The Green 30 is based on how employees perceive their employer’s environmental efforts. We asked each organization that made the 2012 list, compiled by Aon Hewitt, to highlight some of the key programs and practices that earned them high marks. Here are their contributions:
Hotel management, Toronto •
A detailed tracking system minimizes electricity, water, gas and sewer use. •
A comprehensive recycling program has cut back the use of newspaper, glass, aluminum, plastics, cardboard and kitchen grease.
Medical laboratory, Surrey, B.C.
• Works with recycling providers to find solutions for high-volume items—like small caps from needles, which once weren’t considered recyclable.
• Telecommuting is encouraged; more than 15 per cent of administrative staff work from home.
Real estate management, Markham, Ont. •
Brookfield’s head office diverts 100 per cent of its waste from landfills.
• Established 11 social responsibility committees and hosted a sustainability event to educate real estate industry professionals on reducing carbon footprints.
Electronics manufacturing, Toronto •
Hybrid and other eco-friendly vehicles get preferred parking spots (employees and visitors).
• Rather than sending wooden pallets to be recycled, Celestica pioneered a program to reuse them; last year, 5,000 pallets were reused in Toronto alone.
Communications, Toronto •
Since 2010, CISCO has reduced business travel by 40 per cent. •
Participates in several global pollution-reduction initiatives, including the United Nations-led “Solving the E-Waste Problem” program.
Insurance, Guelph, Ont.
• Committed to cutting carbon emissions in half by 2014 by retrofitting offices and curbing business travel.
• Developed Impact! Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership, which teaches students how to make their communities more sustainable.
• Recycling centres on every floor deal with everything from pens and batteries to media and IT equipment; and new retrofits include sensor lighting and hands free taps and urinals.
• Co-operators Life continues to lead the Regina Business Sustainability program where local businesses get together monthly to share and educate sustainability best practices within each of their businesses
Construction, Kingston, Ont.
• Reduced emissions with speed-limiting devices, route optimization and GPS tracking programs, and by implementing an anti-idling policy.
• Purchased equipment to recycle asphalt into paving material, and upgraded heavy equipment to more efficient machinery.
Hotel management, Toronto
• As part of a waste reduction program, newspapers and bottled water are not automatically delivered to every guest room.
• Every hotel has a green team to initiate new environmental projects; highlights include a solar-heating system at the Delta Trois-Rivières, Que., the 100 per cent carbon-neutral Delta Chelsea in Toronto, and the “living green roof” at the Delta Guelph.
Building contracting, London, Ont.
• More than 80 employees have acquired the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-accredited professional designation, helping them design and construct the next generation of green-friendly buildings.
• By using a 3D modelling system, engineers are able to virtually construct projects before the shovel hits the ground, reducing change orders and construction waste.
Supportive services industry, Edmonton
• Service and maintenance vehicles are being replaced with smaller, more fuel-efficient ones.
• New buildings are fitted with increased insulation, solar-heated hot water, energy-efficient lighting and triple-pane windows.
Hotel management, Mississauga, Ont.
• All hotels track and curb waste as well as energy and water use.
• Hotels reduced energy use by as much as 10 per cent over the past three years.
Property management and ownership, Montreal
• Three LEED-certified professionals are on staff to advise on the greenest possible building practices.
• More than 75 per cent of Canadian properties are certified BOMA BESt (Building Owners and Managers Association’s Building Environmental Standards), Canada’s leading environmental certification program for commercial buildings.
• At its LEED-certified customer-care centre, 800 solar panels feed enough energy back into the grid to power 16 homes.
• A fleet of Smart cars is available for business use.
Cosmetics retail, Vancouver
• After three years of research, developed a soap base that doesn’t use palm oil, a cosmetics ingredient that is leading to the decimation of rainforests and orangutan habitat in Asia.
• All Lush stores are furnished with sustainably forested wood, and
all the electricity for its Canadian manufacturing and distribution facilities* comes from green-energy provider Bullfrog Power.
