World Wildlife Fund and Hewlett-Packard’s Living Planet@Work program
Project lead: Frances Edmonds (HP) and Adrienne Lo (WWF)
In this NGO-corporate collaboration, small and medium-sized businesses commit to specific actions to green the workplace, engage employees on sustainability, and support WWF’s conservation efforts. In return they receive the tools to implement these initiatives. Already far ahead of target, the program has been adopted by 255 Canadian companies, encompassing 88,535 employees.
Corporate sustainability programs have tended to start and stay in upper management and in large firms, often failing to reach the majority of employees and small businesses.
As the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) lead for the Living Planet @ Work program, Adrienne Lo recognized that many employees were not only keenly interested in sustainability but also wanted and needed the tools and knowledge to actively contribute to improved environmental practices at their workplaces. WWF had received an increasing number of requests from employers to provide ideas and support to engage employees in green leadership. Interested in meeting these needs, WWF worked with stakeholders and consultants to explore the opportunity.
In the fall of 2009, WWF was granted financial support from Ontario Power Authority’s Conservation Fund to initiate an 18-month employee engagement pilot program with five companies. By 2011, after successfully completing the pilot, WWF saw the further opportunity to scale up the initiative and turned to environmental leader Hewlett-Packard (HP).
The two organizations were long-time partners, both in Canada and globally, and including HP’s membership in WWF’s Climate Savers program. WWF brought expertise at creating tools and programming to drive sustainability and conservation. HP had an excellent record of environmental action, employee engagement initiatives, and an extensive business network. Based on results and lessons learned from the pilot program, WWF and HP worked together to develop Living Planet @ Work. Implementing this program with hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses would allow HP to showcase their sustainable product and service offerings, industry leadership in sustainability, and commitment to social innovation and investment
Sears Canada team members participate in a CN Tower climb to raise money for WWF conservation efforts as part of the Living@Work program.The Living Planet @ Work program launched in October 2011 with a three-year goal of recruiting 500 companies, engaging 100,000 employees, and raising $1 million for environmental conservation through employee giving.
Living@Work team members during the October 2011 project launch, from left to right: Hadley Archer, VP, Strategic Partnerships and Development, WWF-Canada; Adrienne Lo, Head of Living Planet@Work, WWF-Canada; Katie Harper, Manager, Sustainable Supply Chain and Living Planet@Work Green Champion, Sears Canada; Lloyd Bryant, VP and General Manager, HP-Canada (Canada’s Clean16); Frances Edmonds, Director, Environmental Programs, HP-Canada (Canada’s Clean16) ; Monica Da Ponte, Director, Strategic Partnerships, WWF-Canada.
Within each organization, a designated “champion” of the Living Planet @ Work program commits to a pledge including footprint reduction, employee engagement and philanthropic components. To support these activities, WWF provides access to webinars, case studies, guest speakers, newsletters and online tools – everything they need to achieve their pledge, and all of it free of charge.
An example of Waterloo Wellington CCAC’s sustainability plan, drafted through their participation in the Living@Work program.
As HP’s Living Planet @ Work project lead, Frances Edmonds has stressed the importance of offering these resources gratis, especially to the many small businesses that would otherwise lack the resources or capacity to implement green initiatives.
The program and its tools allow participating companies to demonstrate their sustainability commitment to employees, customers, competitors, and to give back to their communities.
HP team members help clean up shoreline as part of the Living@Work program.
P&G team members participate in a sustainability ‘“lunch and learn” event.
The strong early uptake of this program highlights the growing number of employers and their employees who place a high priority on sustainability, the desire to take action and make a difference at work. After less than a year, 255 companies have signed on and the Living Planet @ Work team is looking at expanding program goals. To learn more about WWF and HP’s Living@Work program and how organizations can commit to achievable sustainability goals, please go to atwork.wwf.ca and www.hp.ca/environment.