Veridian named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for second consecutive year

Designation recognizes utility for its culture of environmental awareness and earth-friendly business practices

AJAX, ON, April 22 /CNW/ - Veridian Corporation has been named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for a second consecutive year. The special designation recognizes Veridian as an employer that leads the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in its workplace, and one that is committed to earth-friendly business practices.

"Veridian is proud of its long track record of caring for the environment, and the awards and recognition received for its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability," said company President and CEO Michael Angemeer. "The LEED eligible expansion of our head office in Ajax, a growing fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles, and award-winning energy conservation and environmental programs for employees and customers are just a few examples of our environmental leadership."

"Veridian's shareholder communities are committed to leadership through innovative sustainability programs, solar installations, LEED building and renewable energy technologies," said Doug Dickerson, Chair of Veridian's Board of Directors. "It is satisfying to see that there is alignment between Veridian and its shareholders in working together for the environmental, economic and social future of the communities we serve."

Each employer nominated for the award is evaluated on the unique environmental initiatives and programs they have developed, the extent to which they have been successful in reducing the organization's own environmental footprint, the degree to which their employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills, and the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the employer's public identity and whether they attract new people to the organization.

The competition's selection committee cited the following as some of the reasons why Veridian was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers for 2011:

  • Has made environmental stewardship a major part of its community involvement focus — providing volunteering employees with access to funds, company resources, facilities and equipment as well as time away during working hours.
  • Recently introduced the 'Veridian Clean Summer Air Challenge' to encourage (and reward) employees who walk, run, cycle, take public transit, carpool or telecommute to work to reduce their carbon footprints and help clear the summer air in southern Ontario. Participating employees have the chance to win prizes tailored to their chosen mode of transportation.
  • Provides interest-free loans for its employees towards the purchase of energy-efficient appliances for their homes, and offers a similar program for the purchase of hybrid vehicles that includes an interest free loan to be used towards the purchase of a new hybrid.
  • Is a strong supporter of educational initiatives, ranging from a unique energy conservation program designed for grade five students across the region (that is now being exported to other parts of the province) to research support for electric vehicle development at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).
  • Recently completed construction of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) eligible addition to the company's head office building in Ajax.

According to Fred Damiani, Veridian's Manager of Human Resources, education is key to the promotion of a 'green' corporate culture. "We regularly conduct lunch and learn sessions and presentations where our employees can gain valuable tips on ways they can reduce their environmental footprint," said Damiani. "Additionally, Veridian's Energy Efficiency and Environmental Committee play a critical role in identifying opportunities for more sustainable business practices, and promoting wise energy use by employees."

Veridian has introduced a number of internal and external programs to reduce its own energy consumption and environmental footprint. These programs range from extensive recycling programs to teleworking and incentives for employees to use public transit. The company has also implemented fleet programs to reduce idling, and it recently purchased a number of new hybrid electric vehicles, including a plug-in electric bucket truck — the second of its kind in Ontario.

Veridian has also supported electric vehicle development and deployment through partnerships with UOIT, Durham College and the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance (DSEA). "The use of electric vehicles and their charging during mostly off-peak hours, together with more clean energy, will be a way that Veridian and its customers can play an important role in helping to reduce local smog producing pollution, reduce global warming and reduce vehicle operating costs," said Angemeer.

A further demonstration of Veridian's commitment to environmental stewardship is the 26,000 square foot expansion to its head office in Ajax. The project was undertaken to accommodate the consolidation of key business operations to support service improvements and operating efficiencies. The expansion is bright and open with lots of windows and flooded with natural light, built with materials that offer an optimum indoor environment, barrier free, and a showcase of energy efficiency and green building best practices. These and other design attributes will make the building expansion eligible for LEED certification — Silver. LEED is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance buildings.

As part of the expansion, work has begun on a wetland, walkway and sitting areas to provide employees with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. The wetland is a unique feature that will provide for the required parking lot drainage in a more sustainable way, and the walkway will tie-in to the Town of Ajax's extensive trail system. High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) parking spots, electric vehicle charging spots and bike racks have been added, and bus shelters will be erected for the comfort of those taking public transit in inclement weather.

Launched in 2007, the Canada's Greenest Employers competition is organized by the editors of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. This special designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations. These employers have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives — and are attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership.

Winners of the Canada's Greenest Employers competition include both public and private sector organizations from almost every industry and region of Canada. The common thread running through their selection is that each leader in its field is making environmental values central to their corporate cultures. A complete list of Canada's Greenest Employers is available online at: http://www.canadastop100.com/environmental/.

Veridian Corporation, the seventh largest municipal electricity company in Ontario, owns and operates two subsidiary companies that distribute electricity and provide energy services to more than 115,000 customers located in nine municipalities in east central Ontario. Together, our employees focus on providing reliable, efficient, sustainable energy solutions and services, and equally share the job of making employee and public health and safety our number one priority. We are an important fixture in the communities that we serve. In addition to providing reasonable electricity rates, we promote economic growth, community building and sustainable living. Veridian Coporation is committed to providing value and healthy financial returns to our shareholders — the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality ofClarington and the City of Belleville. For more information, visit www.veridiancorporation.ca.

SOURCE Veridian

For further information:

Chris Mace
Sales & PR Representative - Corporate Communications
Veridian Connections Inc.
905-427-9870, extension 2218
905-621-2549 (Mobile)

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