The Surrey School District has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2019.
It’s the third year the district has been selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for the honour, which recognizes 75 employers across the country. Previously, the district won the award in 2016 and 2017.
“This recognition is one we are particularly proud of,” said Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen in a release. “Environmental efforts take place daily on numerous fronts and at all levels in our vast school district, from our senior district staff to our youngest of students and future leaders.”
According to a district release, the employers are evaluated for the unique environmental initiatives and programs they have developed; the extent to which they have been successful in reducing the organization’s own environmental footprint; the degree to which their employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills; and the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the employer’s public identity, attracting new employees and clients to the organization.
“As our district continues to expand and we build more facilities for our growing community of learners and educators, we are always mindful of our environmental footprint, and will continue to focus on our long-term energy management and sustainability goals moving forward,” said Larsen.
The competition is in its 12th year.
According to the award’s website, canadastop100.com/environmental, the “special designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations.”
“These employers have developed exceptional sustainability initiatives – and are attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership,” the website notes. “This award grew out of two remarkable speeches given by Al Gore and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at our annual conferences in 2006 and 2007, respectively.”
The following are some of the initiatives that led to Surrey Schools being named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers:
- actively encouraging students, staff and teaching personnel to get involved and celebrate sustainability initiatives such as the Surrey Youth Sustainability Network, Green Teacher Network, annual Energy Conservation Cup;
- establishing the EKOLogy program at East Kensington Elementary, which offers 90 minutes of hands-on outside the classroom education every day focused on environmental stewardship and indigenous history;
- having energy producing features at its schools including solar walls to preheat outdoor air at four locations and solar panels at one secondary school;
- use of reusable dinnerware and flatware and compostable take-out containers at head office (and programs to encourage all schools move to compostable food packaging);
- and e-waste, batteries, organics, and single-steam recycling of paper cardboard, glass, plastic and metal.
Earlier this year, Surrey School District was also recognized as one of B.C. Top Employers of 2019 by Mediacorp Canada Inc.