How they were picked
Who’s the greenest in the land? In judging the myriad of employer initiatives submitted by this year’s applicants, the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers recognized those organizations where greening is entrenched in their way of thinking, guiding both how they operate now and plan to do business in the future.
Each employer was evaluated using the following criteria: 1) the unique environmental initiatives and programs they’ve developed; 2) how successful they’ve been in reducing their own environmental footprint; 3) the degree to which employees are involved and whether they contribute any unique skills; and 4) the extent that their initiatives have become linked to their public identity and whether they attract new people to their organization.
Companies named to the list show a commitment to becoming increasingly sustainable through innovative and earth-friendly ways, such as Home Depot Canada’s initiative to install rooftop solar systems at many of its Ontario stores, or student-led initiatives at Montreal’s Lower Canada College, including a living green wall installed in their science lab, a ban on plastic water bottles and a small vegetable garden where students grow spices.
Accenture PLC, Toronto. Computer programming and consulting; 3,793 employees. Procures more than 10 per cent of its office electricity from renewable resources.
ARAMARK Canada Ltd., Toronto. Food service contractors; 9,113 employees. Introduced organic fair trade and rain forest alliance coffee and tea selections at locations across Canada, supporting sustainable agricultural practices overseas.
Assiniboine Credit Union Ltd., Winnipeg. Credit union; 457 employees. Established an “Eco-Excellence” green team of managers, directors and executives who develop and implement an annual green plan.
Bayer Inc., Toronto. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 702 employees. Ensures that hybrid, diesel and lower-emission vehicles are available as part of its car fleet, and provides incentives for employees to select hybrid models, helping to achieve a 16- to 18-per-cent annual reduction in fleet exhaust emissions since 2007.
BC Hydro, Vancouver. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,735 employees. Has more than 300 Green Team members who volunteer at more than 30 locations across the province.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Government support; 26,201 employees. Invests in Web-conferencing technologies with more than 130 equipped sites available for employees across the province, resulting in a significant decrease in travel-related emissions as well as costs.
Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, Burnaby, B.C. Professional organizations; 144 employees. Sinks in kitchen areas feature in-line filtration systems to lessen the need for disposable plastic water bottles.
Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc., Kitchener. Audio and video equipment manufacturing; 688 employees. Has been tracking and measuring electrical usage per employee, as well as natural gas and water use per square metre of its facilities on a monthly basis since 2004.
Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Television broadcasting; 1,522 employees. Recently installed low-flow water fixtures to complement the building’s existing rainwater collection system.
ENMAX Corp., Calgary. Electric power distribution; 1,751 employees. Encourages employees to install alternative energy systems in their homes, such as solar panels, solar hot-water systems and micro-wind generation, through an “eco-rebate” program.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Toronto. Hotels; 8,705 employees. Recently introduced a formal waste management program to help hotel properties around the world reduce unnecessary waste generation.
Georgian College, Barrie, Ont. Colleges and universities; 791 employees. Recently introduced an “adopt-an-area” program that encourages employees and students to become stewards of small sections of the campus.
Hewlett-Packard Canada Co., Mississauga, Ont. Computer manufacturing; 6,372 employees. Through its “Planet Partners” program, the company recycles its original inkjet and laser cartridges as well as all brands of computer hardware and rechargeable batteries.
Home Depot Canada, Toronto. Hardware stores; 13,580 employees. The company is installing rooftop solar systems at 63 of its Ontario store locations through the province’s feed-in-tariff program.
Hydro Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa. Electric power distribution; 623 employees. In 2009, developed an updated five-year “Environmental Sustainability Strategy” to address the environmental impacts of its operations.
IKEA Canada LP, Burlington, Ont. Home furnishings stores; 1,586 employees. Beginning in 2011, became the first major retailer to phase out the sale of incandescent bulbs in favour of low-energy bulbs such as Sparsam, LED, halogens and solar-lighting products.
Information Services Corp./ISC, Regina. Title abstract and settlement offices; 333 employees. Significantly reduced paper usage through the introduction of online submissions to encourage customers to submit and process their Land Registry transactions online.
Keilhauer, Toronto. Furniture manufacturing; 200 employees. Hired a sustainability manager in 2011 to manage its green programs on a full-time basis.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Certified public accountants; 5,778 employees. Reduces carbon emissions from business travel by encouraging employees to seek alternatives, primarily through increased utilization of video-conferencing technology.
Ladysmith, Town of, Ladysmith, B.C. Municipal government; 50 employees. Recently implemented a residential cooking-oil recycling program where fats, oils and greases are collected at public bins and converted into environmentally friendly biofuel by a local non-profit organization.
Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets; 29,725 employees. Is standardizing its in-house plastic packaging boxes to ensure use of recyclable PET plastic packaging wherever possible.
Lower Canada College, Montreal. Elementary and secondary schools; 135 employees. Is starting construction on a new building that is being designed to LEED Silver certification standards.
LoyaltyOne Inc., Toronto. Marketing consulting services, 1,226 employees. More than 230 of its call-centre employees are able to work from home and practise a carbon-free commute.
Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,980 employees. Its head office building is a state-of-the-art “climatically responsive” office tower, equipped with two weather stations measuring ongoing climatic conditions and more than 10,000 sensor points that audit energy levels on a daily basis.
National Capital Commission/NCC, Ottawa. Administration of urban planning and development; 524 employees. Recently celebrated Earth Day by planting 30 trees at Rideau Hall.
Nature’s Path Foods Inc., Richmond, B.C. Organic and natural breakfast foods manufacturing; 134 employees. Employees maintain a large organic staff garden with composting bins and an outdoor eating area.
