U of A recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 15th consecutive year
The awards program recognized the university’s efforts to fund sustainability projects, reduce waste and grow food sustainably.
For the 15th year in a row Canada’s Greenest Employers has placed the University of Alberta on its list of organizations that are national leaders for environmental sustainability.
The competition awards the Greenest Employer designation to organizations that create a culture of environmental awareness, have exceptional sustainability initiatives and attract environmentally-conscious employees. It has been running for 16 years.
This year Canada’s Greenest Employers recognized the U of A’s efforts in three areas:
- The University of Alberta offers micro grants (to $2,000) and major grants (to $50,000) engaging employees and students in support of projects that improve operations and practices, encourage environmental stewardship and support sustainability research — over $600,000 in grants have been awarded for 41 projects since 2018.
- The University of Alberta manages a Zero Waste program that includes the goal of diverting 90 per cent of waste from landfill and includes the collection of batteries, e-waste, pallets, kitchen grease, light tubes and ballasts, construction waste, styrofoam and more
- The University of Alberta maintains a one-acre Prairie Urban Farm to demonstrate urban gardening possibilities as well as a two-acre pesticide and fertilizer-free community garden that is run entirely by volunteers — the garden is a partnership with the school of public health and the faculty of agriculture, life and environmental sciences
Energy & Climate Action, a university unit that leads a number of green projects, compiled and submitted the application to Canada’s Greenest Employers.
Morgan Butler, one of the unit’s program coordinators, says she was particularly excited to see Energy & Climate Action’s Campus Sustainability Grants program get highlighted by the competition’s judges.
“With the grants we get to fund so many sustainability projects on campus, all across departments and amongst staff, faculty and students,” Butler says. “The grants have funded a solar greenhouse, a clothing repair cafe, research into adding solar panels to university buildings to name a few. All of these projects make a lasting impact.”
Michael Versteege, Energy & Climate Action’s manager, says the fact that the university has appeared on the list of top green employers for 15 of the competition’s 16 years strengthens the university’s reputation as a green post-secondary institution and helps attract and retain students, faculty and staff.
“The designation serves to promote our efforts internally, but also a vast external audience,” he says. “I truly believe the recognition firmly supports the university’s efforts towards establishing a culture of sustainability.”