Why people power is unstoppable

If there was one lesson from this year’s CitySwitch awards it's that people power is unstoppable.

New Signatory of the Year, Catholic Church Insurance, only established its Green Team in early 2018, but by July had reduced coffee cup waste by 70 per cent and overall waste by 20 per cent – and they did it with no dedicated budget.

Instead, Catholic Church Insurance focused on staff engagement and, as our judges noted, “connecting environmental outcomes to social ones”.

First State Super, which only signed up to CitySwitch two years ago, was named Signatory of the Year for companies with more than 2,000 sqm of space. In February, First State Super started its ‘War on Waste’ challenge and within just six weeks had reduced disposable coffee cup waste by 41 per cent and carbon emissions by more than 10,000 kilograms.

First State Super staff are engaged and environmental sustainability is understood as a “natural extension of our ‘members first’ philosophy,” sustainability officer Zoe Heath said in her acceptance speech.

We are proud of all our winners, but we’ve highlighted these because they demonstrate how momentum can gather – and quickly – when people come together to take positive action.

Both First State Super and Catholic Church Insurance employed a simple but successful strategy: cultivate champions to co-create grassroots campaigns and then engage everyone to make a positive environmental impact and enhance brand value.

And this is why CitySwitch is putting people at the centre of our sustainability story in 2019.

As a national program, CitySwitch represents nearly 900 offices, or 15% of Australia’s office space. That’s a million people and billions of dollars of spending power.

CitySwitch signatories are making massive savings year on year – and we eliminated 44,000 additional tonnes of CO2 in 2018 than we did just the year before. But we need scale, and that means bringing more people along with us.

This year, we launched the CitySwitch Hall of Fame to pay homage to our everyday heroes. We inducted 15 people in our inaugural year – all agents of change working collaboratively with their businesses and communities to do things a better, quicker and smarter.

Next year, our CitySwitch campaigns will focus on firing up more people as we accelerate the pace of change. We need to run harder than we’ve ever run before – because we have an enormous amount to do in a short time.

CitySwitch signatories have been reducing emissions, eliminating waste and taking climate action for 10 years. We know how to do this. Together, we are the movement. We are the power and we have the passion. And with that power and passion behind us, we are unstoppable.

Check all all of the 2018 CitySwitch Award winners



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