There are a lot of buzzwords in the corporate world about sustainable workplace practices, whether that be net-zero, carbon neutrality, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance), or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). While it is easy to get lost in the word jungle, the essential message is that climate adaptation plans are becoming more important for any company, whether big or small. In fact, according to a poll by Deloitte, 97% of corporate executives report having already experienced negative impacts, and 63% say their organisations are concerned or very concerned about the potential future harm. Meanwhile, according to the Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact, an increasing number of CEOs already grapple with disruptions in the global supply and food chains.
Despite the urgency, it may be difficult promoting sustainability in the workplace with your colleagues. Yet discussing the ways climate change impacts your organisation and creating a climate adaptation plan are key to increasing the resilience of your team. The majority of companies feel unprepared for what is to come. We at Day of Adaptation pride ourselves on helping companies with their journeys to make a climate adaptation plan.
The Game Day and Dialogue Day activities by Day of Adaptation have been designed to be relatable for many kinds of audiences, including ones that do not work directly with climate change. For example, playing our Minions of Disruptions board game on a facilitated Game Day raises critical conversations about climate change and its effects on different sectors of an organisation in highly relatable and easy-to-understand ways. At the same time it helps discover a locally relevant climate adaptation plan. This is important as research suggests that both individual and collective action can help deal with climate anxiety and other difficult emotions linked to climate change .
Day of Adaptation has worked with several companies to bring discussions about climate change into focus in a positive, encouraging atmosphere while promoting sustainability in the workplace. Read on to get inspiration from our previous Game Days and Dialogue Days. Either activity can bring a bit more substance to your workplace outing, while keeping it fun and interactive at the same time!
1. The Game Day helps organizations explore local climate change impacts while encouraging mutual learning
Waddenfonds is a joint scheme of the three Wadden Sea provinces in The Netherlands: North Holland, Friesland and Groningen. The organisation invests in initiatives and projects that help support the ecology and a sustainable economic growth of the region. Wadden Sea is under a threat of disappearance due to rising sea levels. Moreover, the local ecosystem suffers due to increasing temperatures. Therefore, the Game Day organised with Waddenfonds was specially designed to include three thematic areas on which a climate adaptation plan could be created: re-naturing, sustainable energy, and agriculture.
In the Minions of Disruptions board game the participants face disruptions, which challenge their community’s resilience-building. These disruptions are countered by collaborative climate action that the players can take. The actions within the game were adapted to fit the very specific local context of the organisation so the players could focus on the special circumstances in the Wadden Sea area. In line with the organisational mandate, one of the tasks that players had to complete during the game was devising solutions on how farmers could cope with increasing salinisation of the water caused by rising sea levels with a climate adaptation plan.
Waddenfonds sought not only to learn about climate adaptation plans, but also to encourage team building by promoting sustainability in the workplace in a creative way during this Game Day. At the start of the Game Day some employees reported that they did not have any idea how climate change would impact their work in the future. By playing and discussing, the participants could share their preconceived notions and learn from each other. In the aftermath one participant summarized their take-home message: “Start acting and collaborating. Each contributes according to their abilities in the sustainable workplace practices.”
2. The Game Day helps organizations find new ideas and take ownership over their sustainability strategy
ABN AMRO is a personal bank with the purpose statement: “Banking for better, for generations to come.” ABN AMRO joined us for a Game Day as part of their regular team building sessions. They wanted to find activities to do together which would include plenty of interaction, contribute to self-improvement, and allow the team to have fun. With these criteria in mind, we put together a Game Day for them at a local park, with our mega-sized gameboard that allows for social distancing.
Helping clients transition to a more sustainable direction is one of the strategic pillars of ABN AMRO. Therefore, getting their team to contribute to sustainable working practices and climate change mitigation was a relevant central theme for the team building activity. The Game Day allows participants to brainstorm new ideas for climate change mitigation and adaptation, which contributes to finding pathways for the organisation to go forward with their climate adaptation plan.
At the end of the session, the team leader from ABN AMRO shared with us that their team now has a clearer picture of how to make a difference in the struggle against climate change. This is not only important for teams that are promoting sustainability in the workplace but also encourages ownership of the climate adaptation plan across every department of the organisation, thereby making the sustainability transition easier for everyone.
3. The Dialogue Day deepens the discussions in a work team and helps participants identify their own resilience superhero
Simavi is a Dutch foundation whose mission is to “fight for equality and overcome barriers for women and girls to claim their human rights to water and sanitation”. Climate change is a significant threat multiplier which makes Simavi’s work much more difficult. Day of Adaptation organised a Dialogue Day with Simavi’s team in The Netherlands where the employees got a chance to discuss climate change with their team in an engaging and safe environment.
During the Dialogue Day the participants were encouraged not only to express what they know about climate change and how it makes them feel, but also to reflect on their own capacity to manage a climate adaptation plan. Some insights gained during the session included increased awareness of the actions individuals are already taking, and acknowledging that no one is alone. Even a small action from an individual makes a difference!
Can you see your company or organisational team benefitting from these conversations on climate change? Get in touch with us to discuss your specific needs for an interactive group activity that brings climate change into your workplace – either online or offline (in the Netherlands). Fill in this form or email us at email@example.com.
Authors: Minja Sillanpää & Minttu Hänninen
About the authors:
Minja has a MSc in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation from Lund University. She believes fostering justice, participation and creativity are gateways to meaningful climate engagement, and is fascinated by the incredible harmony of ecosystems as well as human adaptiveness.
Minttu has a MSc in Sustainable Development from Utrecht University, with a specialization in environmental governance. She is excited about sustainability communications, and dreams of a spacious rooftop terrace where she can grow herbs and colorful flowers.