The Earth Month Opportunity: Expanding the Climate Equity Conversation
The signs of a societal shift to environmental action are increasingly bubbling to the top of daily conversation. In the corporate community, this often translates to engaging employees in sustainability initiatives and other environmental commitments and exploring how to enrich and expand their experience. While achieving meaningful engagement can present its own unique set of challenges, it’s widely recognized that employees who are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace values are a powerful factor for success.
This approach is embraced by Lauren Wylie, management consultancy Oliver Wyman’s Global Head of Sustainability and Social Impact, Sustainability Commissioner for the City of Sausalito, CA, and a Board Director at EarthShare. With the help of the global Green Champions of Oliver Wyman (GROW) network, Wylie is focused on the integration of sustainability in Oliver Wyman’s business and through its people. This involves upholding their commitment as a CarbonNeutral® company and working with cross-functional teams to develop sustainable best practices to reduce their impact on the environment. Their “think global, act local” mindset extends to engaging employees in committing to sustainability at work, while traveling, and at home.
“From tree planting programs to raising awareness about reducing carbon emissions, to education about environmental justice and the need to address it, my job is really about asking everyone at the company to adopt a sustainability “lens” with everything they do,” says Wylie. “At its core, it’s change management.”
At a time when environmental concerns dominate the latest Global Risks Report, Wylie considers points-in-time like Earth Day (April 22) to be a vital opportunity for a collective focus on sustainability issues that can spark ongoing action. “It’s a great way for companies to focus attention and education and deep-dive on these important topics,” says Wylie.
In January 2021 Wylie had just assumed leadership of Oliver Wyman’s Social Impact programs in addition to her Sustainability role. She had a core concept for Earth Month but wanted something more robust than time and capacity allowed. Wylie saw EarthShare’s Earth Month program tools as a go-to resource for engaging employees around current topics directly connected to her company’s values and goals.
EarthShare’s program offers a variety of turn-key interactive learning and team-building opportunities ranging from a three-part educational webinar series to app-based gamification and virtual guides to our planet. EarthShare’s 2021 Building Equity for All webinar series – focused on exploring environmental justice and equity in the U.S. and around the world – offered the perfect solution for Wylie. Involving her colleagues in the webinar programming gave them a conduit to expert voices backed by lived experience, providing access to expanded, authentic insights and ways to take action.
“[EarthShare’s webinar series] was easily implemented, brought in high-caliber speakers, and most importantly, it focused on the topic of environmental justice,” says Wylie. “In June 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, our Green Champions in the U.S. teamed with our Racial & Ethnic Diversity ERG, EMPOWERED, to start a conversation about environmental justice, a conversation that we are continuing to have today. I needed to learn alongside my colleagues. I needed experts, and a wide variety of them, to emphasize the importance of understanding how climate change is affecting underserved and typically BIPOC communities. This webinar series allowed us to elevate our internal conversation, and it elevated our entire Earth Month offering for our colleagues.”
Jacklyn Phi, an Oliver Wyman Engagement Manager and EMPOWERED’s regional lead, valued the opportunity to team up to generate opportunities for additional exploration. “EMPOWERED was delighted to collaborate with GROW to promote EarthShare’s environmental justice webinars and host our own discussion sessions last year. This helped equip our colleagues with a deeper understanding of the intersection of the environment with marginalized communities, and the ways we can further our learning on the topic and help take action in our local communities,” says Phi.
Wylie and her team will continue the conversation by joining EarthShare for its 2022 Earth Month webinar series, The Social Side of Climate Change: Views from the Justice Spectrum. EarthShare has again partnered with an international team of environmental experts and grassroot leaders to examine the causes of climate injustice, discuss how it impacts our communities, explore potential solutions and mitigation efforts underway, and help participants understand what each of us can do to make a difference.
According to Wylie, not only is EarthShare’s program suitable for a wide variety of budgets, it’s also a flexible and meaningful resource for ambitious and busy teams. “Whether you’re looking to introduce Earth Month programming for the first time, or perhaps just looking to give a boost to your original content, EarthShare’s programming offers truly plug-and-play nature and a la carte selection of offerings,” says Wylie.
Workplaces of all sizes can take advantage of heightened environmental awareness during Earth Month to inspire employees and create stronger connections to corporate sustainability and social impact goals and initiatives. EarthShare’s Earth Month toolkit can rally even a fully remote workforce with opportunities for virtual team building, learning, and activities. Together we’re expanding a global community of caring and informed people working to achieve a healthy, sustainable future for all.
About Oliver Wyman
Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in more than 70 cities across 30 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation.
The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a business of Marsh McLennan [NYSE: MMC].