The green companies list is based on how employees perceive their company’s environmental efforts. We asked each organization that made this year’s list, compiled by Aon Hewitt, to highlight some of their key programs and achievements that earned them high marks.
Operates a truly paperless environment and encourages customers to do the same.
Limits carbon footprint by conducting Skype interviews, saving thousands of trips to and from offices every month.
Automotive, Richmond, B.C.
Green energy sources, including a wind turbine and the biggest solar panel installation at a dealership in Canada (Mini Richmond), are aimed at helping to reduce the use of utility grid power.
Eight employee-maintained gardens contain a wide range of species—from lavender to blueberry bushes and vegetables donated to the local food bank.
Reclaims approximately 90 per cent of the water from car washes. Runoff is collected and all particulates are filtered out; then it is reused during the wash cycle.
Medical laboratory, Surrey, B.C.
All labs feature recycling and composting programs as well as wastewater diversion programs and treatment systems.
Biohazardous waste generation has been reduced at all labs.
Insurance, Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Switched from paper to electronic invoices and statements.
Each office has a bicycle for running errands or commuting to and from work.
Engineering, Sudbury, Ont.
Developed software that mining companies use to collect real-time ambient air-quality data to help smelting operations regulate and control their output.
Developed software enabling underground mines to channel air to where it is needed and save more than 30 per cent in energy consumption.
Real estate management, Markham, Ont.
Installed thousands of water-faucet aerators for clients, saving more than 12 million litres of water annually.
Hosts a forum for sharing innovative ideas on sustainability for employees and industry professionals.
Electronics manufacturing, Toronto
About 95 per cent of waste produced by its Toronto solar panel operations is diverted, including items such as glass and solar cells.
A new waste recycling program being piloted at its Toronto site will reduce the amount of waste destined for landfill.
Installed over 1,400 TelePresence units in its offices in 250 countries resulting in less travel and more than 680,000 metric tonnes of emissions saved to date.
Met its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emission and business air-travel related emissions worldwide by 25 per cent by 2012.
Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan
Financial services, Toronto
A green committee organizes functions such as a potluck lunch on Earth Day to raise funds for tree planting.
Achieved gold-level green business certification with the Green Business Bureau.
Insurance, Guelph, Ont.
Participates in the United Nations Environment Programme: Principles for Sustainable Insurance.
The Co-operators Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership has granted more than $250,000 to student projects, including creating sustainable food systems on campuses.
Co-operators Life Insurance Co.
Started inner-city environment cleanup in partnership with other companies.
Started a sustainability fund, providing grants to elementary and high schools pursuing environmental projects.
Hotel management, Toronto
A sustainable purchasing policy assesses the environmental practices of suppliers to ensure they meet the company’s environmental commitments.
Green teams help monitor environmentally friendly programs, including an option for guests to have an emailed electronic receipt.
Carbon neutral since 2010 by reducing energy use and investing in Canadian renewable energy projects.
One per cent of revenue is invested in local social and environmental initiatives.
Supportive services, Edmonton
Replacing aged service and maintenance vehicles with smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
In new construction, the company uses solar-heated hot water, energy-efficient lighting and exhaust systems that are tied to heat recovery systems.
Technology parks, Saskatoon
Environmental management is incorporated into individual work plans. Ongoing measuring of sustainability indicators keeps it on top of employees’ minds.
New technologies are constantly being adopted and incorporated into the work environment, often at the suggestion of employees.
Employees maintain a rooftop organic garden during the spring and summer.
Employee benefits reward green behaviour (e.g., staff who carpool have their parking paid for by the company).
ISL Engineering and Land Services
Aims to be a sustainable engineering and land services company by 2020.
Participates in river valley and shoreline cleanups.
Financial services, Duncan, B.C.
Reduces paper waste by managing mortgage and member applications electronically and providing a free electronic statement option for members.
Makes sustainable and eco-friendly choices regarding building materials for new branch locations.
Offices in Toronto, Calgary and Mississauga, Ont., are powered with green energy provider Bullfrog Power.
Fuel-efficient vehicles and memberships to Bixi bike-sharing service are available to employees in Toronto and Montreal.
Thirty-eight per cent of products have no packaging.
Products are shipped in biodegradable plastic bags, recycled paper and/or biodegradable filler and eco-friendly packing tape.
Energy production, Calgary
Researching initiatives to improve steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) performance in the oil sands, making them more energy efficient.
Planted approximately 240,000 seedlings, covering 190 oil sands exploration sites.
Prefabricating elements of a construction project in a controlled factory environment leads to greater efficiency and less waste.
Environmental-footprint assessments set a baseline for improvements, achieved by various energy-reduction initiatives, including purchasing renewable energy.
Environmental services, Mississauga, Ont.
Provides educational seminars on current environmental issues.
Four-stream recycling program was implemented to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill, in addition to electronic recycling.
A waste-management program led to over 8,000 kg of organic waste being composted in 2012.
New sustainable procurement guidelines help employees integrate sustainability factors into product selection.
Enterprise software, Toronto
At the end of 2012, roughly 60 per cent of the company’s total electricity consumption came from renewable sources, up from 47 per cent in 2011.
Networks of local green teams push the sustainability agenda across Canada.
Sovereign General Insurance Co.
Implemented a zero-waste-to-landfill program.
New employees take online sustainability training.
The first Canadian national law firm to be certified as carbon neutral, it reduced its carbon footprint by 13 per cent since the first measurement in 2008.
Recycling and energy conservation initiatives have resulted in a 23 per cent reduction in building operations across the firm.
Financial services, Vancouver
Manages a rooftop garden and delivers vegetables to a local organization that provides food to residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Provided $243 million in loans and $3.5 million in grants in 2012 to support energy and environment sectors and local, natural and organic food.
Met the reporting requirements of the CSA CleanStart Registry, and is now recognized as carbon neutral.
Truck routes across a vast distribution network are planned to be the most energy-efficient possible.
THE METHODOLOGY: The green companies list is based on employee opinion data collected as part of Aon Hewitt’s annual Best Employers in Canada study and Best Small & Medium Employers study. More than 190,000 employees at more than 280 organizations participated in the 2013 edition of these studies. To be eligible, organizations must have been in business for at least three years and have 50 or more employees.