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4 ideas to inspire your employees to “spring into action” this Earth Day

Hands holding dirt with seedlings

Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to engage your team and make an impact

Earth Day, recognized each year on April 22, is the largest secular observance in the world. This makes it the perfect opportunity to involve your team in something we can all get behind – investing in our planet. Whether it’s through small, everyday actions, donations or larger sustainability practices, everyone can play a part.

Here are 4 ways to recognize Earth Day at work:

1. Plan an ‘action day’ or an action activity 

If your team works in the same area, an easy way to get involved is to plan a cleanup day. This guide to organizing a cleanup group has great ideas to get you started.

If your team isn’t in the same location, consider an action activity. This year, our Pivot team has a weeklong sustainability challenge planned. See below for more details.

2. Tell employee stories

Run a campaign encouraging employees to share what they do to invest in the earth by posting a photo of themselves doing that activity on your company’s internal or external social media channels using a unique hashtag. Following the campaign, collect all the photos and use them to tell a broader story in an upcoming meeting or on your company’s intranet site.

3. Encourage donations

Highlight organizations that help the Earth ꟷ and make it easy for employees to donate. If your company offers a matching gift for donations, remind them of the opportunity to double their impact. Some recommended organizations include:

4. Educate employees on your sustainability story

Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) reports highlight the progress and sustainability impact for your corporate stakeholders, but how much do your employees know about what your company is doing in this space? Use Earth Day as an opportunity to share highlights from your ESG report. 

Need to develop your sustainability communications or ESG reporting? Contact us at Pivot Strategies. This is one of the areas we specialize in, and we’d be happy to help you tell your story. Learn more about what we offer for ESG and read our case studies.

People cleaning up trash

Pivot’s weeklong Sustainability Challenge

Pivot plans ‘action days’ each year that center around meaningful dates or events (i.e., Earth Day, Juneteenth). 

For Earth Day this year, regardless of where we call home, the Pivot team will be able to participate in daily sustainable activities all week long to earn points and win prizes.

You and your team can join Pivot in this weeklong sustainability challenge (this week or any week) by following along with the details below.

Recycling provides a handful of benefits to our environment. However, just because something has the recycling symbol on it, doesn’t mean that it is recyclable. Have you ever noticed that the recycling symbols on many plastic items have different numbers on them? Those numbers indicate what kind of plastic the material is made of and not all are recyclable. 

Challenge: Find out what is recyclable in your area by contacting your local recycling center, then create a list of recyclable materials to hang up in your home. Be sure to check out what those numbers mean on the bottom of each plastic container!

Beyond Earth Day: Make an effort to reduce single-use plastic consumption. Bring reusable containers when grocery shopping to buy in bulk, use reusable bags, skip the plastic water bottle and use a reusable one. What other small changes can you make to reduce your plastic consumption?

Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation account for about 27% of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor of U.S. GHG emissions. In honor of Earth Day, leave the keys behind and find an alternative way to get around.

Challenge: Score five points each time you choose alternative transportation today. Alternative transportation could be walking, biking, taking public transportation or carpooling. 

Beyond Earth Day: Whether you’re commuting to work or running errands, make an effort to leave your car at home, even if it’s once a week. Not only will it reduce greenhouse gas emissions, you’ll save money and get more exercise!

Did you know that 60% of water pollution is attributed to litter? As litter degrades, it releases chemicals and poisons that make their way into soil and water sources, which negatively impacts the environment, humans and animals. 

Challenge: Grab your headphones and walking shoes to take a walk and tune into a sustainability podcast or webinar of your choice. While on your walk, pick up 20 pieces of litter. Be sure to wear gloves! Need a webinar recommendation? Our ESG Reporting and Sustainability Communications Practice Lead Cathy McCarron is hosting “Understanding ESG Reporting: Best Practices and Evolving Expectations” with IABC on April 19 at noon (CST). Register here

Beyond Earth Day: “Adopt” a small area in the community and take responsibility for keeping one area clean around you.

More than 70% of Earth’s surface is water, but more than 99% of that water is unusable by humans and other living things. Because water is such a precious resource, we need to utilize it very wisely and do our part to save it.

Challenge: Evaluate your personal water footprint by using the water footprint calculator. Explore your results and reflect on actions you can take to help conserve freshwater resources directly and indirectly. 

Beyond Earth Day: Consider making some changes in your home to conserve water, such as: turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, installing low-flow faucets and/or showerheads, spending less time in the shower (can you cut your shower time down to 8 minutes?), washing your fruits and vegetables in a bowl filled with water instead of under the faucet, using leftover water to water your houseplants or garden instead of dumping it, or installing a rain barrel in your garden to cut back on watering. 

An estimated 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from wasted food, and about half of all food waste occurs during the “consumption stage,” meaning waste from food service and households. That percentage doesn’t even include the resources that went into growing the food and packing, as well as the energy used to transport, cool and prepare it. 

Challenge: One of the most effective ways to prevent food waste at home is to plan meals ahead of time. Today, create a weekly menu of meals and ingredients for your household in an effort to reduce food waste and save money. Think about some of the ingredients that you can purchase on your Sunday trip to the farmers market! 

Beyond Earth Day: Meal planning and everyday efforts to reduce food waste are helpful, but there may always be some food that you just have to toss. So, what’s the best solution? Composting! Consider at-home composting (great for your garden) or recycling your organics. Check out the EPA’s guide to at-home composting to get started, or check your recycling center for more information on organics recycling (it’s free in Hennepin County!).

Volunteering with an environmental organization can help build community through sustainability action. A donation is another great way to invest in a more sustainable and equitable community. 

Challenge:  Today, participate in a local volunteer event of your choice or make a monetary donation to an environmental charity. Check out our Resource List for ideas. 

Beyond Earth Day: Set a goal for yourself to continue your volunteer or donation efforts year round. Is it a weekly walk around the neighborhood to clean up trash, a monthly volunteer event or an annual donation? 

Buying local or directly through farmers not only cuts down on emissions and encourages sustainable agricultural practices, it also supports local businesses and communities. 

Challenge:  Skip the grocery store and do your shopping for the week at a local farmer’s market! 

Don’t forget your reusable bag!

Beyond Earth Day: Commit to doing most of your grocery shopping locally! Shop at a farmers market on a regular basis and create relationships with farmers that you can support. 

Get outside and have fun at any point during the week! What better way to show our appreciation for the Earth than by spending time outside. 

  • Explore the outdoors! Go for a walk at a state park, nature center or a trail near you.
  • Plant a garden or a tree. Did you know that planting one oak tree brings in more insect and bird species than an entire yard of plants?
  • Check out a local garage sale! Buying used goods is a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle. 
  • Attend an event in your community in honor of Earth Day!

Taking the time to give back and engage your team goes a long way to fostering a sense of community, belonging and gratitude. Try one of these suggestions for your team this Earth Day. Download and share our Sustainability Challenge Guide to get your team started now.

Have a critical initiative that requires the activation of your employees in order to be successful? Pivot specializes in internal communications and change management strategy and execution so that everyone on your team is engaged. Learn more.

About the Author

Jamie VargoSenior Communications Consultant

Jamie brings 20 years of HR communications experience to the Pivot team. As a communication consultant, she builds and executes comprehensive communication and change strategies using a thoughtful and results-driven approach. She’s passionate about employee engagement and simplifying complex messages. Jamie has experience in consulting for all areas of HR in the hospitality, agricultural and financial services industries.

Connect with Jamie Vargo on LinkedIn →

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