Photo: Walking the Talk at The David Suzuki Foundation

The Cisco Telepresence system in the Foundation's offices reduce the amount of business travel and GHG emissions for staff. (Credit: Jenny Silver)


Supporters often ask us, "Are your offices Earth-friendly?" The answer is we are striving to make our offices as green as possible. We recycle, compost, and use 100 per cent post-consumer recycled paper, among other efforts. With our new office renovations in the fall, we really stepped up to the plate. The following are some of the details on our green office renovations in Vancouver.

First, board member Ray Anderson stepped up with sustainable carpet from his company, Interface. Windows were coated by 3M and Titan Window Films to cut heat loss and glare. New workstations made from recycled cubicles were sent from Chase Office Interiors and Teknion. Next came low-energy lighting from Phoster Industries and Ledalite, and efficient toilets and showers from Zurn.

For every watt of electricity we use, Bullfrog Power injects the same amount of low-impact energy from their wind and hydro generators onto our regional grid. Heating and air conditioning is mostly geothermal, and we purchase carbon offsets for all of our major emissions, eg., when we travel. However, with a cutting-edge teleconference system from Cisco called Telepresence, we won't need to travel as often as before.

When David Suzuki talks about going green, he's proud the Foundation is walking the talk.

Below are more of the efforts we are taking in the office to leave as small a footprint as possible on our earth. They follow the 5 categories found in the David Suzuki at Work Toolkit.

Goal 1 | Trim your waste

The David Suzuki Foundation's office:

  • has a comprehensive waste management system that includes multiple materials recycling and composting.
  • uses 100% post-consumer recycled, FSC-certified paper in its photocopier and printers (all of which have duplexing units), as well as in most publications. Unwanted single-sided documents are collected and reused.
  • buys paper that is not only FSC certified, 100% post-consumer recycled and processed chlorine free with soy based inks, but it was also manufactured with renewable energy.
  • reduces our paper use as much as possible by not printing all publications, e.g. our Annual Report is now in PDF only.
  • chose carpets manufactured using a cradle to cradle manufacturing process. Interface recycled our old carpets to make into new ones, and they can be replaced square by square without having to rip out a whole floor's worth!
  • recently acquired new workstations that are manufactured using recycled materials from Teknion & Chase Office Interiors. They also have a low-profile to let light through the office.
  • is equipped with a full kitchen — reusable dishes, glasses, cups, etc., so we never have to use plastic or Styrofoam dishes/utensils, and we use cloth napkins, handmade with fabric remnants by our very own Queen of Green. We also bring all of our own dishes to parties and events to avoid the waste of paper and plastic.
  • stocks the fridge with local milk ordered in glass bottles (reusable) to avoid the waste of milk cartons.
  • Uses 100% PCW (Seventh Generation) toilet paper and cloth towels for hand drying instead of paper.
  • abides by the three 'R's' of environmental consciousness: re-use, repurpose and refurbish — like bookshelves, tables, patio furniture, etc. instead of buying new.
  • donates all old computers and monitors.

Goal 2 | Reduce energy use in your office by 20 per cent

The David Suzuki Foundation's Vancouver office:

  • is located in a highly efficient building that is heated and cooled by a clean geothermal heat pump system.
  • uses ultra efficient lighting throughout the office through Ledalite. Light sensors adjust the brightness depending on the weather! And, we use motion sensors on lighting in low use rooms.
  • uses efficient lighting provided with high-tech LEDs in the lobby and hallway, provided by Phoster Industries.
  • has relatively low electricity use, with most lighting being either compact fluorescent or fluorescent.
  • is equipped with 3M & Titan Window Films: insulating low-glare window film that cuts heat & cold transfer by 20% and is invisible to the naked eye!
  • purchases Bullfrog-power for our Vancouver & Ottawa offices, which means we are supporting renewable electricity equal to the amount of regular electricity we are consuming. (Note: there are currently no green power providers in QC that would allow us to do this for Montreal office).
  • sets our printers and other appliances (e.g. coffee machine, portable heater) on timers that shut off when the office is closed.
  • uses a Xerox machine that has a very low energy consumption (Energy Star Qualified), and uses non-toxic, cartridge-free solid ink.
  • Uses low-energy LCD computer monitors and turns these off, as well as workstation power bars, at the end of each workday.

Goal 3 | Implement a smart transportation plan

The David Suzuki Foundation's Vancouver office:

  • is located on one of Vancouver's best-served transit corridors, so the majority of employees travel by transit. Most other employees either bike or walk to work.
  • uses a courier company that uses some hybrid electric vehicles for their deliveries.
  • is equipped with a shower to make it more convenient to commute to work by bike, as well as bike racks outside our office building.
  • organizes and encourages carpooling or public transit to all offsite events and meetings.

Goal 4 | Create a healthy workplace

The David Suzuki Foundation's Vancouver office:

  • is equipped with a shower to support a healthy work environment (eg., biking to work, and mid-day workouts!).
  • has a scent-free office environment and plenty of plants to improve indoor air quality.
  • used low-VOC paints and glues used during 2009 office renovations.
  • uses only cleaning products that are made from natural ingredients. No chemicals please!
  • maintains a garden on the outside patio and grows all of our produce organically. Makes for great fixings for the salad club in the summer! We also try as much as possible to buy local, seasonal foods for our office celebrations.
  • serves mostly vegetarian food at events and parties.
  • supports a healthy work-life balance by keeping a 4-day work week.
  • Promotes wellness: by having a yoga instructor in once a week for after work sessions; making sure our workstations are ergonomically correct

Goal 5 | Conserve water

The David Suzuki Foundation's Vancouver office:

  • uses plumbing that is water-efficient (Zurn). The urinals only use a pint of water!
  • does not purchase bottled water. We use a tap filtering system in our kitchen.
  • only runs the dishwasher when it is full.

In Addition | (and well worth mentioning...)

  • The DSF have had a carbon neutral program since 2003 (where we measure, reduce, and offset our emissions, using Gold Standard offsets). Emissions offset include air travel, staff commuting, electricity use, heating and paper use.
  • Our Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal offices have a newly installed Cisco Telepresence system. Cisco itself estimates that the 650 of these systems in use have already saved 180,000 tonnes of GHG emissions.
  • We order coffee that is 100% fair trade, bird-friendly and organic.
  • We order green office supplies from Frogfile (e.g. sticky notes that are made from recycled paper; refillable pens, etc.).
  • We volunteer. Our Vancouver office takes part in a shoreline clean-up every year, as well as an ivy pulling day at Stanley Park.
  • We also do the Commuter Challenge in June of every year and contribute food hampers during the holidays.
  • DSF takes part in the annual Earth Run.
  • We order clothing for our campaigns from companies that use 80% organic cotton and 20% recycled polyester for their clothing products, amongst a number of other ethically sourced materials.
March 1, 2011

Read more

Post a comment


Jun 16, 2017
7:32 AM

Great to see high profile leaders committing to going green in this way. Keep up the good work!

Mar 10, 2011
6:01 AM

I have followed you for years. I am a small organic farmer who does get a bit overwhemed at times with what is happening to our planet.I just read about the proposed dam of the Peace River in B.C. Just a few weeks ago I hear on CBC that the Feds. have given their O.K. to the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline which I thought was dead for the last twenty years.Now this, what can a small farmer in Ontario do?

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »