What does it take to become a green employer?
Here’s how Hydro Ottawa has made the grade six years running
Given the scope of your operations and your industry, what can you do to become a greener employer?
The team behind Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Canada’s Greenest Employers competitions, MediaCorp Canada, looks for organizations that have a strategy that is demonstrated through multiple formal and informal initiatives, and led by employees as well as management.
With the goal of reducing the impact of its operations on the environment, in 2009, Hydro Ottawa launched its Environmental Sustainability Strategy. As of this month, these efforts have made Hydro Ottawa one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the sixth consecutive year.
“We developed our strategy after a thorough analysis of our impacts on the environment” said Bryce Conrad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro Ottawa. “We work to reduce our carbon footprint, green our procurement and supply chain practices, and build a culture of environmental sustainability in our workforce.”
Where can you begin to become a green employer? Here are some of the areas that Hydro Ottawa has focused on:
• Use automation: Hydro Ottawa uses building automation systems to more efficiently monitor and manage its stations remotely.
• Use the cloud: Hydro Ottawa has started to migrate to a virtual computer server infrastructure to cut energy costs.
• Manage waste: Hydro Ottawa continues to divert more than 90 per cent of its non-hazardous waste from landfill.
• Cut the paper trail: Rationalization of printing services has cut Hydro Ottawa’s paper usage by over 50%. It’s also actively worked to encourage over 100,000 customers to switch to e-billing.
• Tackle greenhouse gridlock: Hydro Ottawa has a no-idling policy for company vehicles, makes mobile technology and collaboration solutions available to employees to reduce travel between sites, contracts goods and services from more local suppliers to reduce long-distance travel and shipping, and, where it makes sense, is replacing its fleet with lower-emission hybrid, battery technology and electric vehicles.
• Engage employees: Hydro Ottawa has put in place a Green Team, a group of employees committed to identifying and promoting new ideas to infuse environmental sustainability into its daily practices.
• Work with your customers: And of course, Hydro Ottawa continues to be a tireless advocate for conservation and demand management initiatives, helping home and
This is all in addition to the fact that Hydro Ottawa is a leader in the generation of renewable energy as the largest municipally-owned producer of green energy in Ontario.
Being a green employer isn’t about doing what’s trendy or making a few token efforts. It’s the collective impact of many initiatives over time. Sit down with your team and talk about what kind of difference your organization can make.