Everyone understands that fighting climate change takes an effort by all stakeholders: governments, corporations and individuals.
Corporations rightfully look first at their own carbon footprint, their energy and water use, their supply chain, etc. This is where the bulk of their contribution needs to sit.
There is another way, though, companies around the world can be accelerators: by educating and nudging their employees to a more sustainably lifestyle. But how do we best facilitate behaviour change? We all know how hard it is to change habits, we have all struggled with exercising more, dieting, quitting smoking, etc. Not easy.
When it comes to sustainable living, there is an additional barrier: knowledge. Most people are not aware of the many options they have to do their part in lowering carbon emissions. Have you ever heard of clothes swapping? Do you know where your next e-waste collection point is? Did you realize that there is more than one company in Singapore offering re-usable container systems for food delivery?
We recently partnered with Singaporean start-up susGain to tackle both knowledge and behavior change within our entire agency. susGain can be best described as a rewards app with a purpose. You gain points for discounts through sustainable living, while also automatically supporting a charity of your choice. They also work with companies to run sustainability competitions amongst their employees.
Over a 6-week long competition, we were split in teams and collected points through sustainable actions recorded on the susGain App. There were prizes at the end for the overall individual winner and for the best performing team.
The first thing we learned – not surprisingly – is that gamification works. Gamifying sustainable living is somewhat new, but it could become a key tool in individual behavior change.
Second, employees are very receptive and, in fact, grateful when their management helps them along their journey. In fact, I predict that companies committing to sustainable action will become a key criterion for Gen Z’s employment choices.
Three, committing to sustainability often seems like a daunting task for any company, especially in the beginning. Where do I start? What kind of investments are needed? Will it be a growth accelerator, or will it slow us down? This is where running an internal sustainability competition can be a low cost, low barrier way to get started.
Finally, sustainable living used to have a feel of compromise or even sacrifice. Not today. Green living can be fun, exciting and very rewarding. And the more time we spend with discovering the options, we all find our own ways of contributing while also enjoying what we are doing. Personally, exploring the innovative world of meat replacement options in order to reduce my beef carbon footprint has been fascinating.
In summary, I can highly recommend running an internal sustainability competition like the one susGain offers. You will create employee engagement and happiness while doing the right thing for the planet. It will be hard to find a more turn-key way to drive corporate sustainability.