York University Recognized as One of Canada’s Greenest Employers


TORONTO, April 22, 2013 − York University has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for its commitment to sustainability research, education and action.

The Canada’s Greenest Employers competition recognizes the top 55 employers that lead the nation in building sustainability into their cultures. This includes unique environmental initiatives and programs, success in reducing their environmental footprints and employee involvement in sustainability efforts.

“This award recognizes the incredible efforts of York students, faculty and staff who take action every day to raise awareness and reduce our impact on the environment,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, President & Vice-Chancellor, York University.  “We have made significant strides to date and will continue to lead by example in achieving results that make a meaningful difference.”

The distinction specifically recognizes York for the creation of the President’s Sustainability Council, its Green Office and Sustainability Ambassador programs and the "Res Race to Zero" competition in which student residences across campus attempt to reduce energy consumption.

York University has invested $40 million in its Energy Management Program, reducing energy usage by 25 per cent. In real terms, the energy savings over the course of the program equal 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity, which is enough energy to power the University’s Keele and Glendon campuses for almost an entire year.

For 2012, the waste diversion rate surpassed 60 per cent, with the University achieving its target diversion rate of 65 per cent by 2013.

For more information about Canada’s Greenest Employers, including the full list of companies and reasons for selection, visit http://www.canadastop100.com/environmental/

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York U's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca

Backgrounder: Some of York University’s Sustainability Initiatives


  • In 2008, York University created the President’s Sustainability Council as an advisory body to the President and administration to provide input and recommendations on how to advance the University’s sustainability initiatives, projects and practices. The council is comprised of students, faculty and staff, and meets regularly.
  • The Green Office Program at York makes it easy for faculty, staff and students to incorporate a wide variety of sustainable practices into the day-to-day operations of work spaces across the University.
  • The York University Sustainability Ambassadors Program empowers volunteer leaders (staff, faculty or students) to act as role models, change agents, and committed friends of the environment. They assist with the Green Office Program, campus clean up days and other outreach opportunities, and are champions of sustainability within their departments.
  • York University has developed a comprehensive engagement strategy on sustainability aimed at informing and empowering the York U community through a new website, events and volunteer opportunities, and social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • The Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) was established by York University in 2004 to create an interdisciplinary university-wide research institute that is a focal point for the sustainability-related activities of all ten faculties at York. IRIS supports the sustainability-related research of York faculty and brings academics together, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • The Res Race to Zero is an annual competition in which residences across campus face off to determine who can minimize their energy consumption the most over the month of March. The winning residence receives an award toward a sustainability themed initiative in their residence.
  • The Lassonde Building was one of the first ‘green’ buildings built in Ontario. York now has eight buildings that meet green building standards, including the Osgoode Hall expansion, Life Sciences Building and the York Research Tower (YRT), our administrative building, which is a LEED Silver certified building.
  • York’s Transportation Services department encourages commuting to the University through alternative transportation such as public transit, carpools, bicycling or walking. Despite the growth in enrollment in recent years, Transportation Services has managed to increase the percentage of York community members commuting to both campuses by means other than single occupancy vehicles. Currently, more than 75% of York university students, faculty and staff use alternative means of transportation to campus. To enhance the commuting experience and foster a pedestrian friendly environment, the Toronto Transit Commission is currently extending the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line onto the Keele campus.
  • York has its own brand of certified fair trade organic coffee (Las Nubes) that is offered in several locations across both campuses. A portion of the profit supports research and conservation activities in Costa Rica.