PPC 2021: Plastic Waste Reduction and Health and Wellbeing take center stage in this year’s employee engagement program

PPC 2021: Plastic Waste Reduction and Health and Wellbeing take center stage in this year’s employee engagement program

Congratulations to this year’s Champion: City of Vaughan

After three months of exciting competition centered around taking environmental action both at work and at home, the 2021 People Power Challenge ended on October 31. The competition focused on Plastic Waste Reduction and Health & Wellbeing. This year’s Challenge introduced opportunities for participants to submit ideas for environmental and social improvements they would like to see implemented in their workplaces, and to share video pledges on their commitments to environmental and social changes they planned to implement in their own lives.

The People Power Challenge is Partners in Project Green’s turn-key employee engagement program, aiming to drive sustainability action and engage employees, wherever they are working. Through educational webinars, action-oriented events and sustainability activities for the home and workplace, participants of this year’s People Power Challenge were able to build their environmental knowledge and make tangible changes. For the second time since its inception, each of the actions listed as part the People Power Challenge were linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Participant Highlights

This year, the University of Toronto – Mississauga, City of Mississauga, City of Vaughan and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority completed 852 actions linked to Health & Wellbeing and Plastic Waste Reduction both at home and at work. Throughout the Challenge, participating organizations attended events such as PPG’s Tree Planting and Textile Collection Drive in support of Diabetes Canada, hosted virtual watch parties with their team members on educational videos on microplastics and milkweed, and took courses to increase their knowledge on Canada’s Indigenous history, gender-based analysis, and how to improve their own financial literacy.

2021 People Power Challenge Champion: City of Vaughan

The City of Vaughan team led the competing organizations in the number of suggestions submitted to their champion regarding environmental and social improvements in the workplace. These suggestions ranged from working with local non-profits to introduce workshops for city staff on issues such as biodiversity and restoration, providing discounts for city staff taking public transportation to work, and transitioning city-owned vehicles to fully electric vehicles.

Other popular actions completed by City of Vaughan staff include discovering the Indigenous land on which they live and work (by using resources such as native-land.ca), purchasing local and seasonal foods, and using human powered transportation (such as walking or riding their bikes) instead of driving their vehicles.

Congratulations to the City of Vaughan team for winning this year’s People Power Challenge!

City of Mississauga

The City of Mississauga is a long-time participant in the People Power Challenge and a past Champion, having won the Challenge in 2019. This year, many of City of Mississauga’s staff focused their efforts on sustainability at home, especially actions within the Health & Wellbeing category. The most popular actions completed included learning about Canadian’s Indigenous history, going on hikes in local parks, and improving their own financial literacy. City staff in from the Parks, Forestry and Environment Division also submitted personal pledges as part of their commitment to taking environmental action!

Another exciting action coming from The City was the launch of a personal carbon footprint calculator called Project Neutral in Mississauga, which gives individuals an opportunity to measure their carbon footprint, see their own climate impact, and then choose a personalized action to start having a positive impact.

University of Toronto – Mississauga

Many of the University of Toronto – Mississauga (UTM) submissions this year focused on activities related to sustainability at work. The organization shared their commitment to taking climate action by circulating policies to their staff such as their Low-Carbon Action Plan, Sustainability Strategic Plan, and Sustainable Procurement Policy. The University also shared new and exciting commitments to reduce plastic waste produced on campus by promising to end the sale of plastic water bottles on campus (once COVID-19 restrictions ease) and introducing a new reusable container program for students on campus.

UTM also has multiple energy audits currently underway on campus and is working on a salt program for ice removal during the winter months.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

This year, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) staff focused much of their efforts on actions related to Health & Wellbeing. TRCA staff organized weekly Zumba sessions throughout the duration of the Challenge and participated in exciting activities such as rock climbing and dance classes.

TRCA staff also focused on reducing their carbon emissions. Many staff participated in an effort to stop idling when running quick errands or picking up young children from school, and in the summer months TRCA also installed new EV charging stations at one of their offices.

As the managing organization, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) joins the Challenge as a non-scoring participant. Staff involved in the management of the Challenge do not participate.

Secure Your Spot for PPC 2022 Today!

The 2022 People Power Challenge will continue to focus on environmental and social action related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, include peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and invite participants to attend Days of Action which will focus on different environmental and social themes. Details regarding the 2022 Challenge will be shared in the coming months!

To learn more and sign up for the 2022 Challenge, please contact Saba Khan, PPG’s Events Coordinator at victoria.kring@trca.ca.

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Visit the links below to read more about PPG’s 2021 accomplishments across our performance areas: