What is Your Company Doing for Earth Day 2011?

What is Your Company Doing for Earth Day 2011?

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Beverly & Pack

Last year, the Earth Day drum started pounding early in the season, largely because it was the event's 40th anniversary.

The fever may have subsided a bit, but just about every company we've spoken to still had big plans on the agenda for Earth Day 2011.

To get a sense of how companies are celebrating the day, week or month, we turned to members of the GreenBiz Executive Network, along with some of our partners and friends, to see how the 41st Earth Day would play out on corporate campuses and in office buildings around the country.

Here's what they told us:

Kevin Anton, Chief Sustainability Officer, Alcoa

In celebration of Earth Day, World Environment Day and Arbor Day, thousands of Alcoa employees worldwide will volunteer to reduce their carbon footprint, recycle to save energy and plant trees to replenish the environment from April 21 to June 21, as part of Alcoa Foundation’s Green Works initiative. Alcoa Foundation will also launch the "Imagine Your World" art contest for children of Alcoa’s 59,000 employees, who will create original artwork depicting their vision for tomorrow’s natural environment. Eight young winners will each receive a U.S. $5,000 grant to their local school or a school in an underserved area.

Beth ColletonBeth Colleton, Vice President, Green is Universal, NBC Universal

As part of our companywide Green is Universal initiative we have year-long efforts to recognize and celebrate sustainability both internally and externally, which extend to almost every part of our business. We launched Earth Week, our eigth green-themed week this past Sunday, which is one of two times a year that all the properties of NBCUniversal come together to inform and entertain our audiences around the environment. Internally, we have more than 14 environmentally-focused events happening in the U.S and globally.

Cynthia CurtisCynthia Curtis, Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer, CA Technologies

(We'll) organize volunteer events globally, host sustainability days at some of our major locations, and we’re also announcing a newly established Green Star Award.


Holly EmersonHolly Emerson, Senior Analyst, Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Climate Solutions Sector, Ingersoll Rand Company

We are coordinating and encouraging all sites across the world to host an Earth Day activity for employees. Activities include electronics recycling, Bloom Challenge (we all plant bulbs), dumpster dive, bike to work, nature walk, eating local lunch and learn, clean the highway, gas cap check, bike donations (Trips for Kids).

Amy HargrovesAmy Hargroves, Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Sprint

We are having a large Earth Day event on our campus where we invite internal and external groups to have booths, display green vehicles, give away tree kits, live music, food, etc. It is one of our biggest events each year with 1,000 or more attendees. We’ve had Earth Day events for at least five years. This year, we’re expanding the effort to have much smaller events at an additional 14 sites. We’re also expanding some of our environmental employee-oriented programs -- green parking, better fitness center benefits for our employees who use their bicycle to get to campus. We’re also having a contest where employees register for our online Smart Commute program and get entered for a drawing to win two Vespa scooters. Smart Commute helps employees find car pool partners, allows them to track alternative transport for work, find out about mass transit and more.

Michael KoboriMichael Kobori, Vice-President, Social and Environmental Sustainability, Levi Strauss & Co.

We’re launching a pilot program this Earth Day at our San Francisco headquarters that builds sustainability into the way we handle sample garments and fabrics. As part of our sample garments recycling program, we’re installing donation bins to collect wearable apparel accumulated during the design process. The wearable donations will be sold or distributed to the people in our community who need it most. We have a long-standing relationship with the San Francisco Goodwill and have partnered together again on this project to make the bins available year-round at our headquarters.

Eric Olson, Senior Vice President of Advisory Services, BSR

Earth Day is primarily serving as a milestone which internal sustainability champions can use to both help drive the pace and raise internal and external visibility of their sustainability efforts. In an interesting way, Earth Day also provides an opportunity to test new concepts and related messaging around "green" with less fear of "greenwash" than at other times. There is greater acceptance -- even an expectation -- that companies will talk about their environmental efforts on or around Earth Day.

