Green Impact in Europe
In 2017 RootAbility, a non-profit social business based in the Netherlands, began delivering Green Impact in Europe using their expertise to grow Green Impact within Europe, and now have 5 universities taking part!
Our European Partner universities who are taking part in Green Impact at the Green Office Summit 2018.
The relationship between NUS and rootAbility is longstanding and in 2017 we decided to team up to deliver Green Impact in Europe.
RootAbility builds a movement of students and staff, who mobilise institutional support for sustainability projects and initiatives in higher education. Their purpose is to overcome the barriers of staff and students face when taking part in the sustainability movement and help drive change towards sustainability within.
They have a network of 39 Green Offices in 8 different countries, and over 65 Green Office initiatives which see staff and students working together towards becoming a Green Office.
RootAbility have started to progress Green Impact across their network as a lot of Green Offices want to engage more staff and students in their sustainability projects and want to ensure long lasting engagement within these area rather than one off projects. RootAbility saw that Green Impact has the potential to build a network of sustainability-conscious individuals within an organisation and give them the structure and tools to bring about changes within their own office and study environments. Also the programme has been running for over 12-years, so why reinvent the wheel when there's an already tested and award-winning programme out there?!
There were a few challenges along the way, mainly with having to translate the toolkit into a Dutch and Belgian context! Anne Spira, Green Impact Manager at rootAbility speaks of their success so far;
- KU Leuven already had an Ecoteam scheme with around 15 Ecoteams across the university. After one year, the number is up to 32 and we just launched the 2nd Green Impact year, and hope more will join throughout the next few months. The communication around the programme has motivated more people to either participate in the programme or form an Ecoteam and implement their own ideas.
- Utrecht University started off as a pilot in one building only. This year, they�re going to add two more faculties to the list, advancing slowly across the entire university.
- Wageningen University & Research (WUR) are trying out a building-based approach (i.e. one or maybe more teams per building, representing the different functions of and people in the building) and actions will be categorised in �quick wins� and �high impact�, encouraging teams to not only pick the low hanging fruit but also dig a little deeper.
- Maastricht University launched the programme mid-October and 114 people are already signed up in 14 teams of which 12 teams are super active. Some teams have already achieved a Bronze award and they�re constantly asking for more� They also have a Green Kermit (a frog) that teams can steal from each other to score points. At the moment, Green Kermit is sitting in the office of the Executive Board. Not sure who�ll dare to steal it next.
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel launched the third round of the programme in October. They did a Sinterklass activity last week where the Green Team met with every team to ask them about their progress, provide feedback and give them a little Sinterklass present. Sinterklaas is bigger than Christmas in both the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium, and a great opportunity to meet with all the teams.
At the annual European Green Office Summit (EUGOS) in Ghent in November 2018, they organised a Green Impact lunch with everyone, who is currently delivering the programme at their organisations.