Trailblazing Companies Challenging the Status Quo

These 25 companies are taking risks that pay off for customers, employees and shareholders—and set new standards for ethical business practices. Here’s how they did it.

By CB Staff May 11, 2023

If entrepreneurs have learned one lesson in the past year, it’s that business as usual doesn’t cut it in a world destabilized by a pandemic, a global refugee emergency, a climate crisis and the war in Ukraine. Survival requires new ideas. New ideas to fix broken supply chains. New ideas to prevent—and ideally reverse—environmental damage. New ideas to make businesses smarter, more sustainable and better at anticipating customer needs. New ideas that create a better world.

Canadian Business, supported by the research team at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, is celebrating companies that excel at innovation. We analyzed data on businesses with Canadian headquarters that are leaders in their field and—most importantly—prioritize practices that are sustainable, equitable and inclusive. From that list, our panel of judges selected 25 standouts. They represent the best and brightest in their respective industries.

Meet Canada’s most innovative companies

Best packaging innovator: Eco Guardian

Founded: 2004
Founder: Anil Abrol
Headquarters: Newmarket, Ont.

Southern Ontario company Eco Guardian has been creating green product solutions, like compostable cutlery, cups and food-takeout containers, since long before governments began mandating them. It makes them with rapid-growth crops, like wheat straw, sugar cane and bamboo, partnering with facilities to use post-industrial materials, which reduces waste and promotes a circular economy.

When the pandemic hit, the company expanded with a line of toilet paper, napkins, facial tissues and paper towels made out of bamboo instead of trees. Bamboo, a grass, produces 10 times the paper yield of trees and regenerates easily without replanting.