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More than 50 David Suzuki Ambassadors to reach 15,000 Canadians in next year

VANCOUVER — A new workplace sustainability program launched by the David Suzuki Foundation aims to transform Canadians into environmental ambassadors and convert organizations into green, profitable places of business. The program kicks off with an innovative "train-the-trainer" approach with office leaders in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal with an overall goal to create a national network of 15,000 environmental leaders in the workforce within the next year.

"Reducing waste and cutting energy consumption means saving money," says Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation and former CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-Op. "Even in a time of substantial economic challenges, organizations are keen to introduce environmental projects that raise their community profile and lower their bottom-line."

Recent surveys suggest that organizations that support sustainability initiatives such as recycling and energy conservation also have a positive influence on employees' engagement levels. Several businesses and organizations have already employed many of the principles and practices outlined in the David Suzuki at Work tool kit, a resource funded with the generous support of its founding donor, Great-West Life. Here are a few stories:

  • About 30 per cent of the staff at Vancouver-based Next Level Games joined the office environmental committee more than two years ago. Since then, Next Level has introduced larger recycling bins, swapped the power supply units of its computers for more efficient models and introduced employee engagement activities that have conserved energy.
  • Teknion's Toronto office provided employees with resources to make positive environmental changes happen. As a result, water, waste and energy conservation has saved the office furniture manufacturer more than $3 million.
  • Staff at the David Suzuki Foundation kicked off their own "green team" this year and employee engagement has increased by more than 50 per cent. In addition to active composting, recycling and re-use programs, staff grow fruits and vegetables on the balcony garden and use non-toxic cleaners throughout the office.

"Work life isn't just about punching a clock with a bunch of strangers. Smart employers know that their people are happiest and most productive when workplace culture matches their personal values," says David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

In addition to the online workplace toolkit, the David Suzuki Foundation has launched a national Ambassador Program composed of passionate volunteers with business backgrounds tasked to build awareness and momentum around office place sustainability. Each David Suzuki Ambassador has been trained by Foundation staff to deliver relevant, fun, and interactive 2-hour workshops to workplaces interested in greening their practices. The workshops are available upon request in the Vancouver-area, and are coming to Toronto in October and in Montreal early 2010. The goal is to train 50 David Suzuki Ambassadors in Year 1, who in turn are expected to deliver workshops to as many of 15,000 Canadians over the next year

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The full guide David Suzuki At Work can be downloaded at no cost.

Meet the Ambassadors

For more information about David Suzuki At Work or for interviews with Ambassadors, please contact:
Jason Curran
Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation
Cell: (604) 961-9591

Special thanks to Great-West Life — the founding national donor of the David Suzuki At Work program — for the financial contribution it has made through The Key to Giving™, the national corporate citizenship program of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life.

September 21, 2009