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Life at McCormick August 02, 2019

APZ’s Green Week 2019: Local Actions for Global Impact

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Into its second year, APZ’s Green Week effort is building momentum and bringing to life our Purpose Led Performance in new and imaginative ways.

For an entire week every June, employees across leadership levels, functions, and sites in the Asia Pacific Zone dedicate time, energy, and effort to doing good by people, community, and planet. This is APZ Green Week, a sustainability-oriented week-long event organized for employees by employees.

Piloted in 2018, Green Week was born of a desire for a coordinated, region-wide corporate social responsibility effort to foster greater “green consciousness” among employees in active, meaningful ways. Held in conjunction with the United Nation’s World Environment Day, which is celebrated on June 5 annually, the region saw it as an ideal opportunity to drive PLP awareness across the zone, given that the UN Environment Programme is the benchmark source for many of McCormick’s Purpose-Led Performance (PLP) metrics.

Anthony Roche, APZ’s VP Human Relations said that a commitment to Purpose-Led Performance not only makes McCormick the world’s most sustainable food company, but it is also a big part of what makes McCormick a great place to work. 

“Employees want to work – and stay – with a company that does the right thing,” he says. “In a tight labour market like APZ, we see this as one of our key differentiators. Green Week is just one of the many ways we are bringing this to life, not just through words, but by our actions.”

Activities in 2018 included sessions featuring subject-matter experts covering topics such as recycling, plastic waste, and microgreen cultivation. Employees participated in park clean-ups, planted saplings in recycled coffee mugs to keep at their desks, and even took some trees to plant at home.

Through the leadership of local employee engagement committees, employees across the region took it up a notch this year, with innovative ideas that ranged from the educational to the very much hands-on.  Among this year’s projects:

  • McCormick Singapore (also the regional headquarters) employees partnered with Ground-Up Initiative, a local NGO, to learn about sustainable farming and living. Employee volunteers harvested 45 kg. (nearly 100 lbs.) of fresh organic produce for Willing Hearts community kitchen, which prepares meals for those in need.
  • Across sites in India, employees learned about electronic waste, including how much of it is generated each month, as well as responsible approaches to disposal. Employees also spent an afternoon cleaning up streets around the factory and warehouse while strengthening community consciousness about plastic waste.
  • In Australia employees also organized community clean-ups, one at a park and another one on a local beach, but they also came up with green “hacks” for daily activities. In addition to a “bike-to-work” challenge, employees had a meat-free lunch, brought plants to work, and even had an ugly “jumper” (sweater) challenge to reduce use of desk heaters and raise awareness of air pollution.
  • In Thailand, the Simply Asia Foods team worked with the Wat Jak Daeng temple, in Bangkok, to collect and transform used plastic bottles into royal robes for monks. They spent an afternoon sorting hundreds of plastic bottles, which were then sent to a factory to be upcycled (with cotton and zinc) into wearable orange fabric for the holy elders. The team also signed an agreement with Princess Pa Foundation for an innovative Green Roof project in which they, alongside their co-packing partner Thai Coconut, will contribute more than 300,000 outdated Tetra Pak cartons to be recycled into roofing sheets to provide emergency shelter for people in need.
  • Meanwhile at our Rayong and Amata sites, McCormick employees collected hundreds of used bottle caps and partnered with NGO Precious Plastic Bangkok to convert these into beautiful plant pots. Waste-separation workshops and a plastic- and Styrofoam-free lunch challenge were also part of the many employee-led activities to drive sustainability with the simplest of actions.

The week-long activities were supported by communications, with employees turning the zone’s Yammer feed  green with their shared reflections and experiences. Beyond site-specific efforts, as a giveaway for this year’s Green Week all APZ employees were presented with reusable bamboo cutlery and a stainless steel straw to encourage them to choose planet over plastic. The gift, much like the rest of the week’s activities, is a fitting reminder that small changes in daily habits can make a big difference over time.