Newly certified sustainable offices at McGill: May and June 2022

The School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT), New Models of Work Project Office, and Desautels Faculty of Management Masters Office recommit to walking the walk with regards to sustainability

What motivates your workplace?

For some, it may be a little competition, while others say doing the right thing is all the motivation they need. Regardless of what got them started, three McGill offices are building upon that momentum to embed sustainability into their daily lives.

School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT) – Silver

Number of team members: 5

Sample silver-level action: Implement a project to cut paper waste by eliminating (or decreasing) subscriptions to paper copies of journals.

The School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT), who first embarked on the Sustainable Workplace Certification journey and reached bronze-level in late 2019, have continued their commitment to embedding sustainability into their daily work and home lives.

“Earning this certification has been a motivating factor for the whole unit, in terms of sustainability and managing resources,” said Sustainable Workplace Ambassadors Sarah Marshall and Nadina Paraschuk.

“The unit is very proud of earning this sustainability certification, and we are striving to continue to improve our sustainability actions,” they continued.

New Models of Work Project Office – Bronze

Number of team members: 4

Sustainability goal: Contribute to creating a culture of sustainability that gives our employees a reason to feel good about their job and tell friends/family about the good things McGill does.

McGill’s New Models of Work Project Office embodies sustainability through their mandate of “preparing for the future – examining themes like flexible work arrangements, individual/team engagement and effectiveness, technology, and innovative workspaces to support our new realities.”

As such, seeking the Sustainable Workplace Certification was a logical next step.

“Because being sustainable makes sense,” said Sustainable Workplace Ambassador Karina Hebert. “It can improve health, increase safety, and save money.”

Achieving the bronze-level certification has increased the team’s awareness of sustainability and motivated the New Model of Work Project Office to continue improving their habits, Hebert said. Though taking time to reflect and improve one’s day-to-day practices may require extra effort, Hebert said her team feels “happy and purposeful.”

Desautels Faculty of Management Masters Office – Gold

Number of team members: 20

Sample Gold-level sustainability action: The team shares posts related to a variety of sustainability topics, including socially responsible suppliers, financial incentives for reusable products, gardening, and urban agriculture, in a Teams group each week.

Who doesn’t like a little bit of friendly competition?

After attending a Sustainable Workplace Ambassador training with a colleague in late 2021, the Desautels Faculty of Management Masters Office’s Wesley McCoy issued a challenge to see who could reach Bronze-level certification first.

“The Desautels Faculty of Management Masters Office was the clear victor!” jokes fellow Ambassador Lauren Houghton.

The team moved up the ranks quickly, achieving Silver-level certification in early 2022 before jumping towards Gold. Now building upon that momentum, McCoy is working with other units in the Faculty to help them on their Workplace Certification journey.

“The certification has had profound impact on work habits in the office, with everyone becoming hyper-aware of the small things that can be done to create a greater impact,” said Houghton. “We have pushed to remove any single use items from our kitchenette, focused proper division of waste, recycling, and favoring reusable items when purchasing give-away items for students.”

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.