for.