Georgian College is now officially greener than ever. To mark Earth Day on April 22, Georgian was named one of  Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2012 – the third consecutive year that the college has won the award.

The national award recognizes employers that lead the nation in making environmental values part of their organizational culture. Winners, honoured for exceptional earth-friendly initiatives, attract talented employees and customers alike because of their environmental leadership.

“Winning this award for an unprecedented three years in a row confirms Georgian’s status as a leader in sustainability,” said Georgian President and CEO Brian Tamblyn.

“This recognizes our efforts to engage students and staff in creating a culture that highlights the importance of responsible actions for the environment and future generations.”

Georgian 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.

New initiatives implemented in the past year include expansion of recycling depots at all campuses for e-waste, batteries, cell phones and writing instruments.

The “hydration station” project allows staff and students to refill water bottles with free filtered water. The number of stations expands with more added each year at various campuses.

Progress continues on waste diversion and reduction. Building on major gains made during the first few years of implementing waste diversion at all campuses, the college continues to focus strategically on areas for improvement. Faculty and staff in culinary programs, as well as the college’s food service providers, divert pre-consumer organic waste from kitchens and cafeteria food preparation areas. Previously, this material was heading to landfill sites. Future plans include examining the feasibility of launching post-consumer organic waste collection across the college.

On the energy front, Georgian’s new Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness, the largest building at the Barrie Campus, has been constructed to LEED standards, incorporating 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. No other water is used for irrigation around the new centre.

“I am proud that Georgian College and our employees continue to be recognized for our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and having environmentally responsible business activities,” said Dianne Corrigan, Georgian College’s environmental sustainability co-ordinator.

“Georgian 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.”

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.

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