U of T named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2017

Recognized for the fourth year!

2017 Canada's Greenest Employers LogoThe Canada’s Greenest Employers award recognizes the employers who are leaders in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations.

“Being named as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the fourth year is fabulous news,” says Ron Swail, chief operations officer of Property Services & Sustainability at the University of Toronto (U of T). “It once again confirms the University’s commitment and deeply embedded culture of sustainability.

“Our community of passionate and actively engaged students, world-class academics and researchers, innovative incubators, supportive network of alumni, and talented employees across all three campuses work collaboratively and creatively together to integrate sustainability into every facet of our organization –  reducing  our environmental impact and providing solutions to the global challenge of climate change.”

Indoor Farming at University of Toronto (Missisauga)

Indoor farming takes root at University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)

Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability

Commitment for sustainability also comes from the top with the newly created Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (ECCS Committee) — one of the key recommendations in the Administrative Response to the Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels. The ECCS Committee is chaired by Professor John Robinson, U of T’s first presidential advisor on the environment, climate change, and sustainability.

It’s greener here

Two students make the sustainability pledge

Members of the U of T community make sustainability pledges

Through hundreds of hundreds of sustainability-related initiatives, U of T continues to become more sustainable thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of our staff, faculty and students.

12 LEED certified buildings:

There are now 12 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings at U of T, including the St. George Exam Centre, which recently installed new solar panels, and the Environmental Science & Chemistry Building at University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), which is a LEED Gold research facility that employs innovative technology such as earth tubes that precondition outside air as it enters the building, reducing the natural gas and electricity use.

Solar panels on Exam Centre roof

(From left) Ron Swail and colleagues from the solar panel project on the Exam Centre roof / Photo: Jonathan Sabeniano

Green Revolving Fund:

The University’s Green Revolving Fund is one of the largest in North America. It has provided critical funding for significant energy reduction projects, including retrofitting some of U of T’s largest buildings: Robarts Library, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), and the Medical Sciences Building.

Recycling programs:

The St. George campus has one of the best and most comprehensive recycling programs, as well as one of the highest waste diversion rates of any post-secondary institution in North America, thanks to the dedication and commitment of the whole U of T community.

Repair Cafe table

Hart House Get Crafty and the Sustainability Office teamed up to bring Repair Café to share their repair knowledge and skills with the campus community

Fair trade campus:

On September 22, 2016, U of T Mississauga (UTM) became the 18th Fair Trade Campus in Canada. “We are so pleased to achieve the fair trade campus designation, not only because it is the right thing to do but because fair trade has successfully allowed us to open the conversation up about sustainability and working towards a better world,” says Vicky Jezierski, director of UTM’s hospitality and retail services. UTM has committed to offering an ever-increasing range of fair trade options at its food outlets.

Community gardens:

In the Highland Creek Valley area, the U of T Scarborough Community Gardens is a living laboratory for those who may be interested in sustainable agriculture. Gardeners enjoy going off-line to relax and converse, nurturing relationships along with vegetables, herbs and wildflowers. Considered the only one of its kind at a university campus in the Greater Toronto Area, the garden features some 50 plots.

U of T’s green employees

U of T's Green Gala

U of T’s faculty and staff are actively involved in a range of sustainable initiatives that make campus spaces greener, which are enjoyed by thousands of the University’s community members and visitors. Here are some examples of their outstanding contributions.

Green Gala:

The Sustainability Office hosted its 4th Annual Green Gala on March 9th, 2017, to celebrate the culture of sustainability at the University of Toronto. This Gala was the largest yet, welcoming more than 130 staff, students, faculty, alumni and community members. The event recognized those nominated for Green Ribbon Awards and welcomed a U of T Food Systems Planner, Tammara Soma, as the keynote.

Green Ribbon Award winners

Eco Footprint Green Ribbon Award winners (tie): The Employee Self-Service Team, lead by Deborah Ovsenny and Cathy Eberts of HR & Equity

Green Hacks:

The fun and useful Green Hacks YouTube videos and 5 Ways to be Green article for Earth Day (April 22, 2017).

Partnering with Science & Engineering Engagement and Science at the Movies, the St. George Sustainability Office hosted a screening of National Geographic’s Before the Flood, a riveting account of dramatic climate change occurrences around the world the actions we can take to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet. The February screening was followed by a Q&A with experts from U of T, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

Sustainability Yearbook:

The second Sustainability Yearbook celebrated the many green achievements of the past year.

Full award details can be found on the Canada’s Greenest Employers web page.