Digital devices are a strange beast: they have a definite life cycle, but they don’t physically break down. An expired laptop tossed in the garbage could sit in a landfill for 30 years without deteriorating much while gradually leaching harmful chemicals. Compugen, an IT service provider, understands this and has done something about it. “The life cycle process is something we take very seriously,” says Ken Sackley, Compugen’s regional director for Alberta. “We’ll keep the technology alive when it’s alive, but when it gets to the end of that life cycle, the disposal process becomes a big deal.”

“We’ll keep the technology alive when it’s alive, but when it gets to the end of that life cycle, the disposal process becomes a big deal.” – Ken Sackley, Compugen
When a client’s digital device is past its prime, Compugen will either recycle the product or permanently dispose of it in a secure and environmentally friendly way. Companies are welcome to give their old equipment to Compugen’s Green4Good program, which takes old electronics and recycles them back into the marketplace. The money made from reselling usually goes to a charity of that company’s choice. “They can take the money and spend it as they will, but most don’t,” he says. “More than 90 per cent donate to charity.” Compugen has worked with the Alberta government, large oil and gas companies, school districts and businesses of all sizes. Compugen’s employees are conscious about their own environmental impact, too. Central offices in Calgary and Edmonton forced some employees to have a long commute. The transition to a regionalized system decreased travel time, reduced exhaust pollution and allowed Compugen to market at a local level. And if you don’t make it to the office at all, that’s OK too: Compugen encourages staff to work from home. The Calgary office headquarters has about 40 staff, and on an average day fewer than 10 are physically present. “Our value is driven in a way that is good for Alberta and good for society,” Sackley says. “Across the board, we are very proud of the company and its vision.”

The Finalists

Manasc Isaac, Edmonton A perennial contender for this award, Manasc advocates for green policies with its clients and in its own office, including a rooftop aviary for bees.

05-albertas-best-workplaces-2016-nilexNilex, Edmonton Nilex, which makes and installs geotechnology products and systems, has embraced low-impact development, including storm water management solutions that mimic natural hydrology.

05-albertas-best-workplaces-2016-syncrudeSyncrude, Fort McMurray About 85 per cent of the water used in Syncrude’s processes is continually recycled from tailings ponds, greatly reducing the fresh water withdrawals from the Athabasca River.