Where There's a Well There's a Way

SIR Corp

1. No Poverty 3. Good Health and Well-Being 4. Quality Education 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

SIR Corp has partnered with Wells of Hope to help provide communities in Guatemala that are living in poverty with clean drinking water by contributing funds, and sending staff to assist in building homes near newly dug wells. They have also strived to further their charity by building schools and shelters. These have been the solutions to working towards the No Poverty, Good Health and Well-being and Clean Water and Sanitation and other SDGs.

Authors

Emily Oldfield

Emily Oldfield

Josh Ince

Josh Ince

Tomas Pineros

Tomas Pineros

Quinton Stummer

Quinton Stummer

Riley Thompson

Riley Thompson

Zante Botha

Zante Botha

School

University of Guelph

University of Guelph

Professor

Ruben Burga

Ruben Burga

Innovation

The innovation that stemmed from SIR Corp’s strategies is that for every variable contribution dollar of in-house filtered water, still or sparkling, that is sold from the Canyon Creek brand, one is donated to SIR CORP’s charity called Water for Wells in support of Wells of Hope. Sponsoring 1-2 annual trips to less fortunate communities in Guatemala, SIR Corp helps to build wells for clean water, schools to improve education and learning resources, and homes for the residents to live in. Employees from SIR Corp have the opportunity to go down and participate in the construction and process of these outreach trips.

This innovation started with a partnership with Water for Wells, in 2014 by Ted van der Zalm, director of Wells of Hope, and Peter Fowler, the Chief Executive Officer of SIR Corp, coming together to realize the potential of joining a deeper partnership (than the one they previously had of donating to Wells for Hope) to reduce poverty levels in Guatemala. They wanted to assist the charity so that most of the donation actually goes to the less fortunate, instead of it being lost to miscellaneous fees. Since its foundation, Water for Wells has achieved a plethora of progression towards their goal of helping out these poor communities. The work continues with Paul J. Bognar, President & Chief Operating Officer.

From their net profits of their in-house filtered products, SIR Corp aims at targeting five of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including the following: 1. No poverty. This is actualized by raising money that is later donated to these poor communities for the betterment of their societies, 3. Good health and well-being. Which is achieved by allowing the younger generations to have access to better quality water, and places to live and spend time, 4. Quality education. Is supported by the new schools that are built to maintain larger groups of students at a time so more people can go to school, 6. Clean water and sanitation. The water obtained from the wells provide cleaner water to communities in which “water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year around the world than all forms of violence”, 12. Responsible consumption and production, which applies to communities in Canada every time a filtered product is purchased because the consumer is aware that by purchasing this water they are directly supporting the charity work. Wells of Hope aims to target number 6 as its main target. Buying filtered water from SIR Corp restaurants goes a long way. Additional revenue is collected from a portion of sales of Limited Time Menu Offerings from the Jack Astor’s brand.

Where There's a Well There's a Way

A proud display of the SIR Corp team on their many trips to Guatemala.

Inspiration

Paul J Bognar, President & COO, was at a crossroads following what is now known as the great recession. Understanding that changes would need to be made in order to ensure a successful future. Mr. Bognar remembers thinking “We just came out of a recession, we got to start being responsible” which is exactly what he did. A word which began to resonate with SIR Corp's management team was accountability, what does it mean to be accountable? And, how would one measure it? Although these questions were initially intended for employees within the company, the team at SIR Corp realized they should be applied to the company as a whole entity, leading to questions of their own corporate social responsibility like “what are we putting out in the world?” and “What are we doing as a company to help society?”

Through thought and discussion, the management at SIR Corp came up with ideas regarding what they could do to help society. SIR Corp decided they would need to create their own initiative in order to make sure they would be able to maximize potential benefits, as for SIR Corp this was more important than a financial return. ”We need something that’s not going to give us a financial return but is going to give us some sort of human return.”

SIR Corp has grown their partnership with Wells for Hope, a charity with the goal to build wells for people living in poverty without clean drinking water. Paul Bognar says that “It comes down to education, you need to change the way people think in order to make a difference.” which is exactly what they did. Five years and Seven trips later, SIR Corp can already see the benefits their charity has done, “We’ve seen the buildings we build, we see the schools we refurbished”, and they continue to work alongside Wells for Hope in order to raise the standard of living for those who are living in poverty.

Overall impact

SIR Corp has been noticed by other corporations for having superior development in their social responsibility goals. They have comprised a hardworking and talented team who share the same goals and views as the corporation. Being able to identify with a company’s values ensures that it will see positive return when innovation is out into action. In the case of SIR Corp, their team of hard-working individuals has brought forth new talent in their pursuit of helping change the lives of those living in poverty.

Being that SIR Corp has focused their efforts of social responsibility on reducing poverty in Guatemala, they have opened the eyes of the communities to a healthier way of life. The Guatemalans that have been affected by the positive changes brought to them by this company have experienced improvements in their quality of life. They now enjoy the benefits of improved housing, education, new industry, and health which in turn has helped them develop an understanding of clean drinking water and sanitation. With the enhancement of quality of life, communities may now focus on other goals they may achieve without the worry about these benefits that we in North America take for granted.

Beginning the pursuit in Guatemala, SIR Corp had the goal of connecting the less fortunate to a clean source of water. This was the start of bridging the poverty gap. The positive effects that stemmed from this achievement gave new purpose and opportunity to these people. SIR Corp understood that these residents of Guatemala had little to no education on the importance of hygiene. Something that we see as a common part of our everyday routine was vacant in the lives of those living without the proper source of water. The focus was to provide the education and financial assistance to these communities so that they may lead healthier lives and develop an understanding of other good practices. This includes healthy eating and eventually obtaining more education and schooling. With that, communities have been given the chance to focus on the future and build strong relationships among each other. With communities being brought together through this innovation, it can serve as hope for new beginnings and new goals. The advancements made have had tremendous effects and will continue to positively affect the people in Guatemala by building a strong sense of community and giving them a better quality of life to carry through generations.

Business benefit

This unique innovation implemented by SIR Corp has, in various ways, allowed them to stand out from any competition. Through the innovation, they have created strong brand-recognition and a positive reputation which is noticed by their committed customers, employees and management.

Social and environmental benefit

The Wells for Hope innovation benefits society by giving numerous residents of Guatemala access to water. This water is important in building a well-knit community and eliminating the accessibility barrier which they previously faced. Residents now have the opportunity to learn new skills while interacting with one another to improve their quality of life through the use of a natural resource.

Interviews

Lisa Adams, Financial Analyst & Decision Support Manager

Kim Van Nieuwkoop, SVP Human Resources & General Counsel

Paul J Bognar, President & Chief Operating Officer

Photo of interviewee

Keep this story going! Share below!

SIR Corp

SIR Corp

Burlington, ON, CA

Business Website: http://www.sircorp.com/

Year Founded: 1992

Number of Employees: 5001 to 10000

SIR Corp owns seven different restaurant brands at over sixty locations. They bring together communities by offering unique dining experiences and fan-favourite cuisine.