7th Annual Catalyst Awards

Catalyst Award winners 2017
Image by Brayden Culligan.

The Office of Sustainability is proud to recognize the diverse efforts that take place at McGill to grow toward campus sustainability. In 2017, our annual Catalyst Awards Gala was redesigned to recognize the achievements of three groups which have excelled in: Operations; Connectivity and Governance & Administration; and the Research and Education Categories of the McGill Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy. We continue to recognize one outstanding student with the Emerald Key award.

Emerald Key

The Emerald Key is given out to a student who has made an outstanding and enduring contribution to the sustainability movement at McGill University. 
• John Lindsay Emerald Key 2017

The Catalyst Awards from the Office of Sustainability

The Catalyst Awards are given out to projects that have contributed to the sustainability movement at McGill University in the following categories:
• SHHS Waste Educator Program

Sustainability in Research and Education Award 2017

 Supplier Code of Conduct

Sustainability in Connectivity and Governance & Administration Award 2017

• IT Asset Management Regulation

Sustainability in Operations Award 2017


John Lindsay

John Lindsay (Emerald Key Award)

John is a U3 student studying Environmental Science (Renewable Resource Management) in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Academically, he used lessons learned from the multi-disciplinary environment program to create two research courses to study sustainable institutional food procurement. One was an applied student research project with eight other students, called ‘The Real Food Challenge’, which seeks to use third-party certifications to shift away from industrial junk food toward sustainable ‘Real Food’ in campus cafeterias. The other was his honours project, titled “Socially-Sustainable Food Procurement for McGill University”, where he has researched theoretical and practical limitations and opportunities to improving the social sustainability of food procurement at McGill.

John’s experiences with McGill Food & Dining, the McGill Food Systems Project, the McGill Farmers’ Market, Santropol Roulant, and the McGill Sustainable Procurement team has allowed him to learn about operational barriers to improving campus sustainability. Through his work as Food & Dining Sustainability Coordinator, John has expanded the scale and impact of food and waste education initiatives while improving food procurement auditing and reporting to better assess and actualize changes in institutional food procurement. Over the past year, John has taken great interest in improving the scope and impact of fair trade on campus and these efforts were recognized when McGill received its ‘Fair Trade Campus of the Year Award’ for excellence in educational and operational commitment to fair trade.

Photos of students in royal victoria college caf using waste disposal system

SHHS Waste Educator Program (Catalyst Award for Sustainability in Research & Education)

McGill’s Student Waste Educator program aims to engage students of McGill with Montreal’s waste management system, while teaching them how to reduce their impact through proper recycling and composting. The program structure is simple: environmentally-minded students are employed to stand next to waste sorting stations in all residence cafeterias for two weeks at the beginning of each school year to demonstrate McGill's commitment to sustainability from day one. The Waste Educators are instructed to provide kind, helpful advice to anyone who is not yet aware of the waste categories McGill offers, and engage in more thorough conversations about the impacts of improper sorting. Through this format, almost every first year residence student is reached, with the hope that they will carry this knowledge forward into life after rez. This year, over 200,000 liters of compost were collected in cafeterias; this equates to more than 80,000 liters of agricultural-grade soil created and 190 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions reduced. This would not have been possible without the dedicated and continual efforts of the Waste Educators.

Supplier Code of Conduct (Catalyst Award for Sustainability in Connectivity, Governance & Administration)

Mr. François Pouliot has been the Director of McGill University’s Procurement Services since 2011. Under his dynamic leadership, the University adopted its first Procurement Policy, its first Strategic Plan for Sustainable Procurement, and now, its first Supplier Code of Conduct, which applies to all McGill suppliers. The Supplier Code of Conduct establishes and communicates the social, ethical and environmental principles which McGill suppliers must meet in order to conduct business with the University. The document highlights the importance of respecting internationally recognized human rights, labour standards, basic animal freedoms, as well as business transparency mechanisms and the commitment to more sustainable supply chains.   

IT Asset Management Regulation (Catalyst Award for Sustainability in Operations)

The adoption of this Regulation represents the University’s first initiative to optimize the “gate to gate” life cycle of its IT assets by effectively operationalizing McGill’s 4-R Hierarchy (Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Under the IT Asset Management Regulation, minimum standard requirements (including sustainability criteria) have been adopted for the purchase of different IT equipment categories. Selected equipment contain fewer toxic components, contain greater recycled content, and consume less energy. McGill’s computers are now tracked, main IT flows (computers, displays and cell phones) are subject to reuse within the University, or are refurbished for reuse outside the University, when possible. New contracts have been signed with 1) a local, certified, non-profit refurbishing organisation which runs a reintegration program and 2) a local, certified recycler. Both entities have been extensively audited by McGill’s Environmental Health and Safety team. The IT Asset Management Regulation came about from the close collaboration between Procurement Services, IT Services and Facilities Management and Ancillary Services. It now serves as the blueprint for the development of other asset management initiatives at McGill.


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