“Got 10 minutes?” This is what Footprint Champions have been asking staff in the Footprint Commitment campaign at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is part of the World Bank group. The point of the question is to get people thinking about their impact on the environment, and what behavioural changes they might make. It's a highly original one-on-one awareness raising campaign on sustainability issues, and it has been spreading across the organization's headquarters as a growing percentage of the staff take a '10 Minute Tune Up'.
Designed as an easy tool to use, the Tune Up works essentially by sharing simple tips on ways to use natural (and financial) resources more efficiently. Staff become more aware of the impact of things like the amount of paper used for printing and copying, the percentage of recyclables in the landfill waste stream, the number of individual-sized water bottles ordered for catering, or the number of e-meetings and video conferences held in a year.
At the core of the programme is the Tune Up checklist. Every champion has a copy, which they share with the staff member before their Tune Up (electronically, to save paper waste) and copy to their desktop for future reference. On the list are 29 items in five sections: workstation/department, cafeteria, travel, meetings and catered events, and supporting Footprint Commitment. The items on the list range from suggested behaviour changes ('dos and don’ts') to specific information on resources and services available internally to IFC staff (such as the location of a techno-trash recycling centre) and links to other information outside the organization (such as car-sharing resources). The checklist also makes a point of noting the kind of one-off changes that have a cumulative impact over the long term (such as changing the default setting of printers to double-sided printing).
The training of trainers is a key aspect of the programme. A 45-minute presentation prepares keen volunteers to take on the responsibilities of Footprint Champions and deliver the Tune Up to their colleagues. It takes them through the reasons behind the initiative - the internal and external context for promoting sustainability among IFC staff - and ensures that trainers are comfortable with the topics and tips included in the Tune Up checklist, giving them the opportunity to raise any questions about it or clarify any aspects of the Tune Up process. Another training tool is the FAQ document, containing answers to questions raised by staff during Tune Up sessions. Organized under the checklist topic headings, this document is kept updated as champions record the feedback from their sessions, and is constantly available for reference on the Footprint programme's intranet site. As well as disseminating information to colleagues one to one, and collecting questions, comments and ideas, the champions provide input on the annual Footprint programme work plan, and try to demonstrate best practice on sustainability themselves.
The first wave of the programme was implemented between March and July 2009 at the IFC's headquarters, where the network of Footprint Champions began with one in every department and progressively expanded until 52 of them were on the case. In a bid to create a bit of a buzz about the initiative, posters started appearing with just the words 'Got 10 Minutes?' and a link to the programme's intranet page. Another idea to increase the visibility of the programme was awarding a special emblem to members of staff when they completed their Tune Up. Displayed prominently near their nameplate on their workstation, this emblem was also meant to represent their commitment to sustainability, encouraging them to demonstrate good practice in their department. All Tuned Up staff were entered in a raffle, with prizes ranging from vouchers for a local sustainable restaurant to books and coffee mugs, and there were prizes for the Footprint Champions who carried out most Tune Ups - two of them received USD 125 in restaurant vouchers at the conclusion of each phase of the programme.
High-level support for the programme was also much in evidence. Photographs showed senior staff being 'Tuned Up', and an IFC Vice President (who also chairs the Footprint Advisory Committee) emailed all the departmental directors to ask them to support the initiative; it also featured in a vice-presidential presentation at the 2009 Earth Day reception. The programme has reached 850 employees and 10 senior staff so far, and a roll-out across the IFC's 100-plus country offices is planned for 2010.
The Footprint Champions are all volunteers, giving up their time to train their colleagues, so monetary costs have been kept to a minimum. There is a cost in staff time, but actual expenditure has only been on small items such as incentives and printing materials for flyers, posters and so on.
For this modest outlay, there have been many benefits, including: