Nature steps into office
Utworzono 16.10.2012
Ready, steady, go! The ‘eco active' lunch break has begun! Nature is climbing the office building's wall, waste is recycled, bike is generating electricity and Tai Chi relaxing. 100 people, lead by the Aeris Futuro Foundation, participated in the happening ‘Nature steps into office', which took place on the 5th October 2012 in the Cracow's city centre, on the Lubicz Street. It was the first event of such kind in the city.
The organisers invited employees working in one of the biggest office buildings in Cracow, to take part in green team competitions, mixed with Tai Chi exercises and complemented with an eco-reception, composed of natural products originating from the local farms. ‘During the event, we were not only encouraging to take part in the competitions but more importantly showing and explaining the environmentally friendly behaviour in the workplace. Therefore, each contest had its additional, pro ecological sense' - said Joanna Mieszkowicz, the Foundation's head.
 
Green competitions
We have started the event with construction of a live installation, on the office block's wall. It has been made of the recycled bean and maize cans and autumn's flowers - heather. The composition embodied the phrase ‘Nature steps into office', as it was climbing the building's wall, looking into the offices' interior. 
 
The first competition referred to the need of waste sorting and recycling. Players were trying to hit the target with a piece of waste, in that case crashed bottles or paper scraps. Then, the issue of sustainable transport has been represented by the carpooling map. It enables car sharing by people, who are going the same direction. At the same time the CO2 calculator has been demonstrated, which allows to measure carbon dioxide emissions, during i.e. business travel and to estimate the number of trees, which would neutralise those emissions. The map together with the calculator, were meant to show an effective, economical and at the same time environmentally friendly way to plan a journey. 
 
The office workers were also folding an already printed paper, using the origami art. This was aimed to point out the problem of sustainable paper use in offices. The participants of the happening could also ride the stationary bicycle, trying to switch on the lamp with the power of own muscles. During the event, the online game ‘GREEN OFFICE' has also been introduced. On the charts of this app, the rat mascot Umberto educates players about the environmentally friendly attitudes in the workplace. The game is available here.
 
Finally, the active characteristic of the lunch break has been emphasized by the Tai Chi exercises. This martial art symbolizes balance between the body and mind. In the case of work, this is represented by the work-life balance, which means harmony between professional and private life.
 
Outcomes of the event
The office workers, who participated in the happening, could spend their lunch break in an attractive and active way as well as get involved into green initiatives in their work place. Additionally, the initial contact with the employers, while providing information about the event, resulted in their attention to ecological activities. We hope that the problem awareness will lead to changes in office organisation in the future. As an outcome of the event, we were happy to receive further entries to the ‘Green Office Contest'. Its principal requirement is a description of the implemented ecological initiative in the workplace. The deadline for delivering the report is the 31st October. The main prize is a trip for the winning group. The details regarding the contest are available here.
 
‘Without any doubt, the change in the direction of the promotion of socially responsible business is very positive - the primary initiatives of such kind have been enforced by the international corporations, which introduced the standards, known from their parent organisations, in their polish branches. Adapting this idea has therefore been somehow forced. Currently, those are often the employees, who start changing their work place - if they are sorting waste and saving energy in their homes, they are also trying to introduce those standards in their work place.' - said Marcin Kopeć, Director of the Małopolska Economic Observatory.
 
Supporters of the event:
Office Centre Lubicz, Creative centre Żywa Pracownia, Public relations agency PRIAM, Cooperative
 
Sponsors:
National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Cracow

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