As climate change challenges the world, Canadians know we must do better, particularly in business.
Canada’s Greenest Employers 2021, selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. and celebrated here in this special competition for environmental leadership, have the kind of practical strategies that make a real difference. And as these Greenest companies show, sustainability and success do go hand in hand.
Under the stress of a global pandemic, not only have they continued to green their organizations in so many innovative ways – from electric vehicles to solar reflecting roofs to creating habit for honeybees – but increasingly demonstrate a formalized commitment supporting the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
All have ambitious plans to reduce their ecological footprint. Indeed, some have already achieved carbon neutral, while others are well underway to meeting their varied targets.
Examples include: Accenture with a goal to reduce carbon by 11 per cent by 2025 (over a 2016 baseline year); and Schneider Electric Canada with manufacturing plants in Victoria, Edmonton and Brossard, Quebec now certified zero waste to landfill.
Community partnerships also strengthen the contribution companies can make towards a healthier planet. For instance, Cowbell Brewing Co. in Blyth, Ontario, has worked with Maitland Valley Conservation Authority to plant over 12,000 native trees and pollinator plants on over 9.3 hectares of its land, helping ensure its brewing operations remain carbon neutral.
Many winners maintain that COVID-19 has sparked a reset on their best practices. Post pandemic, they expect to continue with less commuting and travel as well as an increased use of technology to connect – all with positive environmental benefits. Additionally, the sustainability culture of Greenest employers has spilled into home offices, increasing awareness and encouraging individuals to make more environmentally responsible choices to reduce their personal carbon footprint.
Every effort counts. Young people looking to join an organization are more mindful than ever of a company’s environmental practices and have set the bar high. From a carbon perspective, business as usual with its bad behaviours is no longer good enough.
Mediacorp’s Greenest Employers 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 Mediacorp’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 Mediacorp’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 2021, as selected by Mediacorp
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Professional services; 5,453 employees. Increased investments in virtual collaborative technology to help reduce unnecessary employee travel.
Adobe Systems Canada Inc., Ottawa. Software publishers; 302 employees. Offers its employees subsidies to encourage sustainable living purchases for the home, such as on the purchase of solar panels.
AET Group Inc., Kitchener. Ont. Environmental consulting; 29 employees. Partners with numerous community environmental initiatives, including The Carbon Cleanse, a four-week challenge to address energy use, waste, commuting and water usage.
Aramark Canada Ltd., Toronto. Food service contractors; 14,253 employees. Manages numerous communication initiatives through its Healthy for Life program to help employees and customers make sustainable choices every day.
Assiniboine Credit Union Ltd., Winnipeg. Credit union; 415 employees. Has surveyed employees on their commuting habits since 2009 and encourages them to reduce their carbon footprint.
BC Housing Management Commission, Burnaby, B.C. Housing programs; 821 employees. Promotes a culture of sustainability across all levels of the organization and encourages environmentally responsible choices both at home and at work.
BC Hydro, Vancouver. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,863 employees. Delivered over 16,000 Energy Saving Kits offering energy efficient products to help lower income households lower their bills.
BC Public Service, Victoria. Provincial government; 31,117 employees. Celebrates a number of environmental awareness initiatives annually, including Earth Week, Earth Hour, the Hibernation and Stay Cool Challenges.
Bell Canada, Verdun, Que. Communications; 37,528 employees. Manages the dedicated VideoZone program featuring the latest video conferencing technology to enhance online meetings for employees and reduce unnecessary travel.
BlackBerry Ltd., Waterloo, Ont. Secure software and services; 1,918 employees. Eliminated plastic bottles from all vending machines and introduced a program to test reusable cutlery and dishes.
BluEarth Renewables Inc., Calgary. Renewable power generation; 106 employees. Encourages employees to post photos of their at-home environmental initiatives and offers prizes for the best ideas.
British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch, Burnaby, B.C. Liquor and cannabis distribution and retail; 2,797 employees. Began the phase out of plastic bags in 2019 that is estimated to save 22 million plastic bags.
Canon Canada Inc., Brampton, Ont. Imaging equipment and information services; 974 employees. Supports numerous local environmental initiatives through its Branch Out program that is funded through its longstanding toner recycling program.
Capital Regional District, The / CRD, Victoria. Municipal government; 565 employees. Partners with various community organizations to educate residents and the local building industry on green building standards and residential retrofits.
Co-operators Group Ltd., The, Guelph, Ont. Insurance; 6,172 employees. Is a founding member of the Corporate Knights’ Council for Clean Capitalism.
Cowbell Brewing Co., Blyth, Ont. Breweries; 78 employees. Has creatively worked around small-town infrastructure limitations to ensure minimal impacts on the local environment and the municipal systems.
Credit Valley Conservation Authority / CVC, Mississauga. Environment, conservation and wildlife organizations; 213 employees. Set up its own organic composting where no municipal organic program is available.
Dentons Canada LLP, Vancouver. Law firm; 1,251 employees. Encourage employees to take on the Healthy Habits Challenge, a month-long initiative addressing the environment, exercise, food and to learn something new.
Desjardins Group / Mouvement Desjardins, Lévis. Que. Financial institution; 40,137 employees. Introduced special financing rates for members who purchase new hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as discounts on insurance rates.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., Toronto. Architecture; 301 employees. Has committed to the industry’s 2030 Challenge that includes a commitment to design all projects as carbon neutral by 2030.
Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology, Oshawa, Ont. College; 792 employees. Manages its own in-house Green Office certification program to recognize offices across the campus that adopt sustainable practices in day-to-day operations.
EfficiencyOne, Dartmouth, N.S. Energy conservation advocacy; 132 employees. Encourages green living choices with rebates to residents for the purchase of energy efficient appliances, home energy assessments and small business energy solutions.
Emterra Group, Burlington, Ont. Recycling and waste management; 1,036 employees. Has made significant infrastructure investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its fleet operations.
ENMAX Corp., Calgary. Electric power distribution; 1,713 employees. Is a leading public advocate of energy conservation and alternative energy production in Alberta.
Export Development Canada, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 1,756 employees. Launched a website dedicated to sharing environmental tips, data from the head office’s waste audits and information on upcoming green initiatives.
Farm Mutual Re, Cambridge, Ont. Insurance; 91 employees. Partnered with Sustainable Waterloo Region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, over a 2008 baseline year.
Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7,069 employees. Has an ongoing multi-year strategy (with its parent company) to develop and offer customers 40 hybrid vehicles, including 16 fully electric models.
Hatch Ltd., Mississauga. Engineering; 3,381 employees. Features water efficient appliances and automated building sensor technology at its head office.
Hemmera Envirochem Inc., Burnaby, B.C. Environmental consulting; 201 employees. Sets-up employee workstations with a special three-way waste bin that lets employees efficiently sort their recycling, organics and non-recyclables directly.
Home Depot of Canada Inc., Toronto. Retail; 14,591 employees. Helps Canadians make greener choices with its Eco Options product line that includes a variety of products that offer lower environmental impacts.
HP Canada Co., Mississauga. Computer technology and services; 498 employees. Incorporates environmental considerations into all product design through its formal Design for Sustainability program.
Humber College, Toronto. College; 1,752 employees. Maintains extensive waste reduction efforts, increasing its waste diversion rate to 69 per cent in 2019, up 42 per cent since 2012.
Hydro Ottawa, Gloucester, Ont. Electric power distribution; 701 employees. Invests in alternative energy for the future, partnering with the City of Ottawa to install solar panels on eight municipal buildings.
IKEA Canada Ltd. Partnership, Burlington, Ont. Retail; 3,500 employees. Has numerous programs focused on sustainable sourcing, from the WWF’s Better Cotton initiative to ensure sustainable cotton production to sourcing certified food products.
Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., Montreal. Real estate investment and management; 1,055 employees. Installed over 200 electric vehicle charging stations at its the properties, serving a growing number of electric vehicles every year.
Keilhauer Ltd., Scarborough, Ont. Furniture manufacturing; 262 employees. Allows customers to return some used furniture items for disassembly and recycling through its Take-Back program.
Killam Apartment REIT, Halifax. Property management and development; 512 employees. Established apartment renovation guidelines that include energy efficient appliances, water efficient fixtures, programmable thermostats and low odour paints.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 8,399 employees. Has a longstanding formal print strategy that has reduced paper consumption each year since 2008.
Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd., Toronto. Breweries; 3,417 employees. Supports numerous environmental issues locally, nationally and internationally, from the London Environmental Network to World Water Day.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 27,360 employees. Manages a range of initiatives to increase consumer access to sustainable products, including its longstanding PC GREEN product line.
Lowe’s Canada, Boucherville, Que. Retail; 12,948 employees. Adopted the target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent below its 2016 levels by 2030.
LoyaltyOne, Co., Toronto. Marketing consulting; 844 employees. Conducts annual waste audits and continues to refine its waste reduction strategies and expand its waste diversion program.
Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 4,947 employees. Produces virtually all of its electricity from self-renewing hydroelectric power (water) and added geothermal and wind power to its renewable portfolio.
Manulife, Toronto. Insurance; 12,489 employees. Has invested over $14 billion in renewable energy projects in North America since 2002.
McGill University, Montreal. University; 6,555 employees. Boasts a number of environmental firsts, including being the first campus in Canada to receive certification from the Marine Stewardship Council.
Medtronic Canada ULC, Brampton, Ont. Electromedical apparatus manufacturing; 682 employees. Is a founding member of Ontario Electronics Stewardship Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care.
Metrolinx, Toronto. Public transit; 4,137 employees. Encourages alternative transportation with preferred parking for carpoolers along with programs to reduce single-car trips.
Mohawk College, Hamilton. College; 1,080 employees. Has ongoing programs to improve fleet fuel efficiency and is working towards ensuring that 75 per cent of replacement fleet vehicles are hybrid or electric.
Mott MacDonald Canada Ltd., Vancouver. Engineering; 174 employees. Implemented numerous initiatives across the firm, including paper reuse and double-sided printing programs, zero waste lunch and learn events and sustainability chats.
National Capital Commission, Ottawa. Federal government; 460 employees. Hosted a unique Urbanism Lab Speaker Series featuring presentations by leaders in urbanism, design, heritage and conservation, sustainability, and place-making.
Nature’s Path Foods, Inc., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 193 employees. Has an ambitious waste management program with a targeted 90 per cent waste diversion rate.
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; 865 employees. Has partnered with Winnipeg-based Alvéole in the installation of two urban rooftop beehives that are home to 10,000 honeybees.
Perkins+Will Canada Architects Co., Vancouver. Architecture; 216 employees. Works closely with Passive House Canada to develop an industry training program for the design and building of passive buildings.
Printing House Ltd., The / TPH, Toronto. Printing; 578 employees. Has a longstanding partnership with Forest Farmer to plant a tree for every new Printing House account opened.
Red River College, Winnipeg. College; 1,464 employees. Maintains a growing green building footprint, including the BOMA Best certified Roblin Centre and the Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre.
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, Toronto. Real estate investments; 603 employees. Partners with the Print Releaf Exchange program that reverse-calculates how many trees were cut to produce paper the company consumes.
Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Telecommunications, cable, publishing and subscription programming; 22,635 employees. Hosts an annual Waste Reduction Week to raise employee awareness and encourage suppliers and contractors to adopt sustainable strategies.
Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 57,242 employees. Introduced numerous green building features at locations across the bank, including green roofs, solar electricity panel installations, rainwater collection and LED lighting retrofits.
SAP Canada Inc., Vancouver. Custom computer programming services; 3,283 employees. Offers electric vehicle parking and secure bicycle parking, and is also committed to adding electric vehicles to its own fleet of vehicles.
SaskTel, Regina. Telecommunications; 2,737 employees. Has captured over 120,000 cellphones and smart phones since 2009 through its Phones for a Fresh Start program.
Schneider Electric Canada Inc., Mississauga. Industrial automation and controls; 2,024 employees. Features numerous activities organized by its head office employee-led green team, from a book share and reuse program to clean-up days at nearby parks.
Sheridan Nurseries Ltd., Georgetown, Ont. Nursery and garden centre; 220 employees. Offer educational programs to the wider community, such as the Growing Up Green school outreach program that provides plantings to help green schoolyards.
Sodexo Canada Ltd., Burlington, Ont. Food service contractors; 5,700 employees. Has gathered chefs for training on expanding plant-based menus, along with sourcing 100 per cent of egg products from cage-free and free-run farming operations.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 6,468 employees. Encourages employees to consider cycling to work 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; 2,125 employees. Established an organic biofuel processing facility to process collected organics with the renewable natural gas being used to help power its natural-gas powered garbage collection trucks.
Surrey School District No. 36, Surrey, B.C. Schools; 9,778 employees. Champions a number of energy-producing features at its locations, including solar walls to preheat outdoor air.
Symcor Inc., Mississauga. Data processing and support services; 1,580 employees. Encourages alternative modes of getting to and from work, including secure bike parking, EV parking, preferred parking for carpoolers and transit discounts.
TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 53,694 employees. Announced an impressive $100-billion investment program (by 2030) for the development of the low-carbon economy, including lending to companies and projects with low-carbon operations.
TELUS Communications Inc., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 23,488 employees. Encourages employees to work from home through its formal Work Styles program, designed to assist employees in adopting flexible work arrangements and reduce commuting.
Toronto Zoo, Toronto. Zoos and botanical gardens; 267 employees. Has a formal Plastic Statement that commits itself to take action to reduce, reuse and recycle any plastic that is used and sold.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc./ TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 9,601 employees. Has diverted approximately 95 per cent of all waste through its many initiatives.
TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority), New Westminster, B.C. Public transit; 7,646 employees. Has been recognized by the American Public Transportation Association Sustainability Commitment for its ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
UBC / University of British Columbia, Vancouver. University; 12,739 employees. Adopted the LEED Gold certification standard for all new construction and major renovations of institutional buildings, with 26 registered and certified buildings.
University Health Network, Toronto. Hospitals; 12,223 employees. Conducts regular energy and waste audits to address specific ongoing environmental impacts of its varied operations, including energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
University of Alberta, Edmonton. University; 8,748 employees. Manages a Zero Waste program that includes the goal of diverting 90 per cent of waste from landfill.
University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C. University; 643 employees. Hosted an online 20 Days of Sustainability social media campaign to promote sustainability initiatives on campus.
University of Toronto, Toronto. University; 10,456 employees. Is a leader in the study and application of new sustainable building design, including the new Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory.
University of Victoria, Victoria. University; 3,203 employees. Manages a campus community garden with 90 plots as well as an ongoing native plant landscaping and invasive species removal program.
Vancouver, City of, Vancouver. Municipal government; 7,582 employees. Has a number of formal health ecosystem initiatives from reducing water use in parks to native habitat plantings to stormwater runoff mitigation initiatives.
Waterloo North Hydro Inc., Waterloo, Ont. Electric power distribution; 122 employees. Has worked with Sustainable Waterloo Region since 2010 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent in 2020.
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo. University; 1,690 employees. Supports a unique Sustainable Hawk Fund which dedicates up to $30,000 annually towards student-led sustainability projects.
Xerox Canada Ltd., North York, Ont. Computer technology and services; 1,974 employees. Helps clients manage paper usage though its ConnectKey software platform that helps clients reduce the need for additional printers.
YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 3,027 employees. Established a dedicated Green Fund to support ongoing green initiatives, including facility improvements, sustainable new building practices and for environmental education initiatives.
York University, North York, Ont. University; 4,815 employees. Manages a formal ZeroWaste program that captures household recyclables, batteries, e-waste, appliances, ink cartridges and more, diverting 69 per cent of waste from landfill.
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