Woolworths Eco Ambassador Program

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Case studies, Woolworths

WollworthsWoolworths Limited wanted to enhance its existing sustainability strategy by engaging employees (across its 3,000 sites) to undertake positive behaviours that would reduce the company’s environmental impact. The communication challenge presented to OgilvyEarth was significant – 85% of Woolworth’s 188,000 employees had limited or no access to company intranet or email. A strategy session was held with key stakeholders around the creation of peer influencers, since named ‘Eco Ambassadors’, that could champion ideas and help develop a greater awareness of the everyday actions that could be taken. The Eco Ambassadors were trained via a half-day workshop, where they were equipped with everything they needed to make a difference. During the workshops, participants were taken through the challenges and engaged to play a part in delivering solutions. By highlighting Woolworths’ commitment to sustainability, the workshops equipped participants with tools and action plans to support their roles as mentors. Ultimately, this enabled them to act not only as a source of information and inspiration for other employees, but as a conduit for company-wide communication.

  • Elissa Jones

    I think the Eco Ambassador programme is really encouraging in a company so large and such a provider of employment opportunities in the Australian Labour market. As a food supplier renowned in provision of fresh food and related practices, Woolworths good name is undoubtedly desirable to see associated with environment and its umbrella of related causes. We were rated the highest company in this field this year. As one of Woolworths Eco-Ambassadors I am proud to be able to support the cause of environment and customer relations in our stores. For every negative experience in relations there is an equally positive one to match. The real challenge will be packaging biodegradably and it’s a race against time. Customers rightly want and expect great customer service, and policy lies with governments to enforce, not cashiers. We need a law change about plastic bags. Also, does anyone think electric transport as used in the docks in the USA is the way to go? Balquon of Nevada, USA is a supplier to the portside authorities in a major american seaport (can be googled) and the trucks have been very popular. A guy from USA, who has been working in the Middle East in the oil industry told me this. Tomorrow he is addressing a conference of oil and gas companies about engineering and infrastructure solutions to save them money; and to market a large Australian project in the field outside brisbane metro but in region SEQld. I can’t help thinking: why is this country not recognising the need to listen to people we previously wouldn’t, talk, and hear, look at the problems, seek solutions. The energy demand problem can certainly be lessened by reductive practices, and this is cost saving but only to a point. My father, a civil engineer, taught me to question the easiest assumptions, and ask the difficult questions in life. And, looking at integrated energy solutions to avoid the dangers of pollution and forming relational strategies between CEOS to provide stability in an increasingly unstable world so resources can be put into the valued things humans need- clean and fresh water, food and soil to grow it in is no longer and option but is essential to human survival. The far reaching impact of climate change, climate refugees and the need for immediate carbon sequestration in agriculture, money for farmers and research into dry land agriculture must go ahead immediately if we are to export and sell food to meet increased supply. If salinity penetrates the aquifers in the Nile delta, and the sea levels rise around the world due to thermal expansion the fertile areas for growing grains and rice will be destroyed almost irreversibly. Our borders will be overcome with people in a disease weakened state. Papers on this subject written by Dr Joseph Needham of Cambridge university UK were posted previous to the debate as early as the sixties. My Grandfatehr Clive T Gates wrote papers with Needham on climate change and dry land agriculture, and he said people would need food to survive and that this problem would be the problem of my generation. It is not a matter of money but of humanity. Famines have affected every civilisation on earth within written record for thousands of years back, and never has the rate of acceleration of environmental damage as regards agricultural sustainability ever been more urgent. In the Eastern states this was clearly seen and was evidenced by dust storms where prevailing winds carried many many tonnes of valuable and irreplaceable topsoil (and money) away earlier this year. Kevin Rudd’s and Obama’s are certainly the governments to listen to ideas from thinkers in every field, and if we all think and work together, industry, private, governments and the little guys- together we can solve it! There has to be commitment to stabilise our might together to bring hope and it must happen NOW!
    Elissa Jones (B Arts (UQ)) Environmentalist, thinker.