Making sustainability accessible to everyone
“Lights out!” It all started with this simple request. In 2015, some employees at Interzero first got together to form a team of Sustainability Ambassadors, with the aim of making day-to-day work more environmentally friendly. Saving energy was the first topic tackled. As office lighting was occasionally left on even when everyone was already at home, our new Sustainability Ambassadors had the idea of posting up stickers on light switches with a quick reminder to turn them off when not in use. Apart from the text, these stickers also featured an outstretched green hand – the first campaign was started and did indeed help to save electricity.
Credit for cyclists
Since 2022, Antonia Schüttler and Katharina Müller have headed up the Sustainability Ambassadors at Interzero, whose ranks have now swelled to no less than 20 people, which requires a little more organisation than before. “You don’t need to be a Sustainability Ambassador yourself to make a difference”, Katharina Müller explains. “We receive a steady stream of suggestions for changes to make our day-to-day work at Interzero more eco-friendly. Our team then investigates these ideas for feasibility and also talks to company management – because sometimes we’ll need a budget.”
The Ambassadors themselves naturally also think up new approaches for saving resources and motivating employees to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. “Our aim is to promote an atmosphere of well-being rather than finger-wagging. We have started several campaigns that make use of incentive systems – which makes joining in all the more fun”, Müller continues. One example she mentions is the voucher campaign: anyone who leaves the car at home and cycles to work receives a food voucher after completing their fifth commute. “This is really popular!”
Keeping it creative
To ensure that the environmentally friendly twowheelers remain roadworthy, the “bike doctor” pays a visit to the company’s Cologne premises in spring every year to give employees’ cycles a tune-up. Interzero also has a bike leasing programme to encourage staff to make the switch.
These are both ideas implemented by the Sustainability Ambassadors, who keep coming up with new schemes or modifications to ongoing campaigns. “We’re not trying to change Interzero’s business model”, clarifies Antonia Schüttler. “Instead, we’re looking for the most creative ways to promote sustainability with the aim of inspiring as many employees as possible.” A shared sustainability target also strengthens team spirit, Schüttler explains. After eight years, the sheer variety of ideas speaks for itself: Interzero has its own beehive, goes on litter-picking walks, holds cycling challenges, and organises donations for children in need and disadvantaged families. At the moment, the team is developing car-sharing and ride-sharing programmes for their co-workers. With some employees unable to cycle to work, the aim is to at least reduce the number of car trips.
A few “Lights out!” stickers can still be found on office doors at Interzero in Cologne and the green hand has become the official logo, plus the slogan “Getting a grip on sustainability – the future in our hands”.
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