NC recognized with region’s Green Business Award

Green Business Award

Above right: Regional chair Gary Burroughs presents the Green Business Award to Al Unwin, associate dean, School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies and Taryn Wilkinson, NC’s sustainability coordinator.

Once again, Niagara College has earned recognition as a leader in sustainability.

Niagara College was the recipient of the Green Business Award at the June 26 Niagara Region Environmental Awards.

“We very proud to be recognized among the organizations and individuals who are leading the way in terms of environmental sustainability in Niagara,” said NC president Dan Patterson.

The Niagara Region Environmental Awards recognize individuals, businesses, community groups and others who have made significant contributions to safeguarding Niagara’s natural habitat. The Green Business Award recognizes businesses that focus on the environmental health of Niagara.

“The protection, preservation and restoration of Niagara’s renowned natural beauty are of the utmost importance for present and future Niagara residents,” said regional chair Gary Burroughs. “This year’s Environmental Award recipients have admirably advanced this noble cause, compelling us to be better stewards of our resources, so it’s with pride that we honour their achievements.”

Niagara College’s nomination was supported by several leading organizations in Niagara – including the Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI), Welland Hydro, Walker Industries and the Niagara Restoration Council – all of whom pointed to Niagara College initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon footprint, conserving energy, improving ecosystems and environmental education.

“Niagara College’s commitment to the environment in higher education and their focus on environment protection, restoration and conservation is the reason why they are being honoured tonight,” said Katelyn Vaughan, Niagara Region project manager, Niagara Water Strategy, who presented the award.

With the support of its Sustainability Committee, Niagara College has undertaken a series of initiatives aimed at environmental sustainability, and has identified the ongoing incorporation of sustainable practices and technologies as a key priority in its 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, which can be viewed online at www.niagaracollege.ca/strategicplan. In 2011, the College set five sustainability targets for the next five years: to cut paper consumption by half, achieve a 65 percent diversion rate for waste (achieved in 2012), achieve a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a five percent reduction in water use. The College has banned the sale of bottled water on campus, and through a partnership with Walker Industries, has achieved carbon neutral status for two of its facilities – the Wine Visitor + Education Centre at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus and the Rankin Technology Centre at the Welland campus.

In November 2013, NC earned a Bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) through its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

“Our ability to reach out and our ability to improve our operations is populated by the individuals that work here at Niagara College,” said Al Unwin, associate dean of the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies and co-chair of the Niagara College Sustainability Committee. “The commitment we put forward is a product of the team environment we have at Niagara College.”

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