Earth Day 2019: The Power of Collective Impact

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Earth Day 2019: The Power of Collective Impact

Earth day is not only about bringing light to environmental issues, but about bringing action. Small individual steps can make big impact, especially when part of a daily routine, and our collective efforts can contribute to solutions to pressing environmental issues on a wide scale.

In celebration of Earth Day this year, Stok and hundreds of companies across the globe participated in the Drawdown EcoChallenge. Organized by Project Drawdown, the 21-day EcoChallenge got participants involved in daily challenges that address the 100 most substantive solutions to climate change mitigation presented in Paul Hawken’s Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

See how fellow industry leaders and Stok participated in the EcoChallenge and other Earth Day celebrations to get ideas, tips, and inspiration to live a more sustainable lifestyle that will truly make every day Earth Day!

Action from fellow industry leaders

We were stoked to see how many of our industry partners were also involved in the Drawdown EcoChallenge and other Earth Day efforts. Learn from their Drawdown impact and apply it to your own sustainability efforts:

Hewlett-Packard (HP)
Tech giant and sustainable impact champion HP is not only a participant in this year’s Drawdown EcoChallenge, but has also been incredibly influential in participating in the EcoChallenge hosted by NWEI every October. So much so, that their Puerto Rico and India Teams earned first and second place in the 2018 competition. With 2,100 employees from 30 teams across HP participating, the company collectively:
• Replaced 930 incandescent light bulbs with efficient alternatives
• Avoided usage of over 19,000 straws, cups, bottles, and plastic containers
• Diverted over 450 kilograms of waste to compost
• Conserved over 163,000 liters of water
• Saved approximately 17.6 tons of carbon dioxide

“I think we have learned that people naturally have the desire to do their part to help improve their health, their community, and their planet. But what they lack is the awareness and tools to do so. That’s where we feel the EcoChallenge has filled a significant need.”
—Jacob Sanchez, Packaging Sustainability & Compliance Lead, HP

To learn more about HP’s sustainability best practices and lessons learned, check out their article on Steps to Protect our Planet on Earth Day and Beyond and Sustainable Impact Twitter page.

Global cosmetics retailer Lush participated in the Drawdown EcoChallenge to encourage their employees to take personal action on climate change initiatives. As part of a business founded on being mindful of and reducing its environmental footprint as much as possible, 95 Lush employees jumped into action. By taking part in challenges in every category, the team completed 699 actions, including travelling by bike, eating vegetarian or vegan meals, and refusing single use plastics, resulting in:
• Avoiding 921 pounds of CO2 emissions
• Saving 1,291 gallons of water
• 2,517 minutes of learning and research on how to make a measurable impact on solutions to global warming

“As an eco-friendly brand, we’re often asked about what changes people can make in their daily lives to be more environmentally conscious but we’re always looking for ways we can do better in our own lives, both at work and at home. Even though the challenge was only 21 days, we were amazed by the participation and the impact we could have with a small number of people over a short period of time.”
—Dawn-Marie Barreira, Sustainability & Energy Management Specialist, Lush

Additionally, Lush coordinated Earth Day activities at both of their factories in Vancouver and Toronto, including neighborhood cleanups, pollinator workshops, and outreach sessions with some of their local charity partners.

WSP empowered 391 team members in 34 states to choose and organize events around the Drawdown EcoChallenge actions that excited them most. The most popular actions on the WSP team focused on food, with 33% of team members completing the “Reduce Animal Products” and 22% completing the “Learn the Truth about Expiration Dates” challenges. As a result, WSP significantly reduced food waste and greenhouse gas emissions by eating 1,942 meatless or vegan meals.

