ATB using SPI to explore what works for all Albertans

The Social Progress Imperative and ATB Financial brought changemakers together for the What Works summit in Alberta

By ATB Financial 30 June 2022 3 min read

The world can feel like an overwhelming place these days and major social solutions are being called for in areas like education, healthcare, mental health and gender equity. When it feels like there are so many issues to tackle, where should organizations and individuals start? 

It Starts with a Social Progress Index 

In 2021, ATB Financial partnered with the Social Progress Imperative to create a Social Progress Index in Alberta to support its vision for ATB’s Greater Good strategy. 

“The Social Progress Index provides a common language and way to look at what success in society means - it’s being used around the world by government, business and civil society organizations,” says SPI’s CEO, Michael Green. “We collaborated on a Social Progress Index for ATB, which can be used to understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of the province, and provide focus for their work in the community.” 

ATB is the first company in Canada to partner to create an index of this kind, and Alberta is the first province to have its own social progress index. Since its creation, ATB has been working hard to put the Social Progress Index into action. 

“We leveraged the Alberta SPI to identify and focus on three of the most pressing issues facing Albertans,” says Afiba Nyamekye, Director, Data & Innovation at ATB. “Those include access to education, access to mental health support and access to information and communications.” 

One example of the strategy in action, according to Nyamekye, is how ATB has partnered with Mage Networks to improve access to reliable internet service, including free wifi, in Foremost, Alberta, helping to support education, employment and innovation for the rural town. 

And, according to Stuart McKellar, Chief Legal and Sustainability Officer at ATB, SPI doesn’t just identify challenges, it can also help measure positive social change. 

“SPI is an innovative measurement tool that guides ATB’s choices in programs and investments we make towards achieving our greater good strategy for Albertans,” says McKellar. “Through the data-driven approach behind SPI, we believe this will create countless opportunities to advance social progress in our communities.”

ATB and The What Works Summit 

Earlier this spring, ATB was proud to partner with SPI and host the What Works Summit at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. It was the first time the event was held in Alberta (it’s typically in Iceland), and it welcomed changemakers from around the world, who convened for a three-day summit to share experiences and inspire innovations to drive social progress and advance the United Nations’’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

You can check out some of the sessions that inspired these leaders for free. 

What are Social Development Goals? 

As an urgent call to the planet, the United Nations developed the SDGs with the purpose of advancing peace and prosperity for the planet. They include things like good health and well-being, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, and decent work and economic growth. They are closely linked to the Social Progress Index.

This year’s summit  focused on Truth and Trust and programming included interactive discussions, workshops, debates, inspiring talks and more. Anchored by the Social Progress Index, the summit brought together global thought leaders to champion fresh perspectives, ideas and best practices to respond to the challenging issues our world is facing today. 

“ATB Financial was proud and excited to host this summit in Banff, which brought together leaders and changemakers from around the world who share a genuine interest in tackling social challenges of today and tomorrow,” says McKellar. 

How do we help Albertans build a better province and planet? 

The Social Progress Index identified access to mental health support as a critical need in our province, but where do we begin? 

“A great place to start is to normalize talking about mental health to reduce the stigma around it, and make it easier for people to open up and seek support,” says Nyamekye. “As well as partnering with various stakeholders across the province to help improve access to mental health supports for all Albertans.” 

The Social Progress Index is an important part of ATB’s Greater Good strategy. You can learn more about how ATB is working towards a Greater Good here

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