Facilitating Change: A Summary of Results from Cool Choices Sustainability Programs
In 2016, Cool Choices implemented engagement programs around sustainability with a dozen entities ranging from manufacturing facilities to local units of government. The largest entity had more than 15,000 employees, while the smallest had about 200.
This paper summarizes high-level results from a dozen programs we’ve implemented in workplaces in 2016. Cool Choices not only inspires new actions that reduce energy, water, and fuel consumption – saving money and reducing emissions – it also shifts how participants think about their own commitment to sustainability, how they perceive others’ commitments, and their level of emotional commitment to their employer.
Employee Perspectives on Sustainability: Employee Observations on Opportunities for Workplace Efficiency Improvements
Organizations with a commitment to environmental sustainability or waste reduction have typically identified a person or team to lead those efforts. Increasingly, companies are recognizing the strategic advantages to engaging all employees around sustainability, not just the sustainability team or lead. Companies engage the broader workforce to increase engagement, so that employees will feel proud, knowing that their organization aims to make a positive environmental impact. Often organizations invite employees to share ideas on how the company could do even more to reduce waste.
The resulting employee suggestions are great fodder for innovation and also offer insight into how current sustainability efforts look from the inside. Cool Choices reviewed thousands of employee suggestions submitted through our 2016 programs. In this paper we offer insights into the issues that resonate with employees, identifying some of the sustainability challenges that remain and the implications for sustainability leaders.
Help Us Do the Right Things! Strategies for Expanding Sustainable Practices in Communities
This paper summarizes participants’ community-scale thoughts and ideas from a large regional program in Northeast Wisconsin in fall 2018. With funding from the McKnight Foundation, Cool Choices partnered with New North, Inc., an economic development organization representing 18 counties in Northeast Wisconsin, to implement a regional sustainability program. Fifteen organizations joined the program engaging more than 1,350 participants. Our partners included some of the biggest employers in the region, as well as participation from several faith groups and students in a UW-Oshkosh business class. In total, participants reported actions that will reduce annual carbon emissions by more than 2,500 metric tons.
As climate impacts become clearer the public is increasingly interested in solutions. People want to do their part and they also want to know that local leaders—their elected officials as well as their employers—are doing their part.