Newly certified sustainable offices at McGill: May 2021

Thirty-six McGill staff level up their commitment to sustainability by promoting energy savings, wellness in the workplace

Living sustainably can be easier than it seems.

Through the month of May, three workplaces at McGill reflected on their commitments to sustainable lifestyles and levelled up their daily habits. These offices, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, Geographical Information Centre (GIC) and our own McGill Office of Sustainability, demonstrate that sometimes all it takes is a little reflection.

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies – Silver

Number of team members: 22

Silver-level action: While working from home, the team makes the most of natural daylight and only turn the lights on when necessary to reduce energy consumption

“At first we were all a bit weary of how we would be able to implement sustainable work measures in our office, but as it turned out, we were actually already practicing several sustainable work efforts already,” says Melanie Conlon, the team’s Sustainable Workplace Ambassador.

She offered purchasing office equipment through McGill Marketplace, which has its own sustainability requirements, and setting computers to energy-saving mode as examples of ways in which her team had already adopted sustainable behaviours.

“Everyone in our office was very much on board about attaining sustainability certification. We all realize the positive impact it will have, not just for the environment, but for our mental health,” says Conlon. “We are more conscientious about taking our lunch breaks and many of us go outside to disconnect and enjoy our beautiful campus.”

Geographical Information Centre (GIC) – Silver

Number of team members: 6

Silver-level action: The GIC has initiated a sustainable snacks program during McGill’s midterm and final exam periods by providing organic, locally grown apples as snacks to our bustling student body using the GIC as a study space. Apples are sourced from the McGill Farmer’s Market when possible, and from Marché Eden on Park Avenue otherwise.

“The Sustainable Workplace Certification has helped the GIC staff remember that sustainability is environmental, social and economic,” wrote Samantha Carr, a student leading the GIC through these changes. “We have been mindful of taking care of ourselves as well as our environment by taking breaks from the screen especially in our current remote work setup.”

She continued that the program reinforced the notion that while sustainability may start at the individual level, “its momentum is built through collective action.”

The GIC is inspired by the workplaces that have come together from across campus to foster a more sustainable McGill, said Carr.

McGill Office of Sustainability – Platinum

Number of team members: 8

Platinum-level action: Each staff member to calculate their personal commuting footprint to determine an office-wide commuting footprint at an annual meeting.

“As Office of Sustainability staff it is important to us, both personally and professionally, that our actions adhere to the social, economic, and environmental values to which our office is committed,” wrote Sustainable Workplace Ambassadors Agathe Moreau and Karen Oberer.

“The Sustainable Workplace Certification program asks us to reflect on our actions on a regular basis and helps to keep us accountable.”

The Sustainable Workplace Certification program includes environmentally, economically, and socially aware action items to inspire sustainable changes at work and at home. Learn how to get started or how to become a Sustainable Workplace Ambassador here.