UAlberta named one of Canada's greenest employers for ninth year in a row
University recognized for employee programs, innovative facilities.
By TREVOR CHOW-FRASER
The University of Alberta was named one of Canada’s greenest employers for the ninth straight year.
The U of A is just one of seven employers—and the only Canadian post-secondary institution—to make the national list in each of the last nine years.
The list is compiled by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition to recognize employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations.
One of the reasons the university has been a mainstay on the list is that it supports employees who want to learn more about sustainability and engage their offices. Among other opportunities, a stipend is available to staff to enrol in the Faculty of Extension course Leading Sustainability at Work.
“We love seeing our staff bring their passion for sustainability to work. It’s rewarding for them, their co-workers, our students and the community ultimately,” said Gitta Kulczycki, U of A vice-president of finance and administration.
The university’s homegrown Green Spaces certification program has given hundreds of employees the opportunity to dip their toes into sustainability. The easy-to-understand program guides users through a range of ways they can address environmental responsibility and social concerns in event planning, offices and labs.
“We have an exceptional ‘green team’ here at the university. It’s only by bringing together such a diverse group that we’re able to accomplish all that we do,” said Trina Innes, the university’s chief sustainability officer.
The university got marks for several other new criteria, including recycling and waste-reduction initiatives that go beyond municipally mandated minimums. Periodically, engineering students are given access to the university’s waste management system to assess alternative approaches. These audits contribute to the U of A’s partnership with the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.
The award also recognized employers that invest in their buildings with Earth-friendly features. The U of A got marks for
- two green roofs on the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy,
- solar electricity generation integrated into several newer buildings, including the Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility on the south campus, the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre on the Augustana campus in Camrose, and the Physical Activity and Wellness Centre on the north campus, and
- a rainwater collection system on the roof of Triffo Hall that reduces the building’s need for potable water.
The green-employer award is announced each year on Earth Day (April 22) by Mediacorp Canada, a specialty publisher of employment-related periodicals.