April 20, 2021
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the third year in a row, a recognition of the university’s continued commitment to its sustainability-focused programs and initiatives, progress in reducing its carbon footprint and the degree to which sustainability has become a part of Laurier’s workplace culture, spanning operations, academics and community partnerships.
“Being named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the third year in a row reflects Laurier’s exceptional commitment to sustainability,” said Ulrike Gross, assistant vice-president of Facilities and Asset Management at Laurier. “Laurier continues to lead in environmental research with ongoing plans to expand our programs. Our collective aim is to pursue impactful goals each year that are driven by emerging environmental and sustainability industry standards.”
The annual Canada’s Greenest Employers competition is part of the Canada's Top 100 Employers initiative, led by Mediacorp Canada Inc. Laurier has been named one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers for three consecutive years and one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People by the same organization.
“Laurier has a strong commitment to a culture of sustainability,” said Pamela Cant, Laurier’s chief human resources and equity officer. “We are proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, confirming our commitment to sustainability and to supporting our faculty, staff and students through opportunities to make an impact in our local and global communities.”
Highlights of Laurier’s sustainability initiatives include:
The Laurier Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP) is a comprehensive, multi-phase initiative to increase the energy efficiency of Laurier’s buildings. The $50-million project includes the installation of rooftop solar panels, battery storage and a fully functioning microgrid.
Laurier manages in-house waste reduction and recycling programs that extend beyond provincial minimums, including the Move Out Program, Free Store, water refill stations, Molok bins, battery and electronic waste drop-off and the donation of used office furniture.
The Sustainable Hawk Fund leverages Laurier’s entrepreneurial and community spirit to integrate sustainability practices into all aspects of student life. Each year, $30,000 in funding is committed to students, staff and faculty to implement sustainability projects at the university.
The Laurier community decreases transportation-related emissions through initiatives including Wroute and Travelwise partnerships, as well as on-campus car share vehicles, multiple electric vehicle charging stations and secure bike storage.
Laurier offers a Certificate in Sustainability for faculty and staff. The goal of the program is to increase employee literacy about global-to-local sustainability topics, as well as encourage behaviour and culture change through increased use of sustainable campus programs and services.
Laurier’s Waterloo campus is an official “Bee Campus” as designated by Bee City Canada. Laurier is just the ninth post-secondary campus in Canada and the first in Waterloo Region to be recognized for a dedicated commitment to helping protect and support pollinators.
The renovation of the Indigenous Student Centre at Laurier's Waterloo campus includes the use of cross-laminated timber panels, a structural material with a lower carbon footprint than steel or concrete. The building is the first in the City of Waterloo to use the material.
The Waterloo campus’s Northdale Community Garden supports sustainable partnerships with community non-profits and increased access to local foods on campus.
Laurier hosts Zero Waste Week, which includes workshops, zero-waste cooking classes and a fair; the Green Office Program to encourage staff and faculty to take part in campus sustainability initiatives; and Bike to Work month, which includes a bike repair workshop.
In 2019, Laurier was awarded a Gold rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), which measures the sustainability performance of colleges and universities worldwide.
Laurier is among North America's most environmentally responsible post-secondary institutions, according to The Princeton Review.
Read more about Laurier’s sustainability goals in the university’s Sustainability Action Plan.
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