Western wins Ontario sustainability award

TORONTO - Western has been named the winner of the Ontario Business Achievement Award (OBAA) in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO) Corporate Governance Award category by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The award honours a business that demonstrates excellence in raising the standard as an exemplary corporate citizen and makes a commitment in areas such as corporate governance or environmental stewardship.

Western has historically been recognized for the beauty of our campus, but that’s not enough today,” said Gitta Kulczycki, vice-president (resources and operations). “Our campus community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – rightfully expect the university to be environmentally responsible. This award is great recognition for the enormous effort the entire Facilities Management team puts into Western’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Winners were announced at a gala on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Toronto Convention Centre.

Nominated by the London Chamber of Commerce, Western is part of the Talloires Declaration (TD) written in 1990. This document is a 10-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities.

In March, Western’s sustainability efforts reached a “significant milestone” as the university took home the Environmental Leadership Award presented by the London chamber at its annual Business Achievement Awards, the largest business awards gala of its kind in Canada. The university was nominated by recycling service provider BFI Canada Inc.

The win highlighted dozens of Western’s green initiatives such as its commitment to environmentally viable buildings and operations; energy reductions; transportation enhancements; and waste diversion. Western has demonstrated excellence in leadership, awareness and education for initiatives such as the creation of the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (PACES), residence recycling awareness nights and the introduction of a new environment and energy manager position.

In January, the award selection committee paid a visit to the shortlisted organizations. They arrived on campus for a first-hand view of current initiatives.

Jim Galbraith of Facilities Management took the group through the recycling process featuring battery collection and e-waste; Mary Quintana Lopez of Facilities Management led a tour of lighting advancements in the University Community Centre; and Mike Gaylard of the Department of Engineering took the review panel up to the green roof of the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion. Beverley Ayeni, Energy and Environment manager, prepared the materials and interviews for entry.

"I am delighted to see the efforts of Jim Galbraith and his team recognized in this fashion,” Kulczycki continued. “They take a great deal of pride in ensuring our campus not only looks beautiful, but that we operate in an environmentally sustainable manner.”