Purpose-driven virtual collaboration software for life sciences companies

Impetus Digital is a Toronto-based, privately-owned, women-led company that provides virtual and hybrid meetings, events, and programs for pharmaceutical and life science companies worldwide. The business is a platinum-level green business certified leader in virtual collaboration software for life science companies, offering comprehensive virtual meeting and event tools and services.

Founded in 2008, Impetus Digital has over a decade of experience in virtualizing meetings and events and offers a full range of strategic, medical writing, and digital services to help make the transition from in-person to virtual as seamless as possible.

In 2020, the Green Business Bureau shared Impetus Digital’s sustainability commitment via their first member story. Three years on, we’re here to check in and see how far this brand has come along their sustainability journey.

Today, Impetus Digital is green business certified by the Green Business Bureau, a Great Place To Work certified brand, and a winner of Waterstone Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. Let’s catch up with this model sustainable business to find out what key initiatives they’ve implemented in the last three years and the brand’s goals for the future.

Impetus Digital is virtualizing meetings, events, and programs

The business partners with Pharma clients at all stages of the product lifecycle, working closely with marketing, medical affairs, market access, medical education, clinical development, and many other departments to virtualize their internal and external stakeholder meetings and programs.

The brand has combined their large portfolio of life science-specific asynchronous (over-time, anytime) and synchronous (real-time) virtual collaboration tools, with their industry-renowned strategic, digital, and medical writing services to create an array of programs. These include everything from virtual medical education, conference engagement, advisory boards, and online community boards, to new innovative programs such as digital content councils, ambassador programs, and more.

Following Impetus Digital’s sustainability story (successes and future goals)

Impetus Digital has the ultimate goal of becoming a carbon-neutral and fully sustainable company. With this goal in mind, and since 2020, Impetus Digital has focused on three major initiatives, which are detailed below.

Impetus Digital’s tree-planting program

Impetus Digital’s tree planting program was launched in 2021. At least one tree is planted per new client project (depending on the project fee and scope). Trees are also planted to celebrate employee milestones, such as birthdays or work anniversaries. Impetus Digital also hosts challenges or competitions where the winner can receive their very own planted trees in lieu or as a gift card.

Impetus Digital CE0 planting trees

Impetus’ Digital’s Co-founder & CEO Natalie Yeadon planting a tree during the 2022 Earth Week celebrations

In addition, Impetus Digital typically donates money to a medical or environmental charity at the end of each year; for the past two years, this money has been used to plant even more trees.

To date, Impetus Digital has planted more than 1,800 trees – and the team is only getting started.

Annual Earth Week celebrations

Since 2021, Impetus Digital has hosted virtual Earth Week celebrations, which are complete with challenges, tips and tricks, trivia, and prizes. Typically, team members take a few hours during the week (in paid time) to do something nice for the environment such as planting their garden, cleaning up trash, cooking vegan and vegetarian meals, building something from recycled materials, and more.

Earth Day celebrations

Impetus’ VP of Technology, Trevor Coehoorn, picking up trash with his children during our 2021 Earth Week celebrations

The team is also encouraged to include their families and friends in their chosen activity; many use it as an opportunity to teach their children or other loved ones about sustainable practices. In 2023, Impetus Digital is looking into options for a hybrid celebration.

Educating stakeholders

Impetus Digital’s Green Team works hard to educate employees, clients, and followers by sharing relevant articles and resources, as well as writing about sustainability topics for the brand’s blog and various industry magazines. The climate crisis directly affects human health, and as such, Impetus Digital views this as a timely topic in the life science industry.

Green Team

Impetus Digital’s Green Team (clockwise, top-left): Alyssia Grant – VP of Operations; Linda Perfetto – Account Director / VP of Client Services; Holly Lam – Senior Digital Solutions Specialist; Cecilia Petrus – Communications Director; Kirsti Heitz – Marketing Director; Dan Wells – Product Development & IT Project Manager

Looking into the future: Reducing business emissions using carbon offsets

Impetus Digital is striving toward carbon neutrality, and as part of the brand’s goal to reduce business emissions, they’ve started to review carbon offset options for 2023.

Being a 100% remote company and one that specializes in virtual meetings, Impetus Digital’s carbon footprint is already much lower than the average company. But, because Impetus Digital views sustainability as a platform for continuous improvement, the business is committed to reducing emissions even further. With this aim in mind, Impetus Digital has begun working with GBB partner Alcymate as one option for offsetting the brand’s carbon footprint using verified projects (along with internal reduction measures).

The challenge of accounting for and reducing business emissions

Accounting for and reducing business emissions has proved to be challenging for Impetus Digital. While calculating carbon emissions – such as those related to the employee’s home office and travels – is fairly straightforward, Impetus Digital states more work is needed to make sure their online platform and client portals are fully and accurately offset.

Plus, now that hybrid meetings are resuming, ensuring all aspects of the in-person component (e.g. catering, meeting room space, AV equipment) are as sustainable as possible and/or properly offset will require additional work and thought.

Showcasing a commitment to sustainability through green business certification

Green Business Bureau (GBB) certification has given Impetus Digital the framework needed to set up the initiatives discussed above, while also helping the brand obtain buy-in from leadership. For instance, shortly after certification, Impetus Digital’s Green Team wrote a list of suggested initiatives to the brand’s CEOs for further review and approval, including the relevant GBB checklist items, and how many points each initiative would be worth.

When considering the different certification options available, the Green Business Bureau stood out for a number of reasons, but most importantly:

  • GBB is reasonably priced;
  • The assessment tools are easy to use;
  • The assessment tool can be used by remote companies while other tools focus heavily on the physical office space.

Furthermore, being a small company, it has been a challenge for Impetus Digital to find the time and resources to complete more detailed assessments and certifications such as B Corp certification. As such, GBB acts as a stepping stone and a supplementary asset to achieve B Corp certification later in the brand’s sustainability journey.

Creating a collaborative and inclusive environment for sustainable change

All of Impetus Digital’s Green Team members have contributed immensely to the organization’s success; it should be emphasized that there’s no way a single person could achieve what the business as a whole has attained.

That said, part of Impetus Digital’s success can be attributed to the work done by Green Team leader and Communications Director Cecilia Petrus. Petrus drives sustainability initiatives and makes sure everyone gets a chance to review and have a say before presenting sustainable changes to the greater team. Hence, Petrus successfully creates a collaborative and inclusive environment where individuals’ thoughts and opinions are heard.

Petrus also spends a lot of time reading articles to stay on top of news and trends in the Pharmaceutical, healthcare, medicine, and business sustainability industries and disciplines. This helps Petrus keep a pulse on where the Pharmaceutical industry is at in the sustainable business space.

Impetus Digital is an industry leader hoping to inspire sustainable business design

Founded in 2008, Impetus Digital has had time to optimize operations, to become a pioneer and thought leader offering sustainable virtual collaboration and communication. The business has written extensively about the environmental benefits of virtual meetings and events in the past and continues to do so. While there are many big pharmaceutical companies that have made commitments to reach carbon neutrality, it’s rare to see life science vendors do the same.

Impetus Digital states that none of their competitors have made a similar commitment to sustainability as far as they’re aware. Yet, this is something the business wants to see change. Impetus Digital hopes other brands will follow suit.

GBB is a valuable partner helping Impetus Digital meet their sustainability goals

It’s been remarkable seeing the progress we’ve made in just a few short years. We’re averaging well over 800 trees planted per year, we have cleaned up whole streets and parks, and now we’re getting close to carbon neutrality. GBB has been an invaluable partner in making this happen.” – Cecilia Petrus, Communications Director, and Green Team Leader at Impetus Digital

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