Make An Impact

How we engaged employees, strengthened community ties, and made the world a little greener

Nearly 2,000 Alcoa employees, their families, and members of their communities learned how to save energy, save money, and help the environment at green fairs over the past three months.

These fairs, organized by the C2ES Make an Impact program in partnership with Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation, are an example of an evolving approach to corporate social responsibility and employee engagement.

Building awareness of environmental challenges is important, but it isn’t enough. A new approach, bringing together several engagement strategies, aims to build a work force that is both knowledgeable and active in local organizations. The goal is to create stronger relationships among a company, its employees, and community stakeholders, a win-win-win.

Employees, community members and even two mayors came to Alcoa Green Fairs to meet with local businesses and groups providing sustainability solutions. The events took place on weekends or during work breaks in Fullerton and Torrance, Calif.; Hampton, Va.; and Warrick, Ind. Participants could ask questions and get tips about recycling, saving energy and water, and making choices to promote sustainability.

Hands-on activities made it fun. For example, at each fair, we challenged people to see how much physical energy is needed to turn a hand crank (pictured at left) and produce enough power to light an old-fashioned incandescent bulb compared with a modern, efficient compact fluorescent bulb, which requires 75 percent less energy.

The team from Virginia Naturally challenged Hampton fair-goers to guess how long it takes for different types of litter to decompose, driving home the importance of recycling. California employees answered trivia questions from Heal the Bay about storm water management and water conservation.

The fairs informed employees and strengthened Alcoa’s connections to its local communities. More than 56 organizations participated, paving the way for future partnerships and employee volunteer opportunities that will improve the sustainability of each community.

This approach to employee engagement seems natural. Although web-based tools, like our recently updated Make an Impact Carbon Calculator, are becoming more popular for their interactivity and convenience, they may not reach all employees, especially those who don’t spend a lot of time at work in front of a computer. That’s why Make an Impact complements these tools with activities like green fairs, where we can interact one-on-one and approach topics like climate action and energy efficiency from an individual, family, and community perspective.

Companies are increasingly looking to their employees to help them achieve their sustainability and corporate responsibility goals. Creating the right culture – through training, incentives, and social and educational events like green fairs – is essential. Equally important is empowering all employees, not just the company’s environment, health, and safety teams, to help build that culture.

The lessons learned and connections made at this year’s Alcoa green fairs can help employees, community groups, and company leaders all take steps toward a more sustainable future.

 

Tenants and landlords can both save with energy efficiency upgrades

Talk about a win-win. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and government-backed mortgage provider Freddie Mac recently agreed on a plan that will cut carbon emissions and at the same time make rental housing more affordable.

The plan will make it easier and cheaper for property owners to get loans for energy efficiency upgrades. This is a big deal because studies estimate that increasing the efficiency of U.S. multifamily rental properties could deliver as much as $9 billion in energy savings by 2020. It could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 million metric tons – the equivalent of taking 7.2 million cars off the road or shutting down 10 coal-fired power plants. 

With studies showing that rental properties are generally less efficient per square foot than owner-occupied homes, helping renters and their landlords save energy (and money) is a key step toward reducing overall U.S. energy use. 

The EPA-Freddie Mac initiative, part of the president’s Climate Action Plan, also will make available more data on energy and water use in multifamily properties. Tenants will better understand the energy costs of living in a particular home, letting them make more informed decisions. And owners will have a new incentive to make their properties more efficient, and therefore more appealing to potential renters. Additionally, property owners and tenants alike will be able to see how efficient their properties are compared to others.

EPA and Freddie Mac aren’t the only ones working to address this challenge. C2ES, through the Make an Impact program, has launched a web-based effort to reach out to renters with customized energy efficiency information. (Read about it in this blog.)  

Schools’ Challenge provides lasting lessons

Teaching students how to save energy and help the environment provides lessons that can last a lifetime. That’s the biggest takeaway of our third annual Change Our 2morrow (CO2) Schools’ Challenge.

The 2013 Schools’ Challenge, an initiative of Alcoa Foundation and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ Make an Impact program, took place last month in seven schools across five states. Thousands of middle school students, their teachers, families and community members participated in interactive lessons, completed an energy-saving pledge list, and calculated their carbon footprint as part of the month-long program. Collectively, 10,433 people committed to take actions in their daily lives that will save more than 21 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equivalent to taking 2,000 cars off the road for one year.

Super Bowl XLVII: Playing Offense on Clean Energy

An estimated 111 million people across the United States watched at least part of last year's Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. It was the most-watched event in U.S. TV history.

For those of us seeking to engage the public in the work of building a clean-energy future, sporting events offer a unique opportunity to reach the public. This year, for example, C2ES has teamed up with Entergy Corporation and the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee to launch a fun, environment-themed website and contest for NFL fans.

Super Bowl Fans Challenged to Geaux Green

Press Release

December 11, 2012

Contact: Amy Morsch, morscha@c2es.org        

Super Bowl fans challenged to Geaux Green!

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and Entergy Corporation are teaming up with the 2013 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee to make the festivities in the Big Easy as environmentally friendly as possible. A new Geaux Green website and contest developed by C2ES engages fans in a friendly competition to see which NFL city has the most eco-friendly fan base.  One lucky fan and a guest will win tickets to the Super Bowl.

“The Geaux Green game provides a unique opportunity to reach millions of people and show them how individual actions can make a big impact on the environment,” said Katie Mandes, vice president for community engagement at C2ES and director of Make an Impact.

Participants in the Geaux (pronounced Go) Green game pick their favorite NFL city, then select “green” commitments they want to make from a list of actions to reduce their energy use and environmental impact. The initiative will track results to show which NFL city has the most eco-friendly fan base. Everyone who completes the pledge will be entered into a Jan. 10th drawing for two tickets to the Super Bowl, roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations, compliments of the Host Committee.

“The 2013 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee is committed to making Super Bowl XLVII a fantastic experience for fans as well as an event that provides long-term benefits for the community and the environment,” said Jay Cicero, executive director of the Host Committee. “The Geaux Green game was developed for the Host Committee by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) in partnership with Entergy Corporation as one of many first-of-its kind initiatives the Host Committee’s Environmental Subcommittee will be implementing to “green” the Super Bowl visitor experience.”

“Minimizing the environmental footprint has been a growing focus for all Super Bowl host cities,” said Patty Riddlebarger, director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Entergy Corporation and chair of the Environmental Subcommittee.  “The Geaux Green website expands the focus to include raising awareness among fans about the positive impact they can have on the environment through energy conservation. The Host Committee Geaux Green website is a virtual playbook of information, resources and games highlighting simple steps football fans can take to save energy and reduce emissions.”

For more information:

Visit the Geaux Green website at neworleans-superbowl.com/geauxgreen

Visit the Super Bowl Host Committee website at nolasuperbowl.com

Twitter: follow @tweetanimpact and #geauxgreen for game updates

Facebook: Like us at www.facebook.com/geauxgreen.mai

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About Make an Impact: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has partnered with Entergy to bring the Make an Impact program to Entergy communities. Make an Impact is a unique, community-focused project aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing action on climate change. It provides tools and resources for Entergy employees, customers, their families and the local community to understand and manage their individual carbon footprint.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

About Entergy: Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.

9 tips for a greener holiday

As we plunge into the holiday shopping season, take a minute to think about the things you can do to make searching for the perfect gift a little friendlier on the planet (and your wallet).

Here are nine ideas for making the holiday season a little greener and less stressful. Try one. And get more information on how you can save energy and help the planet at http://makeanimpact.c2es.org/

Help Make an Impact Win a CLASSY Award

“All kids growing up in this generation know how they’re impacting the environment. We’re teaching today’s kids about recycling and being responsible.”
- Shawn Kerr, eighth-grade science teacher at Alcoa Middle School in Alcoa, TN.