Ontario Public Service/OPS, Toronto. Provincial government; 62,444 employees. Recently relaunched its carpool system in partnership with the “Smart Commute” initiative, providing employees with an easy-to-use online tool that helps find suitable commuter matches at locations across the province.
Perkins+Will Canada Corp., Vancouver. Architectural services; 159 employees. Offsets all transportation and operating carbon emissions using the “Climate Smart” tool and introduced a waste-free policy for all catering services.
Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver. Hospitals; 7,320 employees. Developed a “Food Action Framework” that supports healthy eating combined with promoting a local and sustainable food supply.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Toronto. Certified public accountants; 6,527 employees. Sponsors a national “Green Week” to promote environmental awareness both at the workplace and at home with events held at office locations across the country.
Royal Bank of Canada/RBC, Toronto. Commercial banking; 52,815 employees. Has installed energy efficient lighting as part of a number of lighting upgrade projects across Canada.
Red River College, Winnipeg. Postsecondary schools; 1,279 employees. Operates a sophisticated biodiesel processing facility that converts used kitchen oil from its Food Services and Culinary Arts program, and blends it with diesel fuel to power the college’s maintenance vehicles.
Rescan Environmental Services Ltd., Vancouver. Environmental consulting; 146 employees. Operates an employee-led “Green Ideas Committee” to review and introduce green initiatives to the office environment.
Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Cable and other subscription programming; 24,102 employees. Since 2011, all paper purchased for the printing of Rogers magazines has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which represents approximately 70 per cent of Rogers’s overall paper use.
SAS Institute (Canada) Inc., Toronto. Computer programming; 269 employees. More than 85 per cent of all waste generated at the head office building is processed for recycling.
SaskTel, Regina. Telecommunications; 3,131 employees. Has an environmental category as part of its flexible health and wellness spending account that lets employees apply their flex-dollars to environmental purchases for day-to-day activities, from transit passes to solar panels to high-efficiency appliances for the home.
Siemens Canada Ltd., Burlington, Ont. Engineering services; 4,113 employees. Employees recently celebrated Earth Day across the country by partnering with Tree Canada to plant more than 1,000 trees and help clean up their local communities.
Sodexo Canada Ltd., Burlington, Ont. Food service contractors; 5,871 employees. Has its own ethically sourced brand of coffee and tea, called “Aspresso.”
Stantec Consulting Ltd., Edmonton. Engineering services; 3,901 employees. Recently implemented a new company-wide policy of setting computers into the sleep mode every evening and weekend, resulting in a potential 40-per-cent energy savings in computer use.
Stikeman Elliott LLP, Montreal. Lawyers; 1,148 employees. Each office has a member-led green committee composed of partners, associates, management and staff members working together to develop and implement both corporate and employee-led green initiatives.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,208 employees. Publishes an environmentally focused newsletter as well as a dedicated website and blog.
Symcor Inc., Mississauga. Data processing, hosting and related services; 2,351 employees. Recently completed an energy audit at its major locations to evaluate energy use and efficiency.
Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto. Banking; 43,850 employees. Recently introduced “TD’s Environment 101” online training program for all new employees to introduce them to the bank’s many environmental initiatives as well as highlighting actions they can take personally.
Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 24,443 employees. Encourages employees to work from home through its formal “Work Styles” program, designed to assist employees in adopting flexible work arrangements and reduce trips to and from the office.
Toronto Hydro Corp., Toronto. Electric power distribution; 1,742 employees. Offers a powerful “Time of Use” portal that lets customers view their electricity consumption online and see directly the cost benefits of conservation and shifting consumption to lower-use periods.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7,024 employees. After setting a goal in 2004 of sending zero waste to the landfill, the company has consistently met this goal through extensive recycling, reusing, reducing and composting programs, with 96 per cent of all waste recycled today.
University of British Columbia/UBC, Vancouver. Postsecondary schools; 10,896 employees. Recently launched a “Sustainability Ambassadors Peer Program” for undergraduate students wishing to organize, promote and deliver sustainability education programming for UBC students.
University of Northern British Columbia/UNBC, Prince George, B.C. Postsecondary schools; 684 employees. Established a fund that is financed through campus parking revenues (raising $50,000 each academic year) to promote sustainability on campus.
University of Alberta, Edmonton. Postsecondary schools; 8,336 employees. Maintains an “Office of Sustainability” to oversee and create awareness about the university’s many environmental initiatives.
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Vancouver. Credit Unions; 1,836 employees. Reached its goal of becoming carbon neutral in 2007 (two years ahead of schedule) through reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions combined with investments in climate-friendly projects to offset its remaining emissions.
Vancouver, City of, Vancouver. Legislative bodies; 6,898 employees. Offers an earned days-off program. Recently established an Ethical Purchasing Policy to ensure that the purchase of new goods and services are from ethical and sustainable sources and produced without harm to the individual.
Veridian Corp., Ajax, Ont. Electric power distribution; 223 employees. Maintains a bike-sharing program onsite (free to employees) for afternoon use or commuting, an organized carpool system and a transit subsidy program that offers a 25-per-cent reimbursement for the purchase of a six-month transit pass.
Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, B.C. Skiing facilities; 2,800 employees. Employees host ecology and wildlife viewing tours for visitors in addition to showcasing its environmental initiatives at interpretive sites throughout the resort.
YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 1,310 employees. Recently rolled out environmentally friendly cleaning products at all its health, fitness and recreation sites.
York University, Toronto. Postsecondary schools; 4,336 employees. Invested $39.5-million over five years in its “Yorkwise” energy management system which aims to improve energy efficiency across the university.