Globe Awards honour companies, institution for environmental achievements, innovations
The 2006 Globe conference and trade fair in Vancouver concluded with the presentation of the fifth annual Globe Awards for Environmental Excellence. Canadian companies were honoured in five categories for their leading-edge approach to sustainable business operations and technological innovation. They included: Interface Flooring Systems, Suncor Energy, Ivey International, Advanced Glazings, Jantzi Research, and the Canadian War Museum.
Two awards in the Corporate Competitiveness category were presented, one for Product, the other for Efficiency and Mitigation. Interface Flooring Systems, a leading producer of commercial carpeting and floor coverings, received the Product award in recognition of its success in reducing the environmental impacts of its operations.
Interface's Canadian operation, in Belleville, Ontario, is one of 29 Interface facilities worldwide, and regularly wins the company's internal "Eco-Sense" award for the best improvements in efficiency. Interface has taken an aggressive approach to energy efficiency, and by integrating several energy efficiency and conservation improvements into its operations saved $3 million over three years and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 8,000 tonnes. Examples of these improvements have included the use of smaller electric motors, high-efficiency lighting, waste heat recovery, improved compressed air management and preventive maintenance to ensure peak operating efficiency. The investments made have also contributed to the facility's overall productivity and competitiveness.
Interface has applied its efficiency approach to the use of production materials as well, resulting in higher yields. Adopting lower carpet mass and using lower-temperature fusing adhesive allowed the company to lower the finishing process temperature by more than 100*F (56*C), resulting in better yield, quality and performance, and lower costs.
By making design changes to its products and improving production processes, Interface also completely eliminated a process called carpet printing, which was both highly energy- and water use-intensive. Discontinuing this process reduced wastewater by 550,000 litres per month.
Interface attributes its success throughout the greening process to a substantial, continuing commitment from its senior managers, up to and including CEO Ray Anderson. (see www.ec.gc.ca/pp/en/storyOutput.cfm?storyID=43 for more information)
Suncor Energy took the Efficiency and Mitigation Award. The company has a long-standing commitment to triple bottom line performance and continues to new ways to avoid or mitigate the impacts of its operations on air, water and land. Suncor is working to reduce its environmental footprint by lowering its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity and extending its land and water programs. Its plans for air, water and land management will, in the next two years, bring a new level of detail, measurement and accountability to its efforts.
Suncor has had a comprehensive and widely recognized climate change action plan in place for over ten years, and has reduced its GHG emissions intensity by approximately 25% since 1990, although absolute emissions increased as a result of significant production growth. The company's seven-point climate change plan addresses emissions management, renewable energy, environment and economic research, domestic and international offsets, policy input, measurement and reporting of progress, and employee and public education. Specific initiatives have included energy efficiency projects, carbon capture research, emissions trading and investments in renewable energy. (see www.suncor.ca for more information)
The Corporate Award for Technology Innovations was presented to Ivey International, of Vancouver, for the development of Ivey-Sol, a new remediation technology that has gained international recognition for its ability to dissolve a wide range of organic petroleum contaminants in water and soils quickly and effectively.
Ivey-Sol is a Selective Phase Transfer Technology (SPTT) suitable for both in-situ and ex-situ remediation. Its patented phase transfer mixtures interact with non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contaminants, liberating them from soil, bedrock or free-floating phase and then encapsulating them. The encapsulated hydrocarbon contaminants become water-soluble, allowing their rapid removal from the site.
The result is reduced cleanup times (often less than 18 months, compared to the North American average of five years) and lower costs, with savings from 20 to 40% over conventional technologies. This Canadian environmental innovation is now in widespread use in Canada and internationally. (see www.sptt.net for more information)
Advanced Glazings, based in Sydney, Nova Scotia, was the recipient of the Industry Award for Export Performance for its development of the Solera window glazing technology. This unique "transparent insulation" technology provides high insulating value while transmitting maximum natural daylight through the window in a diffuse, glare-free manner.
The company has shipped Solera to 100 major architectural projects and has concluded large sales contracts with high-profile clients such as Target stores and Toyota. The latter plans to install Solera in up to 1,200 entry portals to be built at its dealerships across North America over the next four years. Since 2001, Advanced Glazings has more than doubled its export sales. (see www.advancedglazings.com for more information)
Jantzi Research, based in Toronto, was the winner of the Capital Markets Award for Sustainable Investment. The company has been a proven innovator of socially responsible investment (SRI) products and services since 1992, working with mutual funds, pension funds, money managers, investment advisors and other relevant interests to define environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to balance the economic performance of various types of investments. Jantzi has pioneered a number of SRI products and services in Canada, such as the Canadian Social Investment Database, which tracks the ESG performance of 300 companies on the Standard & Poor's and the Toronto Stock Exchange composite indices. Its Jantzi Social Index, launched tn January 2000, is a market capitalization-weighted common stock index consisting of 60 Canadian companies that pass a set of broadly-based social and environmental screens. (see www.jantziresearch.com for more information)
Finally, the Canadian War Museum was awarded the Globe prize for Excellence in Urban Sustainability for its demonstrated commitment in this area. Completed in May 2005, the new museum was built on a site more than 50 hectares in size, which first had to be cleaned up before construction could even begin. The building itself is innovative in many respects, including incorporation of a green roof (to derive environmental benefits and to illustrate the "trench" imagery of wartime); the use of recycled materials, i.e. part of the old copper roofing from the Parliament buildings; extensive use of daylit corridors to highlight exhibits; and extensive energy efficiency and building systems eco-efficiency measures. The building qualifies for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and will be one of the first museums in the world to apply for such designation. (see www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/building/architecture_e.html for more information)