FutureFit helps Spark NZ engage their people with sustainability and climate change
Discovering their carbon footprints and competing to reduce emissions sparked conversations about climate and improved carbon literacy among staff at a time when sustainability is high on the company’s agenda.
Sustainability is a priority for Spark NZ. To play its part to mitigate climate change and limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Spark set a science-based emissions reduction target to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 56% by 2030 (from a 2020 baseline). Alongside this target, Spark launched its new Environmental Policy, which sets out the expectation for employees to consider environmental impacts in corporate decision-making at work. To make the considerations within it real and tangible for staff, the policy was launched together with FutureFit, an online carbon footprinting tool, in April 2021. As Auckland Council’s FutureFit in Business launch partner, Spark demonstrated their willingness to lead and a commitment to bringing their team together with them on their climate action journey.
“As founding members of the Climate Leaders Coalition, Spark is committed to embedding sustainability across our business and proactively supporting our people to reduce their emissions.” says Tom Newitt, Sustainability Lead at Spark NZ.
FutureFit enabled Spark staff to calculate their own carbon footprints and take steps to reduce their impact. Engaging with FutureFit helped increase carbon literacy among Spark’s people, starting with the factors that contribute to carbon emissions at the individual level, and then applying that knowledge to a wider business perspective.
Spark’s launch of FutureFit was led from the top: the company’s CEO and Executive Team were the first to sign up, demonstrating leadership commitment to emissions reduction and highlighting the importance of climate action within the company. Staff communications, posters and screensavers were used to encourage registration and participation, incorporating call-to-action messages such as “How big is your carbon footprint?Discover your impact on our planet and get FutureFit.”
Following a two-week pre-launch to drive registrations and set up FutureFit teams, Spark’s FutureFit launch covered four action-themed weeks of fun activities and challenges, with competitions and prizes. The selected weekly themes were transport; energy; food and diet; and reduce and reuse. The prizes included the exclusive use of two BMW i3 Series electric cars for a month, tickets to events at Spark Arena, and hotel stays around the country.
“The planning phase took around six weeks and included liaising with our suppliers and partners to secure prizes, designing collateral that would be used during the launch campaign, engaging our executive team and people leaders, and repurposing the provided Auckland Council comms for Spark’s audience,” explains Tom. “We found the collateral provided by FutureFit to be invaluable for our launch and the [FutureFit] reporting dashboard was great and easy to use.”
At the end of the launch period, internal communications were used to share and celebrate the collective achievements, including the total amount of carbon reductions achieved by staff. This was also an opportunity to launch the new ‘Sustainable Spark’ quarterly newsletter and further build on corporate sustainability efforts. While Covid-19 has created challenges for staff engagement post-launch, there are plans for a campaign to rebuild momentum when teams are back in the office again.
“The FutureFit tool generated a lot of debate among our people through our internal channels, which was a great way to get our people engaged and interested in sustainability and climate change,” says Tom.