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IKEA Canada among "greenest" employers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tom Philp   
TORONTO - Mediacorp Canada has included furniture and furnishings retailer IKEA Canada and consumer electronics supplier Hewlett-Packard Canada on its list of this country's 30 "greenest" employers. IKEA was the only retailer included on this year's list.

The 30 finalists were selected as a result of a survey of both public and private sector respondents and from "almost every industry and region" of Canada. Mediacorp, operator of the employment web site and publisher of Canada Employment Weekly, said each company is considered a leader in its field in "making environmental values central to their corporate cultures."

"These employers lead the nation in bringing environmental values into their culture," said Richard Yerema, managing editor at Mediacorp Canada Inc. "We were impressed by the range of initiatives they have undertaken, as well as their top-level commitment to environmental values even in challenging economic times."

"In challenging economic times, these organizations remind us that environmentalism is not a flavour-of-the-month," said Tony Meehan, publisher of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. "These organizations are more flexible, waste less and attract similar-minded employees and clients, making them more likely to succeed when resources become scarce."

"Winners of this competition have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives," Meeham added. "These companies are attracting employees and customers because of their environmental leadership."

Called an "environmental pioneer," HP was praised for recycling tens of thousands of tonnes of old computer equipment since 1987. The company also is a leader in recycling ink cartridges. HP is a principal sponsor of Waste Reduction Week; and company employees honoured Earth Day 2008 by collecting and recycling more than 46,000 kg of used electronics from both their offices and homes.

Every HP office location contains a free employee recycling depot for batteries, mobile phones, rechargeable batteries, ink and laserjet cartridges, and CDs. Additional initiatives, among many others, include preferred parking for carpoolers and those who cycle to work; the planting of more than 26,000 trees on land next to the office; and motion-sensitive lighting in offices to help conserve energy.

Meanwhile, IKEA Canada was cited for its regularly conducted environmental audits to ensure its stores continue to maintain and improve their internal efforts to recycle, reduce waste and save energy and for their recently introduced preferred green parking spaces for customers who drive hybrid, fuel-efficient or electric vehicles.

IKEA's Pick a Tree, Plant a Tree initiative has also planted more than 70 million trees since 1992 in collaboration with Tree Canada and was one of the first major Canadian retailers to introduce a five cent charge for plastic bags. It also maintains recycling depots at each of its 11 Canadian stores where customers can drop off compact fluorescent light bulbs (which contain low levels of mercury), halogen bulbs and old batteries free of charge - and even accepts used bulbs and batteries from non-IKEA brands.

"At IKEA, we have a strong commitment to environmentally responsible practices and we regularly engage our coworkers to participate in our efforts," says Kerri Molinaro, president of IKEA Canada. "We know that our co-workers care about the environment as much as we do, and it is through their efforts that we are able to bring these programs to life."

Other companies cited by Mediacorp include IBM Canada Ltd., SaskTel, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Bayer Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank Financial Group, Toronto Hydro Corp., Toyota Manufacturing Canada Inc., and KPMG LLP.

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