CAT Honoured at Niagara Region Environmental Awards
On June 13, 2012, the Niagara Region recognized Niagara's top environmental contributors at the Niagara Region 23rd annual Environmental Awards which is the longest-running municipal award program in Ontario. Regional Chair Garry Burroughs awarded Walker Industries Holdings Limited (WIHL) the 2012 Green Business Award. The awards honour individuals, non-profits, businesses, schools and families who have made significant contributions to protecting and improving Niagara's natural resources. \
The judges were impressed with WIHL’s EARTH 1st Environmental Program which moves beyond environmental compliance to focus on environmental performance and actively seek ways to improve the environment around WIHL facilities while also empowering employees to make decisions that improve processes and operations through education and training.
Recent green initiatives at WIHL include:
- Renovating the WEG office building which should result in a GHG reduction for that building
- A $500,000 donation to Woodend – the Living Campus to revitalize the campus for thousands of students from the Niagara Region to enjoy educational and environmental experiences
- An annual Children’s Water Festival which provides Grade 3 and 4 students an opportunity to learn about the importance of water
- A partnership with the University of Guelph to reclaim Landfill for agriculture
- Optimizing blower time settings to reduce their use and save energy at the Walker Compost Facility
- Restoring the gravitational flow connection between upstream and downstream reaches of the Frenchman’s Creek in the vicinity of the quarry which reduced the energy use for perpetual pumping of non-quarry water at Ridgemount Quarries
- The installation of high efficiency lighting along with insulation in the new control tower to R45 at Vineland Quarries
- Revision of the transportation of metal for recycling at our public drop-off. The scrap metal is shipped in one large trailer load rather than several smaller loads, reducing the fuel used for shipments
- A wetland treatment system for Twelve Mile Creek, in partnership with Niagara College
- A “Krazy Ideas” contest” rolled out to employees to challenge them to come up with ideas for improving our environmental performance
- A tree planting team building event with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
Probably the most significant and exciting initiative that was recently rolled out was the introduction of the Carbon Action Team (CAT). CAT is a voluntary cross-disciplined group of young leaders within WIHL who stepped up to the challenge of developing an approach for calculating the WIHL carbon footprint, measuring the WIHL baseline carbon footprint by 2012 and developing a method for the annual calculation of the carbon footprint. CAT met these goals and has now morphed into the Carbon Action Advisory Team (CAAT). CAAT is in the process of brainstorming and recommending goals to reduce the carbon footprint in each division, provide education & engagement sessions and monitor annual carbon footprint results.
Kirsten Groody and Kyle Monteith, significant contributors to CAT were on hand to accept the award on behalf of WIHL at the quaint ceremony held at Niagara Region Headquarters in Thorold.