2011 marks the first of what we promise to make an annual event: a made-in-Atlantic Canada awards program that recognizes regional companies and organizations making exceptional efforts towards corporate social responsibility and sustainable prosperity.
It’s important to stress that there are no “giveaways” in these awards. As a baseline, nominees —particularly the large, complex organizations — were expected to have good CSR practices.
Winner status was only awarded where the judges found unique or distinctive add-ons that demonstrated the commitment of organizations to go beyond legal requirements and standard best practices in pursuit of innovative approaches.
To those who received honourable mention status, the judges commend you for your efforts while encouraging you to continue and expand your CSR programs. They also suggested you identify who is leading your CSR programs. If it is your employees more so than your organization, the judges suggest that stronger organizational efforts should be made to support and complement that employee commitment. Make those refinements, and you may well be one of next year’s winners.
Recognizes significant improvements in operations, production processes, resource requirements, recycling, product design, buildings and other infrastructure that demonstrably improve sustainability.
26 to 100 employees
Winner: Southwest Properties
Who are they: privately-owned and operated developer of residential and commercial property, based in Halifax. Why they stand out: ongoing energy audits of residential and commercial properties; recycling and composting available to all residential tenants; residents encouraged to donate unwanted furniture to furniture bank; discarded Southwest appliances sent to furniture bank or appliance repair training facilities; award-winning initiatives to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; making community enhancement inherent in all Southwest projects.
101 to 500 employees
Winner: Mount Allison University
Who are they: Maclean’s pick as Canada’s top undergraduate university, located in Sackville, N.B. Why they stand out: campus-wide environmental audits conducted every two years, with results published online; recycled materials incorporated into new buildings/products whenever possible; carbon from campus heating emissions reduced 70 per cent; rainwater collected for use in Student Centre toilets; annual student-run climate change challenge; reduced energy consumption research initiatives; campus-wide recycling program; re-investment of cost savings from environmental initiatives into future energy-saving projects; student-run campus farm growing vegetables for the university’s dining hall; trayless policy in dining hall to reduce food waste.
Prince Edward Island’s community college, based in Charlottetown. They stand out for their innovative use of green technologies in new construction projects.
Winner: Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation
Who are they: Crown corporation responsible for all alcohol retail and distribution in Nova Scotia; based in Halifax. Why they stand out: formal adoption of sustainable business practices to ensure little or no environmental impact from NSLC operations; five-year $500,000 sponsorship of Adopta-Stream water quality program; Zero Waste program instituted at head office and distribution centre; company-wide training on solid and liquid waste disposal; greenhouse gas inventories with published results; regular waste audits; all new construction is to LEED Silver standards; energy consumption reduced nine per cent in last two years; use of natural gas where available; commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent by 2020; recovered ethanol from liquid waste used to produce biodiesel; preferential contracting policy for suppliers with sound environmental policies; elimination of plastic bags in all NSLC stores.
A regional communications provider, headquartered in Halifax, Bell Aliant stands out for it’s comprehensive company-wide awareness and implementation of sustainability practices.
Clearwater Seafoods Limited Partnership
A global seafood company with fishing operations, land-based processing and retail and sales operations, based in Bedford. They stand out for their corporate commitment to sustainable fisheries and Marine Stewardship Council certification.
Recognizes significant initiatives to improve the working lives, safety, diversity and/or general well-being of employees.
26 to 100 employees
Winner: Doctors Nova Scotia
Who are they: professional association representing all physicians in Nova Scotia, based in Dartmouth. Why they stand out: broad range of flexible work options including alternate fixed schedules, flex time, work from home and compressed work weeks; proactive workplace safety policies and training; $600 annual fitness benefits; 75 per cent employer-pay health and dental benefits, 100 per cent employer-pay life insurance; onfidential physical and mental health assistance; harassment-free positive work environment, including formal complaint reporting mechanisms, protection against retaliation and mediation.
101 to 500 employees
Winner: Holland College
Who are they: Prince Edward Island’s community college, based in Charlottetown. Why they stand out: on-site daycare that doubles as teaching and learning environment for students; flexible work options including flex time and telecommuting; comprehensive employee and family assistance programs that include counseling on financial issues, legal issues and healthy eating; positive labour relations with no labour disputes/strikes in past five years; safe work environments with few lost time incidents; written code of ethics; ethics ombudsperson; regular ethics and social audits; comprehensive anti-harassment policy.
Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union
A full-service financial institution, based in St. John’s. NLCU stands out because they have over 90 per cent of employees, including the CEO, are women; corporate support of employee volunteerism.
An engineering and environmental design and consulting company, headquartered in Halifax.
CBCL stands out for their promotion of workplace diversity; it’s a 100 per cent employee-owned firm and over 20 per cent of employees are shareholders.
Winner: Irving Oil
Who are they: family-owned and privately-held regional energy processing, transporting and marketing company, headquartered in Saint John. Why they stand out: Women Leading Women leadership development; E3 Women’s Forum to assist professional development of female employees; performance-based salary incentives ranging up to 150 per cent; comprehensive safety policies and procedures; recently updated code of ethics; confidential reporting system for violations of respectful workplace policies; quarterly reviews of social and ethics performance; company support of employee volunteerism; LiveWell employee wellness program focused on health, physical activity and nutrition.