Fifteen schools participated in the Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (MAI CO2) schools’ challenge, an educational energy conservation competition led by the Center’s Make an Impact (MAI) initiative in partnership with Alcoa. Mr. Kerr’s words sum up the program’s outcome, in which Make an Impact, a corporate employee and community engagement program, expanded the reach of its energy efficiency message to middle and high schools in five Alcoa communities across four states this spring.

Alcoa Middle School principle Jim Kirk holds up the $1,000 check that the school won for being named a regional runner-up in the MAI: CO2 schools’ challenge.

We had high hopes for the MAI CO2 campaign, but our success at engaging a younger audience in acting on energy efficiency far exceeded our expectations. In one month, we reached more than 8,000 students/parents/teachers and motivated them to calculate their carbon footprint with the Make an Impact calculator. The program wasn’t just about students realizing their impact on the earth; we also tried to teach and empower these young individuals to make a difference – by saving energy, money, and the planet. Between March 14 and April 11, participants identified more than 14.4 million pounds of potential carbon savings and an estimated $1.75 million in energy savings.

Schools Win $10,000 in Grants as More than 8,000 Students Find Over 14 Million Pounds of Potential Carbon Savings

Press Release
April 21, 2011

Contact: Diana Burkett, 703-516-4146
 

Schools Win $10,000 in Grants as More than 8,000 Students Find Over 14 Million Pounds of Potential Carbon Savings

Alcoa Foundation & the Pew Center on Global Climate Change encourage youth to become environmental ambassadors through Make an Impact Program
 

Washington, DC – Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that seven schools in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia have won a total of $10,000 after competing in a month-long educational energy conservation competition: Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2). Participants from 15 competing schools identified more than 14,400,000 pounds of potential carbon savings and an estimated $1,750,000 in energy savings.

Paul F. Boston Middle School in La Porte, IN was named the grand prize winner and will receive a $5,000 grant and 850 recycling bins for engaging more than 1,160 students, teachers and families in completing the Make an Impact carbon calculator. Regional runner-up schools will receive $1,000 grants and include: MC2 Stem High School in Cleveland, OH; Hunter B. Andrews Middle School in Hampton, VA; Alcoa Middle School in Alcoa, TN; and Castle North Middle School in Warrick, IN. Honorable mentions and $500 grants were awarded to Kesling Middle School in LaPorte, IN and Castle South Middle School in Warrick, IN.

“The Change Our 2morrow challenge engaged more than 8,000 students, parents and community members in learning how to use energy more efficiently,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “We are excited that so many individuals share Alcoa’s commitment to conservation and are proud to help inspire the next generation of environmental ambassadors.”

The Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) challenge is part of a new $7 million Alcoa Foundation investment to address regional environmental challenges, improve energy efficiency and enhance global reforestation projects. The investment is aligned with Alcoa Foundation’s sustainability focus: “Reduce, Recycle, Replenish.”

“Students today are plugged in like never before – through computers, cell phones, iPads, and video games – so it makes sense to encourage smart energy choices at an early age,” said Katie Mandes, Vice President of Communications and Director of the Make an Impact program. “Through this challenge we wanted to build awareness of the importance of energy efficiency, and the enthusiastic response to the program showed us that students and communities have an important role to play in our energy future.”

# # #
 

ABOUT ALCOA FOUNDATION
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US $420 million. In addition to addressing local needs in communities where Alcoa operates, Alcoa Foundation is focused on promoting environmental stewardship, enabling economic and social sustainability, and preparing tomorrow’s leaders through education and learning. Alcoa Foundation was founded more than 50 years ago and has invested more than US $515 million since 1952. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com/foundation.

ABOUT MAKE AN IMPACT
The Make an Impact program, developed by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, helps Alcoa employees, their families and surrounding communities reduce energy use, manage their carbon footprint and become an active part of the solution to climate change. The program features:

  • A custom-built carbon calculator with individual carbon footprint analysis.
  • A dynamic website with tips, tools and resources on how to reduce energy bills and live more sustainably.
  • A comprehensive outreach program of educational workshops and hands-on activities to support local action.

The Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) program promotes energy efficiency through a fun and engaging online competition, which features educational resources about energy conservation and an interactive carbon calculator. To find out more about Make an Impact, how your company or organization can sign on or to measure your own carbon footprint, visit www.alcoa.com/makeanimpact

ABOUT THE PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. More information can be found at www.c2es.org.

Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change Launch School-Based Carbon Footprint Challenge

Press Release
March 14, 2011

Contact: Diana Burkett, 703-516-4146

 

Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change Launch School-Based Carbon Footprint Challenge
More than 8,000 students to participate in the Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) challenge with chance to win $5,000 grant

 

Washington, D.C. – Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change today announced an exciting new green education partnership to teach students how their daily actions can reduce harmful emissions and improve the environment.

Set to run from March 14 to April 11, Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) is an educational energy conservation challenge among 8,000 students at 15 schools near Alcoa locations in Cleveland, OH, Hampton, VA, Knoxville, TN, and LaPorte and Warrick, IN. 

The challenge builds on the successful Make an Impact program that has engaged nearly 14,000 Alcoa employees at 18 Alcoa locations across the US, resulting in more than 4.6 million pounds of carbon savings and $3.7 million in energy savings. Alcoa isn’t the only corporation involved, both Bank of America and Entergy have realized an estimated 5 million pounds of carbon savings each from rolling out Make an Impact, proving the value of the program for a wide range of organizations.

“Even small changes in our daily lives can lead to significant improvements for the environment,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation.  “Through Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow, we want to educate young people about the potential they have to make a difference and inspire them to become green ambassadors in their communities - at school, at play and at home.”

The winning schools are determined based on the highest number of carbon calculator completions, and will receive a $5,000 grand prize grant or one of five $1,000 runner-up grants, earmarked for ‘green initiatives,’ from Alcoa Foundation. The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22.

“Knowing the impact of your energy choices is an important first step to change,” said Katie Mandes, Pew Center Vice President of Communications and Director of the Make an Impact program. “We hope this challenge will motivate young people and the entire community to learn how easy it can be to make a difference.”

The Make an Impact: CO2 challenge is part of a new $7 million Alcoa Foundation investment to address regional environmental challenges, improve energy efficiency and enhance global reforestation projects. The investment is aligned with Alcoa Foundation’s sustainability focus: ‘Reduce, Recycle, Replenish,’ and will engage employees and communities where Alcoa operates.

# # #

ABOUT ALCOA FOUNDATION
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US $420 million. In addition to addressing local needs in communities where Alcoa operates, Alcoa Foundation is focused on promoting environmental stewardship, enabling economic and social sustainability, and preparing tomorrow’s leaders through education and learning. Alcoa Foundation was founded more than 50 years ago and has invested more than US $515 million since 1952. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com/foundation.

ABOUT THE PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. More information can be found at www.c2es.org.

ABOUT MAKE AN IMPACT
The Make an Impact program, developed by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, helps Alcoa employees, their families and surrounding communities reduce energy use, manage their carbon footprint and become an active part of the solution to climate change. The program features:

  • A custom-built carbon calculator with individual carbon footprint analysis.
  • A dynamic website with tips, tools and resources on how to reduce energy bills and live more sustainably.
  • A comprehensive outreach program of educational workshops and hands-on activities to support local action.

The Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) program promotes energy efficiency through a fun and engaging online competition, which features educational resources about energy conservation and an interactive carbon calculator. To find out more about Make an Impact, how your company or organization can sign on or to measure your own carbon footprint, visit www.alcoa.com/makeanimpact

Start Your Energy Diet

Earth Day – it’s the perfect day to start your energy diet. It’s great to hug a tree, (in fact, that’s how you measure the carbon it sequesters) but for most of us, it’s even better to wrap our arms around that tangle of charger cords and pull the plug.  Reducing your energy consumption is the very best way to honor Mother Earth – and save money – this year and every year.

Since I am perpetually on a diet, let me share some of the best strategies for getting started:

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