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National campaigns to boost your staff engagement in 2021

Taking part in these national awareness days is a great way to get your colleagues engaged with saving energy


You can do a lot to reduce your organisation’s energy costs by changing equipment and processes. However, to bring about and maximise improvements for lasting benefit, it’s vital to get your colleagues on board with your energy efficiency initiatives.

Encouraging your staff to understand and support the energy efficiency changes you want to introduce into the workplace is key.

Whether it is as simple as asking them to turn off lights when a room is unoccupied or to switch off and unplug their computer when they finish for the day, it is important they share your goals and are keen to help. We have a number of excellent resources available in our staff engagement toolkit that will help you train staff and run professional campaigns.

There are also many national campaigns that you could take part in to boost your efforts.

We have rounded up a number of dates you can add to your diary – covering a whole host of environmental themes. There are campaigns you could take part in as a business. And there are also lots designed to engage and educate people when they are at home or in the community.

January

Kick-off the new year by making a pledge to try a plant-based diet for the month of Veganuary. Their website contains recipes and eating guides to help you plan your menu – and if four weeks seems a big stretch, why not try it for a few days each week?

February

22 February-7 March is Fairtrade Fortnight when organisations highlight where our food and clothing come from and help to promote a fairer global economy.

March

A new addition to the calendar for 2021 is Food Waste Action Week which will take place from 1-7 March. The intention is to ‘wake the nation up to the environmental consequences of wasting food’.

18 March is Global Recycling Day, where the focus, not surprisingly, is supporting the planet by recycling. Last year the theme was #RecyclingHeroes.

22 March is World Water Day, an annual date declared by the UN in 1993. The theme for 2021 is expected to be ‘Valuing Water’.

27 March, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (local time, whatever time zone you are in) will be Earth Hour, which was started in Sydney by WWF in 2007. Around the world, people unite by switching off their lights for one hour to show support for our planet.

The Great British Spring Clean is traditionally held in March and April, although it was moved to September last year as the result of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is a great way to unite communities to help clean up where they live.

April

22 April marks Earth Day, an annual event started in 1970 that is celebrated around the world, showing support for protecting the environment. The website is full of ideas on how to mark the day.  

May

No Mow May was a new introduction to the calendar last year. While it may sound like an excuse for reluctant gardeners, organisers Plantlife say that leaving the mower in the shed for a month results in nectar for ten times more bees.

2-8 May is International Compost Awareness Week, which always falls in the first full week of the month. It started in Canada in 1995 and has now spread around the world. The theme for this year is Grow, Eat, COMPOST, Repeat.

Walk to School Week will be back to its traditional May spot on the calendar after having to be moved last year with schools being closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The date for your diary is 17-21 May. Resources can be found on the website for a week that promotes healthy minds and bodies for youngsters and encourages them to connect with the natural world.

10-16 May is the week to ditch the meat for National Vegetarian Week. Stephen Fry, Chris Packham and Joanna Lumley are among the celebrities who support this week. Go to their website for a selection of veggie recipes.

20 May is World Bee Day and is one of a number of awareness days that focus on the importance of the humble bee and the important role it plays in bringing food to our table. Ideas for marking the day are on their website.

June

5 June is World Environment Day which has been on the calendar since 1974. The 2020 theme was biodiversity. Each year a different country is selected as the host nation. Last year it was Colombia in partnership with Germany.  

5-13 June is the week to get on your bikes for Bike Week. Leave the car at home and reduce your carbon emissions by using two wheels instead of four. A great opportunity for the family to spend active time together.

8 June is the day we celebrate World Oceans Day and the website has some cool posters to download to promote awareness of the need for a healthier ocean.

Plastic-free Beauty Day was celebrated on June 17 last year. It raises awareness of the amount of plastic that is used by the beauty industry that ends up either in landfill or the sea. Go to the website to sign the pledge.

18 June is the day adopted by the UN as Sustainable Gastronomy Day. Do you know where the meal on your plate has come from? Today is the day to reflect. Plenty of food for thought.