Hotel management, Mississauga, Ont.
• Marriott hotel rooms, which all feature low-flush toilets, are cleaned with biodegradable products; hotel lawns are treated with steam, not herbicides.
• Partnered with the Brazilian state of Amazonas to preserve 1.4 million acres of endangered rainforest, funded in part by $1-per-night guest donations.
Outdoor clothing and gear, Vancouver
• Allows employees to volunteer with ecological or outdoor recreational organizations on company time.
• Diverted between 91 and 94 per cent of its waste from landfills in the last five years.
Equipment leasing, Winnipeg
• Replaced plastic coffee stir sticks with dry linguine pasta (cut in half).
• By converting a 50-year-old warehouse to an energy-efficient office, the company saves $20,000 in energy costs annually.
Energy production, Calgary
• Committed to reducing offshore leaks by half by 2014.
• Partners with organizations like the Horn River Basin Producers Group in B.C., a shale-gas industry initiative aimed at minimizing environmental impacts.
Banking & investment, North Vancouver
• All branches use automatic lighting systems, low water-flow fixtures and products made from recyclable components.
• By replacing old monitors with LED backlit screens, the credit union reduced power consumption by 30 per cent.
Insurance, Waterloo, Ont.
• Over 60 per cent of all products purchased by OTIP are “green compliant.” The corporation gives employees reusable lunch bags and snack containers to reduce lunch litter.
• Over 40 per cent of employees participate in carpooling.
• PCL recycles more than 80 per cent of construction waste materials, converting them to road bedding, highway barriers and plant mulch.
• The company has built more than 100 LEED-certified projects.
Shipping and transportation, Vancouver •
Grants harbour-fee discounts of up to 50 per cent to companies reducing ship emissions.
• By using hybrid vehicles in its corporate fleet, the port saved 1,467 litres of fuel and 3.5 tonnes of CO2 last year.
Information technology, Vancouver
• Employees who turn in their parking passes receive a green subsidy, defraying the cost of transit or a bike.
• Offers a searchable listing of green IT products and providers on its website, making it easy to buy green.
• Installed motion-sensor lighting and reduced operating hours at its Calgary head office to reduce energy use.
• To reduce plastic water bottle use, Sovereign installed coolers using the local water supply in offices throughout the country.
• Double-sided printing saved 6.6 million sheets of paper this year alone.
• Eliminating bottled water, paper plates, plastic cutlery and installing “sleep mode” functions on electronic equipment helped Stikeman Elliott become the country’s first carbon-neutral law firm.
Banking and investing, Toronto
• TD diverts 100 per cent of its electronic waste—everything from computer monitors to laptops—from landfill and has planted over 44,000 trees.
• Its video-conferencing pilot programme saved over 800,000 km of travel and 48 tonnes of CO2 last year.
Banking & investment, Vancouver
• Vancity’s head office recycles and composts more than 79 per cent of its waste, and features a rooftop garden with vegetable plots.
• By installing programmable thermostats and automatic lighting systems, the company cut electrical use by 20 per cent.
Aquarium and research, Vancouver
• In 2011, more than 50,000 people picked up 144,000 kg of trash, part of its Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup campaign.
• Developed the “Ocean Wise” program to certify the most environmentally friendly seafood in stores, restaurants and markets across Canada.
Automotive servicing, Toronto
• Retrofitted all offices, making them more energy efficient.
• Discourages the use of disposable coffee cups, and promotes teleconferencing and waste reduction. THE METHODOLOGY: The Green 30 is based on employee opinion data collected as part of Aon Hewitt’s annual Best Employers in Canada study and Best Small & Medium Employers study. More than 112,000 employees at more than 250 organizations participated in the 2012 edition of these studies. To be eligible, organizations must have been in business for at least three years and have 50 or more employees.
* An earlier version of this article stated that Lush sources all of its electricity from green-energy provider Bullfrog Power. In fact, Lush sources electricity for its Canadian manufacturing and distribution facilities from Bullfrog Power.