News & Insights

Global Questions in Sustainability 2024

Dillon Consulting recently teamed up with students in the Global Questions in Sustainability course from McMaster University. The collaboration was designed so that students from multiple facilities and academic perspectives could learn more about real-world, industry-based applications of sustainability principles. Reciprocally, Dillon was able to benefit from their academic perspectives on this timely and critical topic.

“The Global Questions in Sustainability course was created to give students the ability to challenge their thoughts on sustainability from multiple points of view. With this collaboration, the students have a unique opportunity to understand how the knowledge they acquire through sustainability courses can be impactfully integrated into practical applications. Students enjoyed the chance to take their knowledge and  apply it to the community project concepts presented by Dillon Consulting.”

-Dr. John Maclachlan, Professor

Students were introduced to Dillon Consulting and provided multiple videos outlining our current, ongoing work in Sustainability from our Business Units. We then asked students to provide input on future sustainability approaches for one (or more) of Dillon’s  Business Units: what haven’t we thought of, and how else could we increase the use of sustainability principles in our work and across our communities?

Student submissions were evaluated by each of the Business Unit Managers on the following criteria:

  • Practicality: could it be applied to a real-world scenario?
  • Effectiveness: if applied, would it be successful, and what would be the magnitude of the impact?
  • Cost Benefit: would the benefit be higher than the cost required to implement the idea?

Through this assignment, the students gained knowledge of current, real-world sustainability applications, while also allowing them the opportunity to measurably and positively impact the world around them by sharing their ideas for future applications.

The submissions were thoroughly vetted by Dillon Consulting and reviewed for potential application to current and future community applications. Of the approximately 125 student entries, one concept per Business Unit was chosen to be featured as an example of the student’s innovative and sustainable thinking.  Read the highlights below of the chosen submissions for each Business Unit.

Community Infrastructure

Using cost-benefit and community safety analysis as a determining factor, incorporate renewable energy sources into community infrastructure.

Community Strategies

Create a municipal consumption tracker to understand resource usage patterns, and demonstrate how the interconnection of consumption patterns can have complex and cumulative effects.

Contaminated Sites Management

Mikayla Battams – Instead of traditional excavation and subsequent transportation to landfills for disposal, utilize sustainable remediation technologies to mitigate contaminated soils.

Environmental Management

Incorporate concepts such as Triple Bottom Line (TBL), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to improve supply chain management sustainability.


Justin Beshay – In-depth location reviews to identify viability of renewable energy sources (i.e., wind and solar) so that self-sufficient net-zero facilities can be constructed.


Introduction of recycled plastics during road and highway construction programs to meet sustainability goals in both the waste and transportation sectors.

Waste Management

Given the scale of waste generated and the constraints on location-based composting, promote implementation of wide-scale restaurant compost programs.

Contact us to further discuss how #SustainabilityMatters!