The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the first time in the list’s five-year history, a distinction earned by only 50 companies across the country each year. The list, organized by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers project, recognizes employers who “lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness through their implementation of earth-friendly initiatives and are attracting people to their institutions due to their environmental leadership.”
UNBC joins the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto, and UBC as the only Canadian universities to make the cut. UNBC is also one of only 15 organizations in the province included on the list, and the only one from northern British Columbia.
The 2012 Canada’s Greenest Employers
website lists several reasons for UNBC’s selection:
- UNBC’s commitment to becoming Canada's Green University through its teaching, research, operations, and community engagement
- The University’s establishment of the UNBC Green Fund to promote sustainability projects including the switch to LED lighting at the Thirsty Moose Pub and a long-term study on the use of renewable energy on campus
- UNBC’s Green University Centre, which is staffed by an Energy Manager and a Sustainability Manager
- The biomass gasification system that uses local sawmill residue to produce clean, renewable energy and is built to LEED Gold standards. For the past year, the facility has been heating the core buildings of the Prince George campus and reduced fossil-fuel consumption by 86%
- High employee participation in the provincial "Bike to Work Week" event and the provision of secure, covered bike storage and shower facilities for cyclists
“UNBC is an environmental leader due to the hard work and determination of our faculty, staff, and especially our students,” says UNBC President George Iwama. “The University Farmers’ Market and the student-led geodesic greenhouse to be built this spring, are examples of faculty, staff, and student-led initiatives. They join larger undertakings such as our bioenergy program to make us a model for community-based energy systems and a leader in sustainability.”
In a national survey of Canadian university students in the Globe and Mail late last year, UNBC students gave the University the highest ranking in its class for environmental commitment. In February, UNBC was also named to the list of BC’s Top 100 Employers.