A provider of health services to Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants County, headquartered in Halifax. They stand out for their unique conflict resolution program combining personal coaching with alternative dispute resolution practices.
A regional communications provider, headquartered in Halifax. Bell Aliant stands out for their development of a Common Interest Forum to improve work-life balance and Action, an online program that rewards individuals for volunteering, being active and making a difference in the lives and health of their communities.
Recognizes corporate support of social initiatives within the local community and/or on a national or international basis.
25 employees or less
Winner: Energy Atlantica
Who are they: energy needs service provider with clients throughout Atlantic Canada and northeastern United States. Why they stand out: they are the founder and chief sponsor of GIVETOLIVE, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to ending unnecessary disease and illness by inspiring people to lead healthy, happy lives through exercise and altruism; Energy Atlantica employees are required to volunteer with GIVETOLIVE during slow work periods; employees are allowed up to two paid weeks annually for volunteer work, unused time may be carried forward to a maximum of six weeks; over the past five years, they have contributed more than $100,000/year to GIVETOLIVE. Since 2007, E.A. and G.T.L. have raised over $1.5 million for cancer-related charities. They have also helped build a medical clinic in Angola and helped raise $50,000 for Brigadoon Camp for Chronically Ill Children. This past August, owner Todd McDonald and two friends swam the Northumberland Strait to raise funds for pediatric cancer.
A developer of sustainability focused Software as a Service (SaaS) and web-based campaigns, based in Fredericton. They stand out as a business that is built on provision of community service software; significant cash and in-kind donations to local, national and international charities.
26 to 100 employees
Who are they: full service branding agency, located in Bedford. Why they stand out: annual cash and in-kind charitable contributions in excess of $250,000; support for staff volunteer work and fundraising efforts; recognized as an Outstanding Sponsorship Partner at the 2011 Maritime Philanthropy Awards; corporate citizenship included in operating budget; supports numerous charities and fundraising events throughout Atlantic Canada including Bust a Move for Breast Health, Monte Carlo Night in support of Nova Scotia Hearing & Speech, the IWK Great Big Dig, Red Cross Humanitarian dinner, and others; regularly identified as one of the top 10 corporate donors (as a percentage of corporate revenue) among the Top 50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada.
A privately-owned and operated developer of residential and commercial property, based in Halifax. They encouraged employee to participate in team-based fundraisers, helped lead revitalization of Point Pleasant Park following Hurricane Juan.
Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette
Atlantic Canada’s leading recruitment and human resource consulting firm, headquartered in Halifax. They annually donate $65,000 cash and more than 2,000 volunteer hours as well as in-kind expertise to Atlantic Canadian charities and worthy causes.
101 to 500 employees
Co-Winner: Boyne Clarke LLP
Who are they: One of Halifax Regional Municipality’s largest law firms, located in Dartmouth. Why they stand out: significant cash and in-kind contributions for numerous causes; paid leave granted to employees for volunteer activities; monthly in-house fundraisers; staff-led community outreach and volunteer activities; sponsorship of a summer student program that allows law students articling at Boyne Clarke the opportunity to work with a community-based nonprofit organization while continuing to be paid by Boyne Clarke.
Co-Winner: Halifax International Airport Authority
Who are they: non-share capital corporation responsible for managing Halifax Stanfield International Airport, located in Enfield. Why they stand out: supports more than 300 charitable organizations annually with cash donations, display space and promotional items; three-year partnership commitment to Habitat for Humanity HRM that includes $100,000 of financial support, in-kind promotional support and volunteers; corporate support for employee-championed volunteer work and fundraising; employees encouraged to volunteer during working hours during the Christmas season; promotion of supported organizations via social media channels.
Credit Union Atlantic
A full-service financial institution, based in Halifax. They average annual corporate charitable contributions of nine per cent of pre-tax profits, not including in-kind donations or volunteer hours. One per cent is considered acceptable for socially responsible companies.
Winner: Bell Aliant
Who are they: regional communications provider, headquartered in Halifax. Why they stand out: $1.9 million in corporate contributions in 2010; community investment program supports hundreds of charities and not-for-profit organizations; Bell Aliant Pioneers (now in its 100th year) is a company-sponsored volunteer program that includes 6,500 current and retired employees, donating more than 120,000 volunteer hours and raising more than $200,000 for charitable organizations; commitment to several long-term charitable projects including the donation of 15,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to school children throughout Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec, and a five-year mental illness awareness initiative; consultation with community stakeholders in discussions regarding charitable contributions.
A family-owned and privately-held regional energy processing, transporting and marketing company, headquartered in Saint John. They have an extensive history of corporate philanthropy as well as company-initiated programs including Community Fuel Grants, Tutoring Program and Fuel the Care.
A national grocery retailer with over 1,300 stores, headquartered in Stellarton.They contributed or raised more than $17 million last year for charitable donations; deliberately supports as many causes as possible rather than a single signature cause.