John RegoJohn Rego, Executive Director, Environmental Sustainability, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is hosting its fourth annual Earth Day Extravaganza on their 45 acre Studio Lot in Culver City, Calif. Over 70 environmentally responsible vendors ranging from organic food, community based non-profits, and carbon-reducing technology companies are scheduled to attend. Each year SPE strives for continuous improvement and develops new and innovative approaches to engage employees on sustainability issues. For example, this year there is SPE’s first ever Earth Day Employee Electric Vehicle Test Drive opportunity and a Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Mall; the second annual Earth Day Employee Compost Giveaway; and the third annual Pledge Booth where employees commit to an environmental act for the next year.

Mary Joann "Majo" ThurmanMary Joann "Majo" Thurman, Director Environmental, Health & Safety, Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation will have an internal communications campaign for Earth Day to educate employees on our Corporate Responsibility Report and activities around our Sustainability Strategy. Our theme this year is water. We are also introducing an employee resource brochure that can aid employees in how to conserve at home. Many of our local sites have planned employee open house education events and green volunteer activities, including planting trees and organized clean-ups with Keep America Beautiful affiliates. For the employee open house, we have invited our nonprofit partners to host booths, sponsored other educational items, and we will have internal programs booths so employees are provided ideas on how they can get involved and support sustainability at home and at work.

Gerri WalshGerri Walsh, Director of Sustainability, Ball Corporation

We are holding a Ball employee Earth Day Sustainability Fair on April 22 for our employees in Colorado. For three hours during lunchtime, we will have a variety of interactive booths presented by outside vendors and Ball employees covering areas such as energy conservation, green car care, water conservation, composting, xeriscaping, solar energy, recycling, wellness, alternative transportation and more. We have an electronic recycler coming that will bring a truck for employees to recycle used electronics. For all U.S. employees, we have a page on our employee intranet asking them to make a pledge to "Do One Thing" to improve their environmental footprint.

Kevin WeaverKevin Weaver, Business Development Manager, and Stephanie Kraemer, Performance Management Analyst, Schneider Electric Buildings, Americas

Schneider Electric Buildings Americas is issuing a challenge amongst our branches and individuals -- who can be crowned the "Greenest?" Each participant is issued a scorecard and receives points for completing activities, both on site and individual. Every day during Earth Week there is a large office-wide event, including Wear Green Day and Recycle Day. Participants can also earn points with individual activities, such as signing an Earth Day pledge, answering Earth Day trivia, and sending our Schneider Electric Green Guide to customers and friends.

Stephanie KraemerSchneider Electric Buildings Americas already celebrates a Green Employee of the Month. The titles for Earth Week, Greenest Employee and Greenest Office, are awarded based on the amount of Earth Week participation.

Mary WenzelMary Wenzel, Director of Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is encouraging people to save trees by going paperless. Information about how customers can make the transition to paperless banking will be available through the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum. We are announcing an Online Statement sweepstakes to win a Nissan Leaf, the first commercially available all-electric car. Wells Fargo Green Teams in many cities have also organized Earth Day activities, including team members encouraging others to take at least one green action and volunteering for liter removal, tree planting, water testing and clean up, as well as hosting fairs where team members can learn about alternative transportation options, eco-friendly food service and greener products.

Kathrin Winkler, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, EMC Corporation

EMC has organized local but connected events around the world to celebrate Earth Day. Although not necessarily on the same dates, the events offer a range of experiences that inform, excite, inspire and energize our global employees. On-site events are held to showcase education, volunteer opportunities and company actions that will positively affect the environment and inspire employees to make environmentally responsible decisions. Vendors and local companies are invited to come in and demonstrate their green products and services. Some activities take place throughout the Earth Day week, such as electronics and PC collection, organic menu options, etc. At a global level, virtual events were held to bring employees together to learn about EMC’s sustainability stories, and new initiatives were launched to boost employee engagement.

Terry F. Yosie, President and CEO, World Environment Center

Earth Day is an annual opportunity to have a national conversation about environmental and sustainability progress and challenges. For companies that are integrating sustainability into their core business strategies and operations, this represents an opportunity to communicate their commitment to make every day become Earth Day. For other companies at the opposite end of the commitment and performance curve, Earth Day is their annual attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Beverly & Pack.