UAlberta celebrates seven years as one of Canada's Greenest Employers
University recognized as national leader in creating culture of environmental awareness and action.
By NEWS STAFF
(Edmonton) For the seventh year in a row, the University of Alberta has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers.
The U of A was one of just 60 Canadian organizations, including eight post-secondary institutions, to get the nod.
The award was announced April 22 by Mediacorp Canada Inc., a specialty publisher of employment-related periodicals that sponsors other employer awards such as Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
The green award recognizes employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organization.
In this year’s submission, the U of A’s Office of Sustainability highlighted its recently awarded STARS Gold rating (link) and updating the Campus Sustainability Plan as just a few of the many initiatives undertaken on campus.
“This shows that the U of A is a workplace that cares about the well-being of its employees and about building a sustainable future. We're national leaders, and I'm delighted that they're recognizing our hard work,” said Trina Innes, the office’s director.
“We've had a really strong push to engage staff at every level of the university,” Innes added. “Programs like Green Spaces and ecoREPs help leaders emerge from the ranks to get everyone excited about greening our offices and operations.”
Highlights of the U of A’s 2015 Canada’s Greenest Employers recognition
- The U of A moved up from the Silver STARS rating it received in 2012 to Gold by increasing scores across the three categories—education and research; operations; and planning, administration and engagement. Its score places it second among the 24 Canadian institutions with a valid rating.
- The Office of Sustainability is also currently building its new Sustainability Plan for 2016–2020. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members were involved in the consultation process to help inform social, economic and environmental sustainability at the U of A.
- This spring, the office launched a new continuing education course, Leading Sustainability at Work, to help anyone learn to be an effective champion for sustainability in their work and personal life.
- The first cohort of students to earn the U of A’s Certificate in Sustainability will graduate this spring. The certificate, administered jointly by the Office of Sustainability and the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, recognizes undergraduate students dedicated to gaining knowledge about being a serious contributor to a sustainable world.
- The annual Eco Move Out program gives departing students the opportunity to reduce waste by donating or recycling their electronics, non-perishable food items, personal care products, and clothing and household items. More than 9,500 kilograms of goods were donated or recycled last year, 1,000 kilograms more than the previous year.
- From an energy management plan first established in the 1970s, the university has developed its next-generation Energy Management Program, which includes numerous initiatives to be implemented over the next decade. Through this program the university is investing about $5 million each year.
- The U of A recently implemented a policy to ensure that all major renovations and all new provincially funded campus buildings must be built to at least a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification standard—and recently achieved its second LEED Gold certification for its Cooling Plant on Campus. Three other campus facilities are pursuing LEED Silver certifications.
- The two-acre Green and Gold Community Garden, run entirely by volunteers, raises funds for a non-profit organization that supports marginalized women in Rwanda. Since 2009, the garden has raised more than $170,000 in donations.
- The U of A was one the first schools to introduce the One Simple Act on Campus initiative, which encourages employees, faculty and students to commit to undertaking one of 20 possible actions related to waste reduction, energy efficiency, sustainable living or water management.
- The Sustainability Enhancement Fund supports volunteer projects designed to help build a sustainable future for the campus. The fund is supported by financial savings generated from ongoing energy-efficiency projects.