Georgian College has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2013 – the fourth consecutive year that the college has won the award.
The announcement was made during Earth Day activities by Environmental students and faculty at the Hodge Research Area, a wetland owned by Georgian College that forms part of the world-renowned Minesing Wetland.
The Greenest Employer award recognizes employers that lead the nation in making environmental values part of their organizational culture.
“It is a great honour to be recognized, once again as a green employer, and a testament to the efforts of Georgian College students and staff who are dedicated to finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College President and CEO.
“I am impressed by the variety of innovative solutions they discover and implement each day – from finding new ways to recycle metals in our skilled trades programs to recommending new, environmentally friendly materials for use in our art studios.”
Georgian College is being recognized for its strategy of advancing and promoting three environmental priorities: waste reduction and diversion, enhanced environmental literacy, and increased scrutiny of sustainability issues when purchasing goods and services. Every day, Georgian’s staff and students work together to achieve these objectives.
“Georgian College continues to be recognized for its commitment to reducing its environmental impact and having environmentally responsible business activities,” said Dianne Corrigan, Georgian College’s Environmental Sustainability Co-ordinator.
“Georgian College has taken a leadership role in demonstrating how a large organization can find practical ways of incorporating environmentally friendly practices in its operations. It is a series of small steps that collectively make a significant difference, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Corrigan said a key to Georgian College’s success is encouraging students and staff to become aware of the environmental impact of their daily activities. She singled out the Every Day is Earth Day contest, which recognizes individuals and departments across Georgian College who make a special effort to amend work practices to help make the college a greener place.
New initiatives implemented in the past year include increasing waste diversion rates across most campuses and increasing specialized waste collection for e-waste, batteries, cell phones and writing instruments.
As well, students across various programs came together in teams last fall to design master plans for the Barrie Campus that incorporate environmental design principles.
On the energy front, Georgian College’s Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences, the largest building at the Barrie Campus, has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver status. LEED is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences incorporates a variety of environmental technologies and energy efficient lighting. One innovative strategy uses rainwater collected on the roof and stored in underground tanks to water the surrounding landscape.
Canada’s Greenest Employers are selected each year by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Toronto-based Mediacorp Canada Inc.