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Four leading businesses take top spots in People Power Challenge

Nov 04, 2014



(November 4, TORONTO) -   Everybody seems to be talking about employee engagement these days. Business professionals know it is the key to achieving results - committed, skilled individuals who believe in what they are trying to accomplish will bring the necessary dedication, enthusiasm and drive to achieve company goals. Recently, 12 companies representing 16 teams and over 10,000 employees applied this concept to improving their sustainability performance by competing in the People Power Challenge. And they certainly got results.

Partners in Project Green, an initiative of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Greater Toronto Airports Authority, runs an annual competition based on gamification theory to drive sustainability forward through employee engagement. Known as the People Power Challenge, this competition puts companies head to head to earn points by having staff make pledges for environmental behavior change, give suggestions on how to improve environmental performance, and take on sustainability projects. With the introduction of a mobile app from Nudge Rewards and support from Learn2 Solutions to deliver innovative education components, the 2014 Challenge brought unique elements to the table to drive sustainability engagement even further in the competing businesses.

"We saw our partnership with Partners in Project Green as a unique opportunity to harness the unparalleled reach of the Partners in Project Green network (over 12,500 organizations) to mobilize employees to drive positive change" says Lindsey Goodchild, Founder of Nudge Rewards. "We leveraged our mobile platform to empower organizations to communicate, engage and reward their employees for participating in the People Power Challenge, and the results were remarkable. Over 70% of participants preferred to engage through the app, and we delivered over 16,000 environmental communications directly into the hands of employees."

"Learn2 Solutions is thrilled to support the People Power Challenge by sharing engagement strategies with competing organizations. Learn2 Solutions has a lofty goal to change the way the world learns, and we are passionate about helping organizations and individuals achieve seriously amazing results. Partnering with Project Green and the People Power Challenge aligns learning and environmental champions to not only change the way the world learns, but also the way the world runs" says Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development at Learn2 Solutions.

Overall, the 16 teams competing received 2,747 suggestions, resulting in 1,055 projects being immediately implemented and an additional 653 projects to be implemented over the next 12 months. In addition, over 34,000 pledges for environmental behavior changes were made by competing employees. In the end, four teams claimed the winning spots:

Large Enterprise Winner ($5,000) - Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), St. Clair Corridor Team

"Actions speak louder than words. Our recent success in the 2014 PPC is a testament of how our MOECC staff are committed to creating green workplaces built on environmentally friendly practices," Heather Taylor, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Management Division, and Chief Administrative Officer. "I would like to personally thank all MOECC employees whose ideas to build a greener workplace reflected creativity and ingenuity. Their actions are a direct reflection of our Ministry's commitment to environmental sustainability and improving environmental performance." 


The MOECC has decided to direct all the funds from their win to an external environmental program.


Small-to-Medium Enterprise Winner ($5,000) - Colliers: Mississauga Executive Centre

"The Mississauga Executive Centre (MEC) office is proud to accept the 2014 People Power Challenge award. We entered this challenge as an opportunity for our team to test run a new approach in communicating and engaging our building occupants. As a team, we have certainly increased awareness on how we can reduce our carbon footprint and be more sustainable in the office and at home, I can attest to changing habits in my own home" says Catherine Grammatikos, Property Manager, Colliers International. "The sustainability practices didn't stop once the challenge ended on September 30th. Through the exercise, we have continued and extended our office habits to such initiatives as:  setting printer settings to black and white and double sided, publishing a printing report for the office to bring awareness, and encouraging people to reduce printing."

Large Enterprise Runner Up ($2,500) - Velcro Canada

"Velcro Canada Inc. chose to participate in the People Power Challenge with expectations of increasing sustainability and environmental awareness among employees. Throughout the Challenge, employees started making conscious efforts towards reducing their carbon footprint, not only at work but in their personal lives as well" says Tal Rafailov, Quality Systems Manager at Velcro Canada Inc. "Winning the Runner Up title for the large business category helps to reinforce that we are continuing to move in the right direction towards a more sustainable future."

Small-to-Medium Enterprise Runner Up ($2,500) - Kuehne + Nagel Pendant Warehouse Team

"Kuehne + Nagel is dedicated to its environmental stewardship initiatives and our team is proud to have taken part in the 2014 People Power Challenge," says Mark O'Connor, VP of Compliance. "As a global leader in Logistics, all of our employees play an active role in understanding our impact on the ecosystem, how it affects our business, our customers and the world around us. Both senior management and front line staff maintain a strong commitment to identifying inefficiencies within our operations and implementing strategies that move us to a higher level of environmental performance."

All of the other competitors are not going home empty handed. Air Canada, Bentall Kennedy, Canadian Tire, Rockwell Automation, City of Mississauga, International Centre, Menkes Property Management and Trillium Health Partners all earned Certificates of Participation along with great ideas to green their bottom lines, not to mention more engaged employees.

Engaging employees in sustainability has a wider reach than just reduced operational costs and improved corporate governance, although those are substantial results on their own. When employees see corporate social responsibility is not just a catch phrase, but that their organization truly believes in improving the environment, the enthusiasm they feel for the good works accomplished through the People Power Challenge extends to all aspects of their work, whether they are in the accounting department or front line sales. And that translates into better business.


Partners in Project Green has announced that the People Power Challenge will be running again in 2015.  All businesses in the Region of Peel and City of Toronto are eligible to compete.  More information can be found at


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Elizabeth Oakley
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