How to Plan an Employee Eco-Challenge

Making eco-friendly changes can be easier (and more fun) than you might think! Here at Merchology, we plan an annual Employee Eco-Challenge where we individually complete tasks to be a little kinder to our planet! Although we are doing these small tasks on our own, doing this challenge as a company makes our efforts even bigger! We love doing this challenge leading up to Earth Day, and wanted to share how you can bring an eco-challenge into your office and make it all your own!

1. Identify the Time Frame

We like to do a 50 day challenge, starting 50 days before Earth Day, which is April 22nd. If you'd like to do a shorter challenge, try a 21 day time frame! They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, so a 21 day challenge could be just long enough to make these eco-friendly changes stick around long after the challenge. If the time around Earth Day doesn't work for your company, don't worry! There is never a bad time to make eco-friendly changes!



2. Send Out Details and Sign-Up Instructions

A great aspect of an eco-challenge is that your team can be fully remote and still be able to run a smooth challenge! Whether your company is a mix of remote and in-office employees, this challenge will accommodate your current situation. Designate an employee to head the challenge if needed, as having a key person for information is always helpful for the participants. Have that person introduce the challenge in a company-wide email, and instructions on how to sign up. This introductory email can also include some background info on your company's "green" goals, your past efforts and changes you're hoping to make! Get your employees excited and motivated to make a difference!



3. Create the Challenge

Now, it's time to get creative! What are the tasks going to be? There are many ways you can approach creating your challenge. The main idea of the challenge is that each employee gets a point for each eco-friendly task that they complete. A chart is sent out to all participants outlining the tasks and the amount of points earned for its completion. At the end of each week, the participants will send their totals to the leader of the challenge for tracking. At the end of the challenge, announce the top 3 winners! Keep your tasks small and attainable to keep your team engaged and feeling successful. As stated before, these changes can be small, but when we all make them together, we really do make a difference! A few examples of some great tasks include using reusable grocery bags, cutting out single use plastics, riding your bike instead of taking the car, and cutting your showers short. Including tasks that are daily, routine actions is the best way to get your employees to make a "greener" choice consistently! Want to mix it up throughout the challenge? Try assigning each week a theme! One week can be food focused changes, and the next could be energy focused. The options are endless when it comes to areas that we can all be more eco-friendly. 



4. Design Participation Merch

There is no better incentive to participate in an activity than some custom swag! You can use this opportunity to shop all of the eco-friendly and sustainably-made brands that we offer. For example, gifting your participants a custom reusable tote bag at the start of the challenge can make the task of bringing them to the grocery store a little bit easier! Custom reusable drinkware is always a sustainable choice, and is something that will help with getting rid of those wasteful plastic water bottles. Here at Merchology, we even have a special Merchology Eco-Challenge logo that we use for the annual challenge merch!




5. Keep Your Employees Engaged

Whether you decide to plan a longer challenge or go with a shorter time frame, keeping your employees engaged and motivated is important! At the start of each week, kick it off by sending a motivational email! This can be the current leaders, some fresh new ideas for each task or even some fun facts about the planet (there's a lot!). This will not only remind your team to stay on track, but it can help remind them why doing a challenge like this is important in the first place. Motivate your team to keep making a difference!



6. Wrap the Challenge with an Awards Ceremony

When the time comes to tally up the totals and rank the participants, use it as an opportunity for a fun team event! A virtual awards ceremony can include talking about the challenge with eachother, your favorite tasks, and you can discuss how your company is going to make more eco-friendly choices even after the challenge ends. A group discussion is a great way to wrap up the fun. Although there will be winners for point totals, you can incorporate superlative type awards as well! Try to identify some popular trends throughout the challenge such as who really focused on cutting energy, who reduced the most waste, and who had the highest tallies in certain areas! This will incorporate more winners and overall make the challenge a bit more rewarding. For prize ideas, try reusable straws, a Zusa hat, a garden kit or a S'well food storage container!


Ready to get started? Download our Merchology Eco-Challenge chart here!

Next Steps:

  • Shop the Sustainable Collection for eco-friendly merch options
  • Check out more socially distant and virtual spring event ideas here!
  • Read about Zusa's sustainability efforts here!