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Ecological education. How ICL Services instills love for nature in its employees
Society is facing an ever-increasing number of ecological problems. Man-made fires, loss of unique natural assets, and plastic pollution are no longer a ghostly threat to the future but the sad reality of the present. To deal with these problems, it is necessary to instill eco-friendly behaviors from childhood: in the family, at schools, clubs, and institutions of higher learning. But what if adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s don’t have this education and well-constructed value system? The answer is to engage in developing ecological thinking at the workplace.
Ecological education is part of moral education, which consists of two parts, mindfulness and behavior. Using ICL Services as an example, we will explain how this works at a for-profit company.
About the company and its initiatives
ICL Services provides IT services to more than 80 customers from 30 countries. It employs 1,800 people, with offices located in Moscow, Kazan, Voronezh, and Belgrade.
Eco-activities at the company are completely voluntary. That said, a significant portion of the company’s employees and management are interested in them and realize their value. Among all the possible options for developing eco-initiatives, the company chose to support enterprising employees. The scheme works like this: an employee declares an eco-initiative, the company provides the necessary support for it, other employees join the initiative.
Introduction to ecology
Ecological values at ICL Services are declared when joining the company. Many applicants say that they considered the corporate culture described in the vacancy—which includes charitable, environmental projects, and volunteer programs—as an additional advantage when choosing ICL Services.
On the first day of work, the employee receives a welcome kit, which shows that ICL Services treats both new employees and nature with care. The employee has the ability to take their first eco-step: drinking from their own cup instead of using disposable plastic cups. The cups left behind by employees who decided to leave the company are also used ecologically. We plant flowers in them to make our office green.
When organizing events, the company tries to move away from traditional solutions to more environmentally friendly ones. For example, replacing plastic cups with paper ones made from recycled goods, replacing plastic containers with kraft paper bags, discarding beverage straws and small containers, ordering eco-friendly souvenirs for employees and partners.
It impacts the company’s positive image as an employer and also makes it possible to find new customers by distinguishing the company from competitors.
Green office life
ICL Services’ headquarters, situated at Technopark in the village of Usada, meets the world’s best eco-practices. This building was selected to participate in the Best Office Awards 2018. Eco-friendly building materials, a huge green area around the building, a water-free water purification system, items for separate garbage collection, battery collection, reuse drafts, a reminder that you need to turn off the computer before you leave to save energy. This is only a small part of the benefits of an eco-office. Today, for most employees, these have become part of their daily work activities. Working in an attractive and comfortable eco-environment helps to transition to environmental awareness painlessly and quickly, without resistance.
Employees conduct quarterly open meetings and environmental education activities. For example, in their first days at the company, new employees go through induction training that includes a section on environmental initiatives that anyone can join. Eco-active colleagues talk about areas of environmental and social work and even conduct training on separate garbage and recycling collection.
When an employee has mastered their work tasks, there is time to take part in the company’s corporate life.
One of the most popular events at ICL Services is planting trees in the office area and environmental workshops and events.
In 2018–2019, employee volunteers:
- have conducted a series of Academy workshops on how to minimize their negative environmental impact in everyday life;
- have planted trees on the grounds of Technopark, where the office is located. More than 100 blue spruce trees, deciduous plants, and shrubs have been planted, and the area has been thoroughly weeded;
- took part for the third time in the All-Russian Ecological Action Bike to Work Day (about 50 employees from Kazan and Voronezh chose to ride their bicycles to work for a week instead of travelling by car);
- have conducted training on separate garbage and recycling collection, lectures on vegetarianism and sensible purchase of clothes;
- organized the city event Eco-race in Gorky Park, Kazan, with the participation of everyone interested and subsequently cleaned the area;
- have taken part in urban community workdays in city parks;
- organized a traditional bike ride for 50+ participants with a field trip to the Kazan Observatory. They continue working on an Android app for our corporate carpool service. It helps employees who live nearby bring each other to work and home, thus reducing the number of cars on the road.
Community workday in Gorky Park
Bike to Work Day
How to take part in an eco-project
Any ICL Services employee can suggest ideas for an environmental project and lead it, as well as become a volunteer for an existing initiative. To do this, they need to go to the intranet to find out when to attend a volunteer meeting.
For each initiative, a team of like-minded people is recruited. Colleagues from the HR department and administrative service help with organizational issues.
These events are quite popular because they offer a chance to help nature while serving as a great communication and team-building platform. They also provide an opportunity to be active and spend time constructively.
Gifts for volunteers
Ecological education is not a set of rules of conduct. Instead, it’s a culture, an integral part of a unified education system that can be built only by explaining and showing with examples why it is important. This is a necessary component of creating and developing the personality that can solve the tasks of the next generations. That is why environmental education holds such an important place in the public arena throughout the world and in individual companies. ICL Services shows by example that it is not so difficult to achieve this. The main thing is to give the initiative to the employees themselves and support their initiatives.
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