Caroline grew up between the mountains and the ocean of Vancouver’s North Shore and spent a lot of time playing outside as a child. Spending time living in other parts of Canada made Caroline appreciate how unique the city of Vancouver is, and how vulnerable it is to a changing climate. Caroline enjoys finding creative and fun ways to reduce the impacts of her daily life, from bike commuting to recycling electronics to optimizing airflow in her apartment to reduce heat. Caroline has a bachelors and master’s degree in civil Engineering from Queen’s university. Her master’s research was looking at methane release from peatlands, trying to quantify this potentially large, and misunderstood, emitter of green hours gas. Caroline now works for BGC Engineering as a groundwater scientist on a variety of groundwater quantity and modelling projects.
The objective of the BGC Sustainability Committee is to advise BGC on becoming an environmentally sustainable organization. The committee will have three main areas of focus: carbon footprint reduction, employee engagement/education and sustainability accountability. The committee will work to understand what the company’s emissions are, and where improvements can be made. Greenhouse gas accounting will be completed internally; once emissions sources are understood, actions will be prioritized based on their impact and a plan will be developed to implement them. Employee engagement and education will be initiated through employee facing events. The purpose of these events is to implement system changes that make it easy for employees to make sustainable choices, as well as to empower employees to carry the changes into their lives outside of work. Examples of employee facing events include recycling drives, community clean-ups or green commuting weeks. Sustainability accountability will be achieved by publishing annual sustainability reports detailing progress towards sustainability goals, and areas that need to be improved. The committee will also be advising on accreditations that BGC can pursue.
The Sustainability Committee was formed because of employee feedback at BGC that indicated that corporate sustainability was a priority. BGC has a Climate Change team, which is responsible for incorporating climate change into the technical work that BGC does, however was not formally addressing the sustainability of the company operations outside of our technical work. Surveys and employee engagements were conducted to canvass the employees about what they would like done about climate change at the company, and many of the suggestions were about the sustainability of our food, commuting, offices, and travel. BCG had grassroots initiatives being carried out throughout the company, however there was no accountability or formal group responsible for sustainability. The sustainability committee was formed to fill this gap.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
My motivation for protecting the planet comes from my upbringing in nature. I value the time I spent outside as it was formational to the person I am today. The outdoors has strengthened my families’ ties, has increased my personal resolve, and has positively impacted my mental and physical health. I think it is going to take a massive global effort to protect the planet and its people from a changing climate, and I would like to do my part.
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