An editorial competition run by Mediacorp Canada has selected McGill as one of Canada’s top 100 greenest employers.
As the company describes, “This special designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations. These employers have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives – and are attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership.”
Indeed, staff and students throughout the University have been leading the charge in building a culture of sustainability at McGill for decades.
Mediacorp editors judged employer submissions on several criteria, from formal green strategies or policies to employee-led environmental management programs.
Sustainability plans and policies
“McGill has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 and improving its institutional sustainability in our most recent Climate and Sustainability Action Plan,” says Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), Yves Beauchamp. “Every unit has a role to play, from Buildings and Grounds to Human Resources. I hope that staff across the University take pride in being part of an initiative that is greater than them – greater than all of us. For me, this commitment is a key reason why McGill is one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.”
McGill has an over-arching Climate and Sustainability Action Plan for the campus as a whole, complemented by sustainability-related planning and policy documents in specialized areas including Food and Dining Services, Procurement Services, Utilities and Energy Management, Building Design Standards, and the Physical Master Plan.
Research and education
Employers are also evaluated on their “line of business,” which, for McGill, entails how we educate our students and conduct research to address complex challenges.
McGill offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate academic programs related to sustainability, including the Bachelor of Commerce in Managing for Sustainability and the Bachelor of Arts and Science in Sustainability, Science, and Society.
McGill also has its own sustainability research hub, the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI), which brings together experts from across faculties, providing support and seed funding for interdisciplinary research teams that are taking a solutions-oriented approach to complex sustainability issues. In 2017, the MSSI distributed $1,200,000 to researchers across the University.
Employee-led green initiatives
“Through my work at the Office of Sustainability, I’ve been so encouraged to find that staff throughout the university are truly excited to engage in sustainability programs that go beyond the call of duty,” says Sustainability Officer, Shona Watt. “Departments and units across the University are signing up to become certified sustainable workplaces, and many others have worked with our consultants to plan more sustainable events.”
Watt has overseen several staff engagement programs in her role, including the Sustainable Workplace Certification program and the Staff Garden Program, which attracted 75 individuals from 33 different units at McGill last summer.
Learn more about the Canada’s Greenest Employers competition.