Green day: RRC recognized for eco-friendly initiatives

green2014-englishFor the fourth year in a row, Red River College has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, an award that acknowledges our environmentally friendly policies and programs that effectively engage staff in sustainability efforts.

“Red River College is leading the way in campus sustainability,” says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth. “This year, RRC is the only post-secondary institution in Manitoba to receive this honour. Sustainability is one of our four strategic priorities; all of our work follows the triple bottom line – people, planet, profits. As a public institution, we believe that we have a responsibility to model and impart sustainability to our students and staff.”

RRC has worked hard to show it’s worthy of such an honour, and the numbers speak for themselves. Last year, the College diverted more than 50% of materials leaving campus from the landfill (35% more than the average Winnipeg household). Thanks to the largest on-site institutional compost program in the city, RRC not only diverts hundreds of pounds of food waste from the campus every day, but also saves more than $1,000 annually in topsoil costs by using the finished compost on campus grounds.

The College is one of only four Winnipeg employers to offer a 60% subsidized EcoPass to its employees. This incentive results in bus ridership rates that exceed 50% for our downtown-based employees – a percentage well beyond the city’s transit ridership rate of 14%. 

“Sustainability is a journey. At Red River College we are always looking for ways to reduce our impacts, to challenge the status quo and to embrace innovation,” says Sara MacArthur, RRC’s Manager of Sustainability. “We truly have a culture of sustainability at the College. There are a variety of people who are working hard to make our campus more sustainable. We know that 89% of our staff believes that sustainability should be a priority in our operations, and 80% of our staff’s daily actions reflect their sustainability values. Our collective commitment to sustainability keeps growing.”

The College is always exploring new ways to reduce its environmental impact. Last year, RRC launched a post-consumer compost program at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute; that program has a waste diversion rate above 80%.  RRC also contributes to the environment by cutting down on fossil fuels. Every month, the College converts an average of 783 litres of cooking oil into a biodiesel fuel source. And RRC remains dedicated to making its facilities more environmentally friendly. In 2012, the College’s Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre received a LEED certification for its energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.

Follow RRC’s Red Goes Green blog to learn more about ongoing sustainability efforts at the College.