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A Pure Industrial employee getting her caricature drawn at its company retreat last year.Provided

As a leading provider of industrial real estate, Pure Industrial has an obvious interest in promoting energy efficiency and sustainability in all its operations. But it’s also a major factor in engaging employees and attracting new talent.

“Employee engagement is one of our top priorities because they are the ones who will help us achieve our sustainability goals,” says Lori Hipwell, director of energy and sustainability. “We also know that, for new recruits, they want to make a positive difference, and sustainability is often at the forefront.”

Pure Industrial acquires, develops, leases and manages strategically located warehouses and other industrial real estate in several major Canadian markets. Headquartered in Toronto, the company also has offices in Vancouver, Montréal, Québec City and the Toronto suburbs of Mississauga and Vaughan.

Hipwell says the company’s sustainability journey began with a deep dive into understanding the company’s own carbon footprint to better target where reduced emissions could be achieved.

One key strategy is to rely less on natural gas as a heating source in favour of tapping into the relatively clean electricity grids that exist in the provinces where Pure Industrial operates. Another is to bring older buildings up to modern standards when it comes to things like ventilation and lighting.

Because most emissions are generated by the customers using Pure Industrial facilities, the company also works closely with those tenants on mutually beneficial sustainability strategies.

Pure Industrial employees are engaged through information sessions, webinars and town halls on ways they can improve sustainability practices, both in the office and at home.

“One of the great things about this company is that we have a team that strives for continuous improvement,” says Hipwell. “It’s also a place where we are encouraged to share ideas and our voices are very much heard.”

The company works in many other ways to foster a sense of community. Among them is the annual, all-staff off-site meeting held every October.

In 2023, that event took place at the historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City, where business sessions were held in the Grand Ballroom. Among other activities, all employees participated in a training session run by an external facilitator, specializing in Everything DiSC.

A popular behavioural assessment tool, DiSC (standing for dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness) is used to improve teamwork, communication and productivity.

“We had first offered DiSC sessions to our management team and it went so well that we wanted to extend it to everyone,” says Sommer Stewart, vice president, human resources. “People are still talking about how much they got out of the Québec City session.”

Pure Industrial also puts a strong focus on service recognition and community investment.

In 2023, the company launched employee recognition awards where team members were asked to nominate colleagues who exemplified the company’s core values, including excellence, diversity and ethical behaviour.

More than 60 employees, or about a fourth of the company’s workforce, nominated a candidate. Senior leadership winnowed the nominations down to five winners, who received paid travel to one of the cities where Pure Industrial operates.

Employees participate in a wide range of community activities, including the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie 1,000-km bike ride held each year in Québec that helps fund school-based health and wellness initiatives.

The company is also involved in an annual golf tournament to provide support for children with autism and various efforts to support local food banks and clothing drives.

“Giving back to the community is another area that often comes up when we are recruiting,” says Stewart. “People want to work for companies that make this a priority.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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