Though winter has barely begun, WWF-Canada’s Living Planet @ Work team is already planning the 2017 edition of Spring Things: Our workplace-engagement fundraising campaign that challenges executives and employees alike to dive in, step up and paddle to the finish for conservation.
In 2016, 46 companies took part, raising nearly $250,000 to help WWF-Canada protect Canada’s magnificent species and habitats.
Here’s why these funds are important. WWF’s 2016 Living Planet Report shows bleak numbers on the health of the planet. Global wildlife populations have plummeted by 58 per cent since 1970. Though Canadians value our country’s natural riches and wildlife, only three per cent of charitable giving in Canada goes to conservation.
That’s why we’re setting our targets for Spring Things 2017 higher than ever. Our goal is to engage 75 companies in our Polar Dip, CN Tower Climb and River Quest Canoe Challenge and raise $300,000 to do even more for nature and wildlife in Canada.
Before the official campaign launch, we sat down for a quick Q&A with Adrienne Lo, head of the LP@W program.
Q: What do you love most about Spring Things?
A: It’s amazing to see co-workers come together for the environment. There’s so much excitement and energy. You can see there’s something special happening here. And then when you have executives join in, that takes it to the next level – like when Coke’s CEO Christian Polge jumped into Lake Ontario twice in February because they didn’t get a good photo of him the first time, or when Linda Sampson, HPE’s chief financial officer, boosted donations by donning a tutu for her dip. It creates this sense of camaraderie.
It was also amazing to see Brookfield GIS’s CEO Gord Hicks rally 52 employees for the CN Tower Climb. And the team-building aspect of the Canoe Challenge impressed me. From the shore, you could hear each group of paddlers chanting together to maintain their rhythm.
Q: For first-timers, organizing a workplace fundraiser can be intimidating.