International Clean Air Day was moved from its usual June date to October last year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations. Air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths each year in the UK. Today is the day to improve public understanding and take action to tackle the issue.

National Refill Day aims to get the UK public to stop bottling it when it comes to our drinking water. The organisers want to help create a new social norm for refilling on the go – saving us money, keeping us hydrated and preventing millions of single-use plastic bottles at source. The June 2020 National Refill Day was postponed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

July

Plastic Free July is a global month of action to encourage everyone to refuse single-use plastics in order to reduce the plastic pollution in our oceans and landfills. Sign up on the website for a month of tips and advice.

3 July is International Plastic Bag Free Day, so if you’re daunted by a plastic-free month, why not start small and pledge not to use a single-use plastic bag today? Here are some interesting facts to consider – the average plastic bag is used for 25 minutes, yet it takes between 100 to 500 years to disintegrate.

10 July is another opportunity for us to celebrate the bee with Don’t Step on a Bee Day. They might be small but they have a mighty role to play in our ecosystem. So, take care where you’re walking.

28 July marks World Nature Conservation Day when we are encouraged to do anything from planting trees and growing vegetables to recycling and turning off appliances. In other words, steps that will help in any small way to protect our planet.

August

In 2020 Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 22, almost a month later than in 2019, due in no small part to the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions imposed around the world. It marks the day when we have effectively used up nature’s budget. We cannot predict if Earth Overshoot Day will occur in August this year – but we will keep our fingers crossed it happens after the 22nd.

5 August is another day to saddle up and take to two wheels for Cycle to Work Day. Not only will you be helping to save the planet, you’ll get a good workout and probably beat the traffic.

9-15 August should see you out working the soil to mark National Allotments Week. First started in 2002, the week highlights the benefits of growing your own fruit and veg, as well as eating healthily and uniting communities. Think about those food miles you’ll be cutting out by picking your own peas.

September

This is the month for Organic September – well, it wouldn’t make sense to hold it in any other month. According to the Organic Soil Association’s website, if Europe’s farmland all followed organic principles, agricultural emissions could drop by 40% by 2050. There is more interesting reading to encourage you to think about the food you eat through the month.

Zero Waste Week takes place from 6-10 September. From its small beginnings in 2008, the campaign has now grown to unite more than 56 million people across the globe, all focused on reducing waste and building a more environmentally sustainable future. Included on the website are recipes with ideas on how to use your leftovers rather than discarding them in the bin.

The Great British Beach Clean was from 18-25 September in 2020. This is an event that has been happening annually for 27 years. More than 300 tonnes of litter have been picked up from beaches around the Great Britain in that time, helping to lower ocean pollution.

World Clean-up Day fell on September 19 last year when millions of people across 180 countries united to help clear up rubbish from beaches, rivers, streets. There was even a worldwide challenge to pick up one billion cigarette butts.

21 September is Zero Emissions Day. The concept is that for one day, we give the planet a day off by not burning any fossil fuels.

22 September is World Car Free Day. Ditch the motor for the day and enjoy walking streets without all the vehicle emissions.

Recycle Week was held in the last full week of the month last year and is likely to take a similar slot in this year’s calendar. The premise of the week is clear – to reduce waste by recycling. Most of us have recycling bins from our local authority, so it should be on everyone’s radar, but the message is: we can still do better.

October

This month is Unblocktober, a national campaign and awareness month to encourage the great British public to consider the health of our drains, sewers, rivers and seas. We all know about icebergs, but this campaign turns the focus to fatbergs. It’s a time to think about what we pour down our sinks or flush down our toilets.

October is also International Walk to School Month. A poll on their website says children who walk to school are more engaged with their streets and aware of the impact of cars than those who don’t. It’s also healthier for them and their parents.

1 October marks World Vegetarian Day. Even if you are a committed meat-eater, why not give it up just for one day? Learn about the benefits and how you can support the day on their website.

 

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