April 22nd… Earth Day… A once-a-year rallying cry for the environment where we all shout: “We care about nature” and “Go green!”
Thankfully in 2016, companies have long improved upon their static “greening” programs and greenwashing claims, and have developed environmental programs that have significant positive impacts throughout the year. Well, how did they get there? Here are a few ways we’ve seen companies catapult from traditional Earth Day celebrations to leading truly engaging campaigns.
Earth Day and beyond:
Many WeSpire clients don’t just think about Earth Day as a once a year opportunity, but rather use it to kick off or culminate their Earth Week and Earth Month initiatives. Why stick to just one day when you can offer multiple projects and activities? This is especially beneficial for harder-to-reach employees, like hourly and field employees, who might have less flexibility in their schedules. Our clients with global offices and a multi-national employee base are also thinking about June 5th, the United Nation’s World Environment Day, as another opportunity to celebrate and feature their sustainability initiatives.
Don’t start from scratch:
Utilize Earth Day, Week, and Month activities to bolster existing environmental commitments and get the word out. While the environment may be top-of-mind year-round for some folks, there’s an undeniable buzz that happens in April. Most companies have thoughtful partnerships or initiatives focused on sustainability already in place. Don’t reinvent your own wheel: instead, use this time to share what you’re already doing! Use the momentum of Earth Day to re-charge your ambitious goals and report on your progress. Find ways to tell employees and customers how much paper you’ve saved over the past year or how their public transportation efforts have helped you cut emissions.
Engagement Engagement Engagement:
The tree-planting events of yesteryear served their purpose, bringing employees together to DO SOMETHING around protecting mother earth. Smiling employees in company branded t-shirts carrying shovels and rakes make for great photo ops, and employees are happy to get out of the office on what’s hopefully a nice spring day. However, best-in-class organizations are now going beyond these one-off events and organizing events tailored to their employees’ interests all year. At their NH headquarters, Timberland hosts bike tune-ups, composting lessons, and a dumpster dive with the facilities crew. Aveda involves their consumers as they sell Light the Way Candles: 100% of purchase price goes to Global GreenGrants, a non-profit funding groups that use innovation to solve environmental problems.
Reflect and share:
One of the key elements of WeSpire’s award-winning platform is the online community it creates. Clients are using our platform to get to know their employees’ passions and collect the stories they tell. Why are they passionate about the Earth? What are their motivations to act sustainably? What are the simple choices they make and share with their colleagues? Let your employees tell their stories, post their own photos, and engage in the actions they are passionate about. Not only will you gain insight into how your team works, but you’ll build a community of green leaders.
At WeSpire every day is Earth Day, but we shy away from being preachy. Instead we focus on empowering our users to take simple steps towards a cleaner, greener earth. Yet not every day presents the opportunity to celebrate our planet like we have on Earth Day. We’ve seen our innovative clients think beyond April 22nd to create top-notch campaigns that engage and inspire their employees to take action. Remember to highlight your successes, involve your employees, and highlight the personal stories that remind us why Earth Day matters. If you’re interested in learning best practices around reporting sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts, download our whitepaper: Corporate Sustainability & Social Responsibility Reporting.