A new year means welcoming all things anew and looking forward to what is to come—but it's also a great time to reflect on recent successes and acknowledge the good that the last year brought.
While Canada continues to move forward on new and improved green initiatives, and our Canadian businesses work to keep up, we at Lake Friendly wanted to give some recognition to brands that are doing something right! Canada's Greenest Employers of 2020 set the bar for sustainability standards across the country, and we can't wait to see who's on the list this year.
And while there are 100 companies on this list that deserve a pat on the back, we'd be here all day if we were to recognize them all—so we're condensing this list to the Manitoban organizations that made the cut.
Note: There were many organizations with locations operating in Manitoba, but based elsewhere—including Loblaw Companies, Ikea Canada, Cadillac Fairview Corp. (which operates shopping malls, including Polo Park), and Mountain Equipment Co-op—this list will focus on the ones that are 100 per cent Manitoban.
So, let's take a look at the following organizations and their environmental efforts.
In addition to being named one of the greenest employers of 2020, Assiniboine Credit Union has also made the list of Manitoba's Top Employers 2021. So, it would seem to go without saying that this made-in-Manitoba company is doing more than a few things right!
To learn more about what ACU did right for its employees throughout the pandemic, click here.
For this post, we're sticking to ACU's environmental efforts, which include the following...
Assiniboine Credit Union maintains an extensive greenhouse gas emission reduction strategy that includes ongoing monitoring of the consumption of natural gas, electricity, external and internal paper products, employee commuting habits, business travel, waste to landfill, and purchases of energy offsets including Fairtrade Carbon Credits.
Assiniboine Credit Union has surveyed employees on their commuting habits since 2009 and encourages them to reduce their carbon footprint with subsidized bus passes, support for a carpool matching service, and the addition of showers and lockers at new branches for those who choose to run or cycle to work.
Assiniboine Credit Union continues to find ways to reduce waste and enhance its recycling initiatives, from employee-led organic composting programs at the head office (and one branch location), to electronic waste recycling in partnership with Indigenous-owned Mother Earth Recycling, to the recycling of all writing instruments through its office supply partner.
Like ACU, Red River College also made the list of Manitoba's Top Employers 2021, and has also been named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers of 2020! Let's just take a second to recognize that.
But, what we're really interested in is to follow...
Red River College encourages two-wheeled commuting with indoor and secure bicycle parking lockers, a bike loan program as well as "air and repair" stations for cyclists.
Red River College continues to refine its focus on sustainability with the establishment of working groups to address specific aspects of its operations, including the Print Optimization Working Group to address and monitor print reduction goals and strategies, and the Plug Load Advisory Committee to address "silent" energy usage from appliances and technology on campus.
Red River College employees not only assist with caring for the school's rooftop beehives, but also participate in the Winnipeg Harvest Grow-A-Row program, growing and donating more than 3,100 lb of produce for the Winnipeg Harvest Food Bank and the Students' Association Food Bank. Honey production is also jarred and sold at the on-campus farmers market.
Just like its predecessor on this list, Manitoba Hydro also made the cut for Manitoba's Top Employers 2021 and was named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers of 2020 as well.
Also under its belt are the following achievements...
In addition to supporting telecommuting work options, Manitoba Hydro supports a green Commuting Options Committee (aptly named the CO2 Committee) which manages carpooling programs and a Cycle Buddies program to pair seasoned bicycle commuters with those wishing to learn and safely shift to two-wheeled commuting. The organization is also an active participant in the Commuter Challenge every June.
Manitoba Hydro is an enviable power producer in North America—virtually all of the electricity the utility produces (over 99 per cent) comes from self-renewing hydroelectric power (water) and the organization also added geothermal and wind power to its renewable portfolio.
On the green roof of Manitoba Hydro's LEED Platinum-certified head office is a new urban honey bee apiary that produces over 180 kg of honey each year and helps raise awareness about the importance of healthy bee populations. The rooftop also features a new Indigenous medicinal herb garden with sweetgrass, sage, and other medicinal herbs.
We don't know about you, but we're proud to see any environmental efforts in Manitoba being recognized across the country.
If you know of a local organization that's going the extra green mile, we want to recognize them too! Send us your tips by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Please note: the business information included in this article was compiled by Mediacorp Canada Inc. and is credited to www.canadastop100.com/environmental/
Lake Friendly proudly supports all Manitoba organizations and initiatives working toward reducing waste and preserving our freshwater resources.