How they were picked
As Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2012 evolve steadily toward sustainability, there are remarkable bursts of creativity along the way. Initiatives such as the YMCA of Greater Toronto attaching electrical generators to its exercise bikes or the Town of Ladysmith, B.C., changing its building code to encourage solar hot water systems demonstrate an innovative approach to becoming ever greener.
The Mediacorp editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers judged organizations on: 1) their unique initiatives and programs; 2) how successful they’ve been in reducing their own environmental footprint; 3) the degree employees are involved and 4) the extent that their initiatives have become linked to their public identity and whether they attract new people.
Richard Yerema, managing editor of Mediacorp Canada, notes that “once organizations venture down the portage of sustainability, it simply becomes how they operate and plan to operate in the future.”
Bayer Inc., Toronto. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 704 employees. Constructed 10,000 square feet of green roof space at head office.
BC Hydro, Vancouver. Hydroelectric power generation: 5,911 employees. Has more than 300 Green Team members who volunteer at locations across the province.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Government support; 25,042 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.
Calgary Laboratory Services, Calgary. Medical laboratories; 989 employees. Allows employees to use their flexible spending benefits toward the purchase of environmental products and services.
Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, Burnaby, B.C. Professional organizations; 148 employees. The kitchen area sinks feature in-line filtration systems to lessen the need for disposable plastic water bottles.
Compass Group Canada, Mississauga, Ont. Food service contractors; 11,091 employees. Has become a major purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee.
Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Television broadcasting; 1,478 employees. Every month, the company receives waste diversion reports focused on carbon dioxide emissions, water conservation as well as waste and recycling efforts.
Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 4,224 employees. Has invested in alternative energy generation, including six wind farm projects in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, an 80 megawatt solar array in Sarnia, Ont., and a geothermal power facility in Oregon.
Enmax Corp., Calgary. Electric power distribution; 1,655 employees. Encourages employees to install alternative energy systems in their homes through an eco-rebate program.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Toronto. Hotels; 8,612 employees. Implements energy and water conservation policies at properties worldwide.
Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, Toronto. Lawyers; 1,232 employees. Participates in Pollution Probe’s Clean Air Commute campaign, which encourages employees to walk, bike, telecommute or take public transit to work.
Georgian College, Barrie, Ont. Colleges and universities; 744 employees. Has implemented aggressive strategies to reduce use of paper.
Hewlett-Packard Canada Co., Mississauga, Ont. Electronic computer manufacturing; 7,100 employees. Encourages employees to leave their cars at home by staying home themselves through a long-standing commitment to telecommuting.
Home Depot Canada, Toronto. Hardware stores; 13,079 employees. Has more than 2,400 environmentally responsible product choices for its customers through its Eco Options program.
Hydro Ottawa Ltd., Ottawa. Electric power distribution; 604 employees. Has an in-house conservation team that heads out into the community to spread the conservation word.
IKEA Canada LP, Burlington, Ont. Home furnishings stores; 1,540 employees. Maintains recycling depots at Canadian store locations where customers can drop off compact fluorescent light bulbs, halogen bulbs and old batteries free of charge.
Information Services Corp., Regina. Title abstract and settlement offices; 322 employees. Each board member is equipped with a “Board Book,” a smart tablet which has access to all board materials electronically, significantly reducing the amount of paper typically used.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Offices of certified public accountants; 5,413 employees. KPMG’s Global Green Initiative commits the firm to reduce its international carbon footprint by 25 per cent (compared to 2007) through energy conservation and use of renewable energy.
Ladysmith, Town of, British Columbia. Legislative bodies; 49 employees. Is currently developing a Community Energy Plan designed to reduce long-term energy consumption.