Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 14, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Canon Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
- Canon Canada celebrated Earth Week by hosting its second annual Environmental Education Day and welcoming over 100 grade six and seven students for a day of fun awareness workshops, hosted in partnership with local organizations such as the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Credit Valley Conservation, Earth Rangers, and the Ontario Clean Water Agency
- Canon Canada adheres to the Canon Americas Environmental Charter, which "seeks to harmonize environmental, economic and social interest in all business activities, products and services, offer products with lower environmental burden through innovative improvements in resource efficiency, and eliminate anti-social activities that threaten the health and safety of humankind and the environment"
Sustainability is part of Canon Canada's philosophy
In his 38 years at Canon Canada Inc., Nick Tomotsugu has seen plenty of changes. For one thing, he started as a circuit-board repair technician and is now a vice-president. But one element has been consistent - the global company's commitment to working for the common good, a corporate philosophy known as Kyosei.
Sustainability is a big part of it. In 1990, Canon became the first company to collect and recycle used toner cartridges from copiers. That program is still going strong - last year, Canon sent some 397,000 such cartridges from Canada to a processing centre in Virginia. "More than 80 per cent of the materials get reused or recycled in the manufacturing of new products," says Tomotsugu. Canon also tries to find ways to recycle or reuse office equipment that comes back at the end of leases or through trade-ins. Suppliers, too, must meet its green procurement policy.
And as Vice President, Corporate Logistics, Operations and General & Environmental Affairs, Tomotsugu has been in charge of a major step forward for Canon Canada - its new headquarters building in Brampton, Ont. With its LEED Gold certification pending, the structure provides a checklist of some of the cool eco-friendly things you can do with office buildings.
When you walk down a corridor or into a room, motion and heat sensors turn the LED lights on and off as needed. Shades on the windows automatically adjust to the position of the sun. A rooftop greywater system collects rain water which is reused for toilets. There are high-efficiency heating systems for air and water, and low-flow faucets. And the building campus has 16,000 shrubs and 200 trees selected because they use less water. "It's an amazing building," says Tomotsugu.
Across Canada, employees take part in Canon's Branch Out program, in which they are paid for a half day of volunteering for sustainability projects, such as planting trees, removing invasive species or cleaning shorelines. In 2018, staff put in a total of more than 1,500 hours.
"Because I've been here so long, I can say with 100 per cent confidence that the approach our company takes has always been consistent and top of mind," says Tomotsugu. "And I like to think this company is pretty humble, because we always believe there's opportunity for improvement. It's a journey for us."
Supporting that journey is Environmental Affairs Specialist Diana Kouril, who helps the company implement the international ISO standard for environmental management as well as fulfill Canon's sustainability goals. That includes environmental awareness among employees.
"We hold recycling events for employees where they are able to bring in their e-waste and textiles from home," she says. "We work with approved vendors who recycle the materials into other products. With the textiles, quality clothing is donated to local charities and homeless shelters, while other textiles are used for cat toys, pillow stuffing, rags, and even mushroom farming."
There's also a permanent bin for employees to drop off used batteries, toners, and electronics. And Canon has an organic digester that processes food scraps from the cafeteria into waste water.
Kouril, who has a B.A. in Environmental Resource Studies and a master's in Sustainability Studies from Trent University, says Canon's Environmental Charter and its philosophy are constant guides. "The value of this work ultimately reflects our corporate philosophy, Kyosei - everyone harmoniously living and working together into the future," she says. "Our industry is recognizing its role in helping to reduce its environmental impact. There may be a cost, but it's a cost of doing business. It's a responsibility."
As for her own role, she adds: "What really excites me about working in this field, and working for Canon, is that achieving positive environmental outcomes is a moving target. There is always room for continuous improvement. So my job is never complete, never boring, and I constantly reflect on how we can do better."