The Green 30: Part 1 of 3
Canada is home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. So it’s no surprise that Canadian business is embracing sustainability in a big way. With so many plentiful natural resources and untouched nature from coast to coast, there’s a lot to protect here.
Regular Canadians have always embraced the environment, and today we’re seeing that eco-awareness spread to business leaders. This three-part series brings you 30 of Canada’s greenest businesses. The Green 30 is based on how employees perceive their employer’s environmental efforts. We asked each organization that made the 2010 list—compiled by Hewitt Associates, a global HR consulting and outsourcing firm—to highlight some of the key programs, practices, values, leadership behaviours and actions that they think earned them high marks.
While all of this year's Green 30 encourage recycling, waste reduction and/or reduced paper usage, so do 86 per cent of the 30 organizations with the lowest rankings on the Employee Green Index.
"The gap is higher with respect to other initiatives," stated Neil Crawford, Hewitt's leader of the Best Employers in Canada study. "The Green 30 are twice as likely as the 30 lowest ranked organizations to subsidize carbon offsets for business travel, sponsor programs to reduce green house gas emissions from business operations, host events to facilitate participation in Earth Day or Earth Hour, and subsidize the costs of bike storage and/or showers for employees who cycle to work. While there are significant variations in the use of some of these practices amongst the Green 30, they all demonstrate real passion and commitment to reducing the impact of their business on the environment in the eyes of their employees."
From some of the country’s most well known brand names, to start-ups, to the public-sector, we bring you Canada’s Green 30 in three parts so look for the next two installments through-out this week.The Green 30: Part 2 of 3 and The Green 30: Part 3 of 3
Here are you first 10 Green 30:
Aecon Group Inc.
- Installed tracking and anti-idling technology on its fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles, which saved 105,000 idling hours—or 700 metric tons of carbon.
- Hosts a competition between employee groups to see “who has the greenest team of all.” Started an “Adopt a Highway” program as a result of this competition.
- Created new rules to control chemical spills and deal with situations involving water runoff, fuel storage, and the disposing of controlled products.
BC Biomedical Laboratories Ltd.
- Formalized the process by which surplus items are disposed of—established reuse/resale/donate/recycle options to prevent used equipment from ending up in landfills.
- “Green Teams” meet every six weeks to discuss the environmental issues that should be addressed by the company.
- Cut reliance on paper products at company functions by using cotton tea towels and durable dishes.
Real estate advisory and service,
- Achieved carbon neutrality in 2009 and maintains that status through carbon emission reduction programs and the purchasing of carbon credits.
- Has the largest number of green certified buildings of any non-government organization in Canada.
- Started a Ride Share commuting program that encourages carpooling, biking and public transit; a One Minute Carbon Calculator that helps workers determine how much they’re adding to the company’s carbon footprint; and launched an email, intranet and word-of-mouth campaign to encourage staff to turn off electronics and use less power.
Real estate management,
- Developed an energy and sustainability consulting practice, which employs 22 experts who consult with other leading companies.
- Introduced hybrid vehicles into its service fleet, which improved average fuel efficiency by 14 per cent in the first year.
- Established the annual Evergreen Award, which recognizes an individual (or team) who helps reduce a client’s carbon footprint. Last year’s winner was responsible for $400,000 worth of energy savings since 2006.
Paper products manufacturing,
Kingsey Falls, Que.
- Is Canada’s leading collector of waste paper. In 2009, it incorporated more than 2.1 million short tonnes of recycled fibres into its products.
- Uses six times less water than the Canadian paper industry average.
- Makes all fine paper with biogas—gas resulting from the decomposition of landfill waste that is captured to prevent it from releasing into the air.
Cisco Systems Canada Co.
- Launched the One Million Acts of Green campaign, which calls on Canadians to add their “acts of green” to the program’s website.
- So far, 1,816,647 acts have been logged, totalling 444,003,437 lb. of greenhouse gas saved.
- More than 1,300 employees have made pledges to lower their carbon footprints thanks to the company’s Think Green, Act Green campaign. Lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2009 thanks to the introduction of energy-efficient products and operating practices.
Co-operators Life Insurance Company
- Created the Youth Engagement in Sustainability (YES) program that networks with high school students to teach them about sustainability and help create community leaders.
- Partners with groups like the Saskatchewan Science Centre to help educate the community about sustainability.
- Created a print strategy to reduce paper use, started using video conferencing to cut down on travel, and retrofitted its offices to be more sustainable.
Hotels and resorts,
- Each hotel has a “green champion,” who tracks the hotel’s environmental initiatives at the local level.
- Requires each hotel to host at least one green activity in the community each year.
- Is in the process of launching Delta Greens, a national sustainability program that will align company efforts across the country.
- Created the sustainable building services department, which provides environmental stewardship within the company.
- Encourages staff to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditations by covering the cost of exam and study materials (there are more than 80 LEED APs on staff).
- Launched a tree-planting campaign.
Banking and investing,
- Offices are located in green buildings that have earned four Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design awards.
- An environmental advocacy team comprised of green-conscious employees manages daily practices—including on-location recycling and paper usage reduction campaigns—and implements the company’s Environmental Response Plan, a strategy for continuously improving environmental performance.
- Partners with community organizations and schools to educate children about environmental issues.
THE METHODOLOGY: The Green 30 is based on employee opinion data collected as part of Hewitt Associates’ annual Best Employers in Canada Study and Best Small and Medium Employers Study. More than 100,000 employees and 2,000 leaders in 230 organizations participated in the 2010 edition of these studies. To be eligible, organizations must be in business for at least three years and have 50 or more employees.