Employee-Led Initiative to Give Back to the Community

Jonathan Morel et Michael Tremblay

Recycling and repurposing are some of the values that Rio Tinto promotes to make its operations as environmentally responsible as possible. Sharing and giving are also values promoted by the employees, who volunteer for projects that improve their daily working environments and contribute to a good cause. This is exactly what Michael Tremblay and Jonathan Morel, both Alma Works employees, have accomplished with their initiative to give back to the community.

For several years, Serge Desbiens (now retired) collected refundable containers and donated the proceeds to Moisson d’Alma. Trembly and Morel wanted to continue this initiative, so they stepped up to the plate and created a project of their own, making it even bigger than before.

“We didn’t want the initiative to disappear. We felt it was important to continue and even grow it. We asked management if we could set up a new version of the project that would give a second life to equipment that was no longer used in the plant by selling it to employees. A Marketplace page was created to sell these items. The funds, which are raised through GoFundMe, a social funding platform, are automatically donated to Moisson d’Alma,” said Morel, an operator at the Paste Plant.

“We’re a big business, so sometimes we accumulate equipment, and it sits unused in our facilities, taking up space. We want to keep our workplaces clean, but we also want to give a second life to equipment that’s no longer needed. This initiative is a great way to raise awareness of the circular economy among people at the plant. By disposing of raw materials properly, we’re helping to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Dino Lapointe, Supervisor.   

An initiative that brings people together

Chairs, desks, filing cabinets, whiteboards, tyres, dustbins, projectors, computers—all these items found takers among employees, much to the delight of the plant’s staff. So far, $12,000 has been raised. The company has also pledged to match the final amount, which will be donated in full to a good cause.

“For us, it was important to make sure that plant employees would benefit from the project and that they would be happy about it. You can tell that the employees are pleased to recover materials and participate in a good cause. It’s a win-win situation. The project has had a very positive impact because we’ve noticed that everyone is more careful about what they throw away. It’s a great initiative, and people are getting on board,” added Tremblay.

The start of a great story

According to Fay de la Durantaye, Coordinator, By-Product Valorisation, the project is preventing tonnes of waste from going to landfill while giving materials a second life. “When I heard about the project, I was impressed by the dedication and commitment of these two employees. They’re trailblazers, and it’s because of their completely voluntary involvement that we’re able to raise money to donate to charity,” she said.

The initiative is an excellent example of the circular economy: a large human chain that works together to make the organisation even better.