Top 10 Tips For Running A Successful Climate Challenge.
Starting a climate challenge can be intimidating. It’s a new tool, and you’re probably introducing it to your organisation for the first time. There’s also a lot of new ideas you have to get across such as goal identification, focus definition and more.
These elements may sound complex but with a little bit of pre-challenge preparation you can make it a breeze to hold your own contest.
Below you will find 10 cool tips you can use to make a climate challenge run smooth and sweet. Hopefully they will help you to run the best challenge ever to inspire your friends and colleagues, employees or customers to become real climate heroes.
1. Don’t Go Solo
A huge part of the Ducky vision is the belief that solving global warming isn’t up to just one person alone. So it makes sense to get other people to help you when setting up a challenge.
Find a few like-minded people who can help you prepare and set up a goal to encourage people to join the challenge. Remember the overall aim is to inspire as many people as possible to log and reduce their daily carbon emissions for at least two weeks.
What might this project group look like?
- Approx. 3-5 people.
- Approach colleagues who work in marketing, PR, CSR, HR and Finance, because these are the folk who will probably make the most use of the challenge data in their jobs.
- Find people who are already climate aware. The more passionate the better.
- Are they reliable? Will they keep pushing and motivating the participants throughout the challenge? You need real ambassadors for change, even if they don’t know it yet.
Following these four steps should give you an eager passionate team who will share the load of promoting and explaining your challenge, allowing you to focus on the nuts and bolts of the roll-out. Limiting the group to just 5 people makes the decision-making process smoother and less problematic.
2. Manage Expectations
A climate challenge will never be successful until you’ve defined what ‘success’ means to you, your company, school or organization. Unless you know what value you want out of the challenge, neither will your audience. Here are some possible questions to help you figure out what’s right for your climate challenge:
- What is the value you want your audience to be left with after the challenge?
- What achievements would you like to boast about post-challenge?
- In what way should the challenge enhance your overall sustainability strategy?
Here are some ideas for your post-challenge wins: it comes to post-challenge value, here are some ideas:
- Each participant’s improved awareness of their individual climate impact.
- Communication of a specific part of your organisation’s sustainability strategy (e.g. transport emissions).
- Delivery of inspiring stories about the real reduction in emissions due to the challenge.
- Delivery of meaningful data you can use to shape your future sustainability policy and goals.
Establishing crystal clear expectations before you start will ensure that everyone involved gets the maximum benefit from your challenge.
3. Define The Climate Goal
Reducing our daily carbon emissions by modest lifestyle changes is one of the most important things we as individuals can do to reduce the impact of climate change. The collective benefit of many people competing to reduce their CO2, easily translates into significant emission reductions for a company, school or organisation.
By connecting big goals to small actions, the challenge brings the reality of our carbon footprint much closer home to each participant.
Don’t be scared of reaching for a bold emissions reduction goal. Consider also adding in a meaningful element. For example you could specify that if your challenge meets its emissions goal, then the organisation will match the reduction by buying Gold Standard climate quotas, effectively doubling the result.
This is a great way to have a big impact on your strategic sustainability goals, and also inspire people inside and outside your organisation with what’s possible.
4. Embrace Input
It’s very important to stay open to input once the challenge is underway. This input can come from anyone and be anything. This open door attitude is based on the concept that all ideas matter to an organisation, no matter where they come from.
Ideas reflect engagement and should therefore be treated with the respect they deserve, even if ultimately they lead nowhere or are not implemented.
I was told a story the other day about a company that held an anonymous internal competition to write the best Google Ad. Anyone from the company could participate. In the end the suggestion they chose was written by the office manager.
A climate challenge is bound to throw up ideas and conversations from the participants and everyone involved. Cherish them as opportunities to learn and improve. Not just about the challenge, but about your organisation, your sustainability strategy, even the canteen.
5. Use The Mobile Advantage
Ducky is a progressive web-app, and not just for desktop computers. Even though the initiative to run a climate challenge may originate from your campus or work place, it’s important to recognize that our climate impact does not keep office hours.
For example, how you get to and from work or college still impacts on your organisation’s emissions numbers.
Choosing to bike, walk or take the bus can reduce jams, free up parking spaces and potentially cut costs dramatically for both you and your organisation. So make use of the Ducky challenge wherever you are using your smartphone or tablet. Keep track of your impact any time, any place.
6. Make It Fun And Appealing
A climate challenge is not a part of anyone’s job description yet, so it shouldn’t be forced on the participants. There might be those who don’t agree with the climate story, or even oppose it. If Ducky is turned into a mandatory chore, then you risk losing engagement, even from those who were initially interested.
Try to make it a fun event your colleagues won’t want to miss out on. Show them the benefits of joining in: helping our planet, learning interesting new facts, competing for fun or showing off their climate skills. The list is endless.
7. Use The Power Of Video
Ambassador clips are a great little hack. These video clips don’t have to be long or fancy. They just need to be honest and personal. Think Kickstarter Lite. The key thing is to select someone who is good in front of a camera, and comes across as authentic.
The Ambassador should be linked either to your company or the people participating. The goal of the video clip is to enthuse people about the challenge, and show why they should support it.
Here are two questions to ask:
- Do you have any possible ambassadors already in your organisation?
- Who would deliver the best video? Does it need the gravity of a manager or the camera-friendly attitude of someone else you know?
When it comes time to shoot, give them a couple of questions to build their answers on.
For example – Why do you care about sustainability personally? What do you want to say to your colleagues who are starting this climate challenge? Video them with your smartphone camera, and do a simple edit and trim in an app like Quick. There’s no need to make it longer than 30 secs to a minute tops.
You can use this clip to create engagement at the kick-off event or during the challenge. If you can use your organisation’s internal communication platforms so much the better (with permission of course).
Here are 2 examples from previous challenges:
- Kristin Halvorsen, Director of Center for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo (CICERO).
- Sven Tore Løksild, County mayor, Telemark municipality.
8. Use Live Screens
Ducky is built around immediate feedback. A golden rule for great climate communication is to keep it real-time. Move away from making your climate communication about what’s going to happen in the future and set it ‘right here, right now‘ for maximum impact.
Live screens are a key part of the Ducky climate challenge package. You can use these live updates to display leaderboard results as they happen. It’s a great way to encourage engagement and friendly rivalry. Hook your phones or laptops up to suitable digital TVs in the dining or other public areas to really bring the challenge alive. During the two weeks you can do a full-blown coup d’etat, making your organisation focus entirely on climate action.
Select these locations carefully. Find out where people in your organisation hang out most and install the screens there. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where the impact happens. If you do this right, you’ll make climate the main talking point in your organisation, and you may even unveil some hidden climate heroes and heroines too.
9. Host A Kick-Off Event
A race without a starting pistol would instantly fall flat. The same applies to a challenge. Create as much buzz around your start date as you can. Set a date and time for an official kick off event, invite anyone who’s interested and keep the speeches sharp and concise.
If you’ve got the resources, video tape the event for sharing later. Find the most gung-ho inspiring speaker you can find to get everyone fired up and enthusiastic. Try and get some of the senior members of your organisation to attend, even if they just stand there looking bemused but supportive.
Make the kick-off event your own. It can be a short presentation, a segment during a Monday meeting or hosted as a team-building workshop. Whatever makes the most sense to your organisation.
Remember to include your whole group of project helpers (and Ambassadors?) in the event, after all they’re going to be the ‘face’ of the challenge while it runs.
10. Everyone Can Be A Winner!
A climate challenge is very much what you make it. Your job is to inspire people who may never have heard of CO2 emissions to become engaged in the subject while having fun. Climate enthusiasts, climate doubters and those who have simply ignored the subject should now be fired up to learn something new.
If you’re already a climate hero, perhaps doing even more than the climate activities listed in the challenge, then we salute you! There’s nothing better than meeting people whose heart and passion goes beyond just logging in every day for two weeks. But enthusiasts have an even greater role to play in our sustainability future.
The enthusiasm you bring to the climate challenge can have a massively positive impact on both your team and opponents. This is your time to shine and show off your skills. And don’t forget to inspire others to do more by sharing your personal sustainability hacks. This way, you can truly become a role model worthy of the respect and admiration of your peers.
Regardless of how you decide to roll-out your climate challenge, we hope you enjoy learning something new, inspiring each other and testing out new climate activities together with your team mates. From this moment on, you are truly a “Climate Hero”.