In a recent video introducing the United Nations’ flagship Climate Report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres referenced the title of this year’s absurdist Oscar-winning film as he called for urgent climate action “on all fronts – everything, everywhere, all at once.” It’s a caveat Canada’s Greenest Employers 2023, selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc., take to heart; it’s also an apt description of their efforts on multiple fronts, big and small, to embrace sustainability.
All have made the environment a priority in how they run their business, with ambitious targets aimed at reducing their organization’s own carbon footprint.
That includes formalized sustainability strategies to identify areas within their operations where they can improve, along with exceptional sustainability programs and initiatives.
The winners offer a myriad of practical initiatives, ranging from onsite honeybee apiaries to recycling and landfill diversion to the greening of vehicle fleets. Other popular programs include tree planting and community gardens as well as some innovative twists. ENMAX, an electricity provider in Calgary, uses goats to manage weeds at its Cavalier Energy Centre facility as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional herbicides. The bonus is that it aerates, mulches and fertilizes the soil naturally.
Environmental leadership also includes promoting a culture of awareness that engages employees and encourages individuals to make responsible choices both in the workplace and at home. Many employers offer green commuting options such as transit passes, secure bicycle parking and preferential parking for carpoolers and employees driving hybrid or electric cars. Medtronic Canada, a Brampton, Ont.-based manufacturer of medical devices, additionally provides two hours of free charge time at its onsite EV charging stations. Nice perk!
Sustainability also make sense from a business perspective. Job seekers and employees want to work for an employer that cares about making our planet more liveable, and where corporate values align with their own. Likewise, an organization’s sustainability is important to concerned customers who are increasingly aware of a company’s environmental policies.
More than ever, every choice matters.
Canada’s Greenest Employers, selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. which runs the competition, is an editorial competition that recognizes employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness. Applicants for the award are compared to other employers in their industry and must pay a fee to enter the contest.
Winning employers, selected by editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, are evaluated using four main criteria: (1) unique environmental initiatives or programs they have developed; (2) whether they have been successful in reducing their own environmental footprint; (3) whether their employees are involved in these programs and contribute unique skills; and (4) whether their environmental initiatives have become linked to the employer’s public identity, attracting new employees or customers.
Any employer operating in Canada may apply for the Canada’s Greenest Employers competition. Employers of any size may apply, whether private or public sector. The Globe and Mail is not involved in the judging process.
Canada’s Greenest Employers 2023
ABB Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Engineering and technology; 2,971 employees. Sponsors small and big environmental initiatives, from installing two bee apiaries at its Montreal campus to extensive in-house waste reduction and recycling programs.
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Professional services; 5,682 employees. Set ambitious zero-waste goals with the aim to reuse or recycle 100 per cent of e-waste and office furniture by 2025.
AET Group Inc., Kitchener, Ont. Environmental consulting; 31 employees. Manages an in-house sustainable transportation program that features an online tracker of commuting habits and a formal telecommuting policy.
Aramark Canada Ltd., Mississauga. Food service contractors; 6,535 employees. Manages the Food Management Fundamentals Program that is designed to help the company prevent food waste before it is created.
Assiniboine Credit Union Ltd., Winnipeg. Credit union; 452 employees. Encourages employees to reduce their carbon footprint with subsidized bus passes, support for a carpool matching service and showers and lockers at new branches.
BC Housing Management Commission, Burnaby, B.C. Provincial government; 952 employees. Manages the unique People, Plants and Homes Program that offers therapeutic horticulture programming year-round to hundreds of residents throughout the province.
BC Hydro, Vancouver. Hydroelectric power generation; 6,533 employees. Operates a unique Bike Buddy Network to help connect employees who regularly bike to work and provide resources for those new to bicycle commuting.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 33,041 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in the service’s numerous initiatives with Green Teams at locations across the province.
Bell Canada, Verdun, Que. Communications; 34,983 employees. Donates the residual value of returned and recycled mobile devices to World Wildlife Fund Canada’s ambitious decade-long Regenerate Canada program.
BlackBerry Ltd., Waterloo, Ont. Secure software and services; 1,720 employees. Has a longstanding in-house program to identify restricted substances for all parts, components, assemblies and materials used in the manufacture of its products.
BluEarth Renewables Inc., Calgary. Renewable power generation; 114 employees. Completed construction of a new passageway to allow for the safe movement of a variety of animal species across a busy roadway.
Boston Consulting Group Canada ULC, Toronto. Management consulting; 475 employees. Supports employee green teams in its offices around the world with more than 1,300 employee volunteers in over 80 offices worldwide.
Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd., Toronto. Real estate management; 1,254 employees. Supports 24 rooftop beehives at 12 property locations that are home to more than 350,000 honeybees.
Canon Canada Inc., Brampton, Ont. Imaging equipment and information services; 794 employees. Features numerous impactful environmental features at its head office, including drought-resistant plantings to reduce water demand and light sensors to adapt to daily use patterns.
Canopy Planet Society, Vancouver. Environmental consulting; 19 employees. Is committed to purchasing second-hand office furniture, office supplies and equipment where possible and to continuously reduce paper usage through electronic communications.
Capital Regional District, The / CRD, Victoria. Municipal government; 735 employees. Has an ongoing zero-emissions fleet initiative that includes adopting and testing e-bikes, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 40,048 employees. Committed to source 100 per cent of electricity from renewable sources and to becoming carbon neutral by 2024.
Co-operators Group Ltd., The, Guelph, Ont. Insurance; 6,797 employees. Encourages its customers to make greener choices, including insurance discounts for LEED construction and automobile insurance discounts for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Credit Valley Conservation Authority / CVC, Mississauga. Environment, conservation and wildlife organizations; 235 employees. Has a LEED Gold-certified head office that includes LED motion-controlled lighting, in-floor radiant heating, recyclable carpeting and new smart blue roof technology.
Dentons Canada LLP, Edmonton. Law firm; 1,357 employees. Introduced a number of dedicated plastic use reduction and elimination efforts, including stopping the use of plastic straws and single-use plastic cutlery.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement Desjardins, Lévis. Que. Financial institution; 48,129 employees. Offset 100 per cent of its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions through purchase of carbon credits and working in partnership with a variety of organizations.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 268 employees. Encourages employees to put into practice some of their green knowledge through volunteering in new home construction with Habitat for Humanity.
Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology, Oshawa, Ont. College; 785 employees. Encourages employees and students to choose sustainable methods of transportation through partnership with SustainMobility’s Commute Ontario program.
EfficiencyOne, Dartmouth, N.S. Energy conservation advocacy; 159 employees. Manages all recyclable, compostable and waste materials in accordance with municipal as well as LEED standards for existing buildings.
Emterra Group, Oakville, Ont. Recycling and waste management; 788 employees. Partners with local organizations to heighten awareness and increase access to resources for waste reduction.
ENMAX Corp., Calgary. Electric power distribution; 1,549 employees. Uses the services of Goats for Weeds to help reduce the use of traditional herbicides in its weed management program on its Cavalier Energy Centre facility property.
Evolugen, Gatineau, Que. Renewable energy generation and services; 238 employees. Features an emphasis on environmental initiatives in its community and charitable program, including supporting initiatives across the country.
Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 2,019 employees. Partnered with Alvéole to introduce two rooftop beehives that are home to 50,000 bees.
Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan Inc. / Farm Mutual Re, Cambridge, Ont. Insurance; 83 employees. Encourages green habits every day with recycling bins located at employee desks along with onsite collection of organics, e-waste, batteries and eyeglasses.
Fleming College, Peterborough. College; 547 employees. Continues to build upon its unique environmental educational programming through a commitment to increase the number of sustainably focused courses by 50 per cent.
FortisAlberta Inc., Calgary. Electric power distribution; 1,108 employees. Has developed a number of formal initiatives to mitigate its impact on local wildlife, including the Woodland Caribou protection program.
Geotab Inc., Oakville, Ont. Fleet management software; 1,437 employees. Features regular sustainability activities to engage employees and create greater awareness in a fun way, hosted by its employee-led Go Green Team.
G&W Canada Corp., Brampton, Ont. Switchgear manufacturing; 173 employees. Has steadily increased its waste from landfill diversion rates (to 86 per cent) and contracted a third-party environmental consultancy to conduct independent audits.
Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 3,653 employees. Encourages its suppliers and service contractors to offer environmentally preferred products and services, as part of its formal environmental procurement policy.
Home Depot Canada, Toronto. Retail; 36,497 employees. Has 49 stores with rooftop solar panel arrays, three LEED-certified store locations, and many green features incorporated into its new constructions.
HP Canada Co., Mississauga. Computer technology and services; 683 employees. Incorporates environmental considerations into all product design, from the longstanding Planet Partners consumer return and recycling program to its environmental packaging strategy program.
Humber College, Toronto. College; 1,826 employees. Actively extends its sustainability perspective to its surrounding communities, hosting various environmental and outdoor education programs and events for the public.
Hydro Ottawa, Gloucester, Ont. Electric power distribution; 687 employees. Has partnered with the City of Ottawa to install solar panels on eight municipal buildings.
ICBC / Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, North Vancouver. Automobile insurance; 5,875 employees. Supports an employee-led Green Team with more than 115 members at locations across the province.
Ice River Sustainable Solutions, Shelburne, Ont. Bottled water manufacturing; 468 employees. Introduced a unique “Keep a Lid on It” education program to encourage people to leave the lids on their recycled plastic bottles to ensure they are captured.
IKEA Canada Ltd. Partnership, Burlington, Ont. Retail; 3,826 employees. Ensures employees become advocates for its many environmental practices, offering all store employees regular sustainability training and reviews every three years.
Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Real estate investment and management; 528 employees. Has set LEED Gold certification standard as the minimum target for all new office building constructions and over half of its office building portfolio are LEED-certified.
Keilhauer Ltd., Toronto. Furniture manufacturing; 235 employees. Developed a new website for its customers featuring a sustainability score card listing all of the company’s products along with their specific environmental attributes.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 9,926 employees. Has numerous programs to reduce waste and enhance recycling programs at offices across the country, achieving a waste diversion rate of over 97 per cent at the downtown head office.
Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,681 employees. Introduced a new fastener solution made of recyclable fibre paperboard to replace the use of plastic rings, tops and shrink film.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 31,708 employees. Established an internal plastic steering committee to review plastic use across its entire business.
LoyaltyOne, Co., Toronto. Marketing consulting; 816 employees. Encourages employees to consider alternate transportation with transit subsidies, discounts on car-sharing services and corporate memberships for bike-sharing services.
Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 4,764 employees. Maintains numerous community partnerships to address not only the impacts of its own operations but also environmental issues across the province.
Matrix Solutions Inc., Calgary. Environmental consulting services; 474 employees. Has two certified environmental auditors plus additional EMS practitioner employees who help to oversee the formal environmental management system manual, which is reviewed and updated regularly.
MEC Mountain Equipment Company Ltd., Vancouver. Retail; 693 employees. Has eliminated tonnes of plastic waste since 2010 by introducing the use of a “sushi-roll” packaging technique for its MEC-branded gear.
Medtronic Canada ULC, Brampton, Ont. Electromedical apparatus manufacturing; 701 employees. Is a founding member of the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care that promotes environmentally responsible practices in the delivery of health care services.
Metrolinx, Toronto. Public transit; 4,622 employees. Is part of the largest rapid transit expansion program in North America that includes $75-billion in new capital projects.
Mohawk College, Hamilton. College; 1,050 employees. Has introduced numerous environmental programs across the campus, including community gardens, honeybee apiaries, pollinator gardens and water bottle filling stations.
Mott MacDonald Canada Ltd., Vancouver. Engineering; 240 employees. Manages a unique in-house carbon portal assessment tool that is designed to measure and reduce carbon and costs for the firm’s projects.
Nature’s Path Foods, Inc., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 247 employees. Donates 1 per cent of sales from its “EnviroKidz 1% for the Planet” line to environmental charities supporting habitat restoration, endangered species conservation and environmental education for youth.
Nightingale Corp., Mississauga. Furniture manufacturing; 113 employees. Continues to exceed minimum industry standard, ensuring all of its chairs are Greenguard-certified as low-emitting products.
Pacific Blue Cross, Burnaby, B.C. Insurance; 749 employees. Has made significant efforts in reducing its paper consumption by moving to online communications where possible and even encouraging employees working from home to reduce their paper use.
PCL Construction, Edmonton. Industrial, commercial and institutional building construction; 2,697 employees. Manages a dedicated network of sustainable construction advisors to provide in-house expertise on sustainable construction practices and in-office sustainability initiatives.
Perkins&Will Canada Architects Co., Vancouver. Architecture; 221 employees. Is a signatory to the 2030 Challenge, to challenge industry professionals to make all projects carbon neutral by 2030.
RTS Canada, Richmond, B.C. Waste management and recycling; 85 employees. Has replaced sending gifts to clients with planting trees on their customers’ behalf in partnership with Tree Canada.
RONA, Boucherville, Que. Retail; 13,572 employees. Has extensive waste management programs at all of its store locations, capturing a wide range of store and customer waste.
SAP Canada Inc., Vancouver. Custom computer programming services; 3,325 employees. Has impressively reduced its overall paper consumption by over 88 per cent over a baseline year of 2009.
SaskPower, Regina. Electric power generation; 3,298 employees. Donates used (but functional) phones to SaskTel’s Phones for Fresh Start recycling program that provides refurbished phones and accessories to people in need.
SaskTel, Regina. Telecommunications; 2,659 employees. Has a longstanding partnership with Computers for Schools that works to refurbish and donate computers to schools across the province.
Sheridan Nurseries Ltd., Georgetown, Ont. Nursery and garden centre; 212 employees. Developed and manages a massive water recapture pond to collect rainwater and water runoff from its operations to significantly reduce its water draw from local sources.
Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering; 2,260 employees. Features a number of energy-saving initiatives at its head office, including LED lighting systems, building automation controls and lighting sensors where possible.
Sleeman Breweries Ltd., Guelph, Ont. Breweries; 1,065 employees. Maintains a formal Environmental Steering Committee that is responsible for overseeing various initiatives such as procurement policies and waste diversion programs.
Sodexo Canada Ltd., Montreal. Food service contractors; 8,858 employees. Has a formal plastics reduction policy to eliminate the use of plastic straws, stir sticks, plastic bags, takeout containers and polystyrene containers from its operations.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospital; 6,780 employees. Encourages employees to consider cycling through the employee-led Bikes User Group Sunnybrook, secure bike parking and hosting several bike-share stations.
Surrey, City of, Surrey, B.C. Municipal government; 2,106 employees. Manages a unique organic biofuel processing facility to process collected organics, with the renewable natural gas being used to help power its fleet of garbage collection trucks.
Surrey School District No. 36, Surrey, B.C. Schools; 10,194 employees. Champions a number of energy-producing features, including solar walls to preheat outdoor air at four locations and LED lighting upgrades at all locations.
Symcor Inc., Mississauga. Data processing and support services; 1,193 employees. Supports various in-house environmental initiatives that includes an extensive recycling program offered in partnership with TerraCycle and Cascades Recovery+ to capture non-conventional recyclables.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 59,100 employees. Has provided over $105-million to over 28,500 local environmental projects since 1990 through its longstanding TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
TELUS Communications Inc., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 25,474 employees. Has a longstanding partnership with Tree Canada to offset its paper usage through tree-planting, having planted (and helped maintain) more than 750,000 trees across Canada.
Toronto Zoo, Toronto. Zoos and botanical gardens; 273 employees. Has partnered with Pollution Probe to focus on plastic pollution reduction in the local watershed as part of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Program.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. / TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 10,009 employees. Was one of the first manufacturers to set a zero-waste goal back in 2004, and has diverted approximately 95 per cent of all waste.
TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority), New Westminster, B.C. Public transit; 7,748 employees. Introduced many energy-savings initiatives at its facilities through BC Hydro’s conservation and energy management programs.
Tru Earth Environmental Products Inc., Port Moody, B.C. Detergent manufacturing; 76 employees. Encourages employees to get involved by volunteering on various environmentally focused projects including beach clean-ups and environmental education sessions.
UBC / University of British Columbia, Vancouver. University; 15,365 employees. Offers an impressive range of highly focused sustainability initiatives across campus that aim to foster a culture of sustainability among staff, students and the community.
University Health Network, Toronto. Hospital; 12,915 employees. A strong advocate of sustainable transportation in the city, helping to provide over 1,000 bicycle parking spots.
University of Alberta, Edmonton. University; 7,957 employees. Offers micro and major grants to engage employees and students in support of projects that improve operations and practices, encourage environmental stewardship and support sustainability research.
University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C. University; 595 employees. Operates a unique LEED Platinum-certified biomass gasification facility featuring a wood pellet heating system and utilizing wood residue from a local sawmill to produce clean renewable energy.
University of Toronto, Toronto. University; 11,502 employees. Raises awareness about food sourcing and waste generation through a number of longstanding formal programs led by its food services operations.
University of Victoria, Victoria. University; 3,399 employees. Supports a campus community garden with 90 plots and includes regular gardening workshops and a small bee apiary.
Vancouver, City of, Vancouver. Municipal government; 8,127 employees. Has adopted a policy to build all new larger civic facilities to a minimum of LEED Gold standard.
WalterFedy Inc., Kitchener, Ont. Architectural and engineering services; 233 employees. Partnered with Sustainable Waterloo Region, which works with businesses in the region helping them to become more environmentally and economically sustainable.
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ont. University; 1,779 employees. Introduced self-maintaining vertical barrel gardens on the Waterloo campus to supply space to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers (made available to students).
YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 3,152 employees. Established a dedicated Green Fund to support ongoing green initiatives, help fund facility improvements and sustainable new building practices, and environmental education initiatives.
York University, Toronto. University; 5,071 employees. Has a unique partnership with Stronach International to the help design, develop and test a new generation of affordable electric micromobility vehicles.
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