“When we complete EcoChallenge actions on an individual level, they may not seem like they make much of a difference. However, when we look at the total quantified impact of our team, we can see that small actions by many people can change the world.”
—Meghan Jones, EcoChallenge Co-Captain, WSP

With a strong commitment to corporate responsibility, WSP aims to continue initiatives beyond the Drawdown EcoChallenge to support environmental restoration, including:
• Committing to carbon neutrality in 2019
• Hosting a company-wide Bike to Work Week every May that will build on the “Go by Bike” EcoChallenge for daily commutes
• Encouraging local offices to apply for national community outreach funding to complete year-round actions like “Plant a tree”

Brightworks Sustainability
Wanting to improve their already eco-friendly lifestyles, the Brightworks Sustainability team used the EcoChallenge to learn more about daily impacts in transportation, materials, resources, and food. Through individual actions, the group:
• Traveled 324 miles by bus, bike, and foot rather than car
• Reduced water use by 315 gallons
• Eliminated 30 containers of plastic waste
• Consumed 64 zero waste, vegan, and/or locally-sourced meals
• Sweated through 540 minutes of exercise
• Watched 3 environmental documentaries

“We are a sustainability consulting firm, so every day is Earth Day at Brightworks. Our core business is helping protect the earth, and we are always striving to reduce our impacts, both for our clients and for ourselves.”
–Ariel Willey, Project Coordinator, Brightworks Sustainability and Billy Ulmer, Marketing Manager, Brightworks

A fellow B Corp, Brightworks is also taking measures during 2019 to improve their sustainability program in preparation for renewing their B Corp certification this fall. These include evaluating energy metering options for their office spaces, improving corporate travel policies, and completing a waste audit of their Portland headquarters.

Action from Stok

While all of Stok’s work aims to catalyze a socially equitable and environmentally restorative world, we wanted to challenge ourselves to make even more sustained impact at both a company and individual level through daily routines inspired by the Drawdown EcoChallenge.

Stok organized a Zero Waste Day Competition on Earth Day where everyone collected any waste – including typical recycling and compost – they created in a mason jar to be displayed at the end of the day, aiming for empty. While it was a tough challenge, we gained some valuable lessons, including that moving to reusable products for our morning routines, bringing our own lunch or a Tupperware for takeout, and unsubscribing from magazine mailing lists are all simple ways to reduce our daily waste.

Other measurable actions Stok took included:
• Researching women-owned businesses to promote social and gender equity
• Taking daily walks and noticing the city’s existing infrastructure and what could be improved
• Traveling 417 miles by carpool and bus
• Consuming 153 meatless or vegan meals and 42 locally-sourced meals
• Spending 140 minutes learning about bioplastics, what plastics to reuse, and plastic disposal tips that can be shared with others
• Saving 158 pounds of CO2
• Saving 132 gallons of water

“I think everyone at Stok does our best to ‘walk the sustainability talk’ in our daily lives, from our commutes to our diets and workplace habits. The EcoChallenge was a fun way to kick it up a notch by pushing our limits past sustainable business as usual, we were able to see what simple changes could make a significant difference in our carbon footprint.”
—Katie Stanford, Sustainable Buildings Consultant, Stok

Action for you

In addition to the Drawdown EcoChallenge, Stok volunteered with a number of organizations to give back to our local communities. Whether you find opportunities with one of the below or research others that are active in your own communities, volunteering is an easy, social, and meaingful way to make positive local impact and see the direct effect of your efforts.

One Tree Planted
Some of our team members met with One Tree Planted at Buena Vista Park in San Francisco to beautify the area through tree planting, invasive species removal, and a trash clean-up at the park. One Tree Planted is a nonprofit organization that works with reforestation organizations around the world to plant trees. Whether through a one-dollar donation to get a tree planted, being a partner and growing tree saplings, planting a tree, maintaining it, or all of the above, this organization makes it easy for anyone to support the environment and make an impact.

San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW)
The Stok team also participated in a city clean up with the SFDPW Community Clean Team. This volunteer program is one of San Francisco’s longest-run and largest, with a mission to keep San Francisco beautiful through efforts such as landscaping, gardening, trash pick-ups, and graffiti removal around neighborhoods throughout the city. The program holds volunteer clean-ups monthly around the city!

Groundwork Denver
Stok has volunteered with Groundwork Denver for the past 2 consecutive Earth Days, participating in a river clean-up and tree planting. Groundwork Denver is an independent non-profit with a mission of improving our physical environment while also promoting health and well-being through community-based partnerships and action.

We hope you’re buzzing with inspiration and actionable ideas to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and realize that you don’t always have to make significant changes to make an impact. Do you have further insight on how you or your team has taken measures to reduce your carbon footprint on Earth Day and every day? Let us know!