UAlberta one of Canada's Greenest Employers for sixth straight year
Green award recognizes leadership in creating culture of environmental awareness.
By MICHAEL BROWN
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(Edmonton) For a remarkable sixth 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 55 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 Eco Move Out and One Simple Act on Campus programs as just a few of the many initiatives undertaken on campus.
"As the University of Alberta builds a culture of sustainability on campus, it’s really about the systems and all of the people who are working together to green our operations,” said Trina Innes, the office’s director. “Being recognized as the greenest employer for the sixth year in a row demonstrates the U of A’s ongoing commitment to excellence and sustainability."
Highlights of the U of A’s 2014 Canada’s Greenest Employers recognition
- The Office of Sustainability oversees and creates awareness about the university's many environmental initiatives, and manages the ecoREPs leadership program to reach out to employees, faculty and students to become sustainability champions across the university.
- The recently introduced 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 8,500 kilograms of goods were donated or recycled last year.
- From an energy management plan first established in the 1970s, the university has more recently 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 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 various and ongoing energy efficiency projects.
- 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 the prestigious LEED Gold certification for its Triffo Hall building renovation. Five 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 $100,000 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.