A workplace can be the perfect place to get a whole community to engage in climate action. The employees at the Nasdaq Helsinki office have been working for a greener office for many years, and they have an active Green Office program. We really think that this example can inspire more employees and offices to create green office campaigns!
Nasdaq is an exchange operator, so the majority of their emissions comes from their office. This fall they came up with a campaign that encourages the staff to eat vegetarian lunches more often. The goal was set high: 200 vegetarian or vegan lunches for the 39 employees during November. At Spark Sustainability we were thrilled to team up with the staff at Nasdaq to calculate just how much emissions were saved during the campaign.
Engaged campaign makers
“We’ve done different kinds of things over the years to reduce our office’s emissions. A few years ago we started to offer vegetarian lunch twice a year on our staff’s info sessions. It even spread to other Nasdaq offices! This year we wanted to organize a whole campaign around food and decided on a vegetarian month”, says Tiina Horttanainen. She and her co-worker Minna Korpi were the masterminds behind the campaign, showing how engaged individuals can make a great difference!
By now, climate change is being discussed everywhere all the time, and workplaces are great forums for sharing thoughts and knowledge on the subject. Since it can be a lot easier to try something new together with other people than on your own, campaigns such as this can be effective.
Here’s the result. Drumroll, please!
During November the staff ate 203 vegetarian and 84 vegan lunches – a total of 287 more earth-friendly meals! That means they’ve saved 190 kg CO2-eq, or 1200 km worth of driving – the same distance as between the Helsinki office and Kilpisjärvi.
But more important might actually be that this challenge opened the door for new habits and that the idea of challenges like this will most certainly spread.
“We were positively surprised of how open-mindedly everyone took the challenge right from the start. Almost every member of the staff tried vegetarian food at least once!” Minna says.
“People have come to us to tell how they’ve tasted vegetarian food for the very first time. And most of them were surprised by how good it was! I think this campaign has also encouraged people who have tried vegetarian food before, but were left disappointed, to give it another go”, Tiina adds.
Why this is such great news
This campaign has been good proof that introducing a new climate action, such as having a vegetarian lunch a few times a month, in our lives doesn’t have to be scary or take long. Our small everyday decisions make a huge difference for how we see our personal – and communal – role in mitigating climate change. Introduced in small portions with a good group of people climate action is just like the new fitness challenge – only we all reap the benefits.
The IPCC lists changing diets as a big opportunity to reach the goal of limiting warming to 2 C°. This time, it was only 39 people during the course of one month – if people all over the world would start picking the more climate-friendly alternatives for lunch on a regular basis, the impact would be significant.
“We’re definitely doing this again – maybe already in the spring!” – Minna Korpi, Nasdaq Helsinki
Nasdaq Helsinki is part of Nasdaq which is a leading global provider of trading, clearing, exchange technology, listing, information and public company services.