Newly certified sustainable offices at McGill: August and September 2021

Three workplaces celebrate return to campus with renewed commitments to sustainability

At home or at the office, we all have the power to create an impact, no matter how big or small our actions may be.

That is the lesson three McGill workplaces took home with them this summer. The Post Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) and Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) renewed their commitment to creating sustainable spaces on campus by levelling up to Silver, while Staffing, Human Resources became the first team in their department to join the ranks of McGill’s certified sustainable workplaces.

Post Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) – Silver

Number of team members: 18

Silver-level action: Each PGSS executive and commissioner commit to embedding sustainability and equity in their workplans for the 2021-2022 academic year, details of which will subsequently be shared at monthly meetings throughout the year

While sustainable work habits were already the norm at PGSS, Sustainable Workplace Ambassador Charlotte Aubrac said, “Working to get the certification has, however, opened the conversation about sustainability within PGSS. Throughout the year, each executive and commissioner at PGSS will have to report to the team how they incorporated equity and sustainability, and its three pillars, in their work.”

Aubrac explained that the biggest sustainability-related challenge that they face is to incorporate social aspects of sustainability into their way of operating, “to be inclusive and accessible to all our students.”

“Additionally, with over 10,000 students in our community, we have the responsibility to raise awareness on sustainability issues, both on and outside campus,” said Aubrac. “If even a few students change their habits to be more sustainable, small changes add up and result in significant improvement towards a graduate community that keeps sustainability at the forefront of their actions.”

Staffing, Human Resources – Bronze

Number of team members: 5

Bronze-level goal: To create a more sustainable work environment at home and at the office.

After kickstarting their certification process, the Staffing, Human Resources team “became more mindful of sustainability in our everyday lives,” said Alessandra Cunzo.

One of the ways the team is working to reduce the amount of waste generated is by keeping only digital versions of online recruitment files, rather than printing physical copies. “Offer letters are also now generated through workday rather then being printed,” explained Cunzo.

When asked how the workplace has embraced the certification, Cunzo said “They feel great and feel as though they are making a difference, however big or small.”

Teaching and Learning Services – Silver

Number of team members: 32

Silver-level action: Committed to using the Microsoft Accessibility Checker before distributing documents. The TLS team will publish an article in the recently launched Teaching and Learning Knowledgebase to provide information on how to make various types of documents accessible, with a brief primer on writing alt text, so that other units and Faculties have easy access to this information as well.

“Completing our silver level recertification was a timely reminder of different steps we can take in our daily work–and beyond–to promote greater social, environmental, and economic sustainability,” said Sustainable Workplace Ambassador Jennie Ferris.

Of particular interest for the TLS team were discussions around the ways in which they can both make workshops more sustainable and accessible, Ferris explained.

“As we begin to return to campus, ensuring that our workspaces and practices are sustainable will be on our minds.”

The Sustainable Workplace Certification program includes environmentally, economically, and socially aware action items to inspire sustainable changes at work and at home. Learn more here.