When Canon Canada relocated its headquarters to Brampton in September 2016, it brought with it its commitment to being a good corporate citizen.
Less than four weeks after moving in, the company was making a difference in its new community through the Canon Canada Branch Out program. The annual volunteer environmental initiative started in 2014 at Canon Canada’s 13 offices across the country. It speaks to the company’s corporate philosophy, Kyosei: all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future.
The program provides the nearly 400 Brampton-based employees the opportunity to spend part of their workday creating green spaces and sustainable environments around the city. It’s intended to offer a balance between supporting the community where its employees live—25% of employees reside in Brampton—work and play, and promoting employee engagement.
Since 2016, Brampton employees have volunteered 2,000 hours to help protect the living environment. They have:
- Built more than 110 pollinator habitats;
- Planted more than 650 pollinator plants;
- Planted 750 trees; and
- Removed 2,100 square feet of invasive plant species.
The company partners with local community groups to create and maintain these sustainable spaces. Credit Valley Conservation honoured Canon Canada with its 2016 Friends of the Credit Award of Merit. The award recognized the Branch Out program’s efforts to improve natural areas and increase environmental awareness in the Credit Valley watershed.
Nationally, Canon has planted more than 31,000 trees and shrubs, removed 92,000 cubic feet of invasive plant species, restored close to 3,000 feet of shoreline, and rescued 2,600 fish in 45 communities since the program’s inception in 2014.
Last year, the company branched out further by introducing an annual Environmental Education Day. Kids from local elementary schools spend the day at the Brampton office learning about environmental literacy. Canon Canada employees and their community partners talk about subjects such as water management and conservation, protecting biodiversity and animal habitats, and organic decomposition, and then take the students on a tour of the facility to see its sustainable features.
The state-of-the-art headquarters, designed to the LEED Gold certification standard, has features that maximize resource and energy efficiency, and further reflects the company’s commitment to community and collaboration. A naturalized storm water pond and accessible green spaces serve not only employees but also the nearby residential neighbourhood. Dozens of carpool spots and a bike pad encourage employees to be environmentally friendly commuters. Office space surrounded by natural light minimizes electricity usage; when the lights are turned on, sensors dim them when rooms are not in use.
The aim is to do more for employees, the community and overall quality of life by using less. Drains on the roof direct rainwater to an underground cistern which is activated when it’s 25% full, the building’s domestic city water supply automatically shuts off, and the collected rainwater gets used for flushing. This saves 20% of domestic water usage each year. And in the kitchen, a digester system breaks up organics, leaving waste water as the only output. This reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill and the number of disposal trucks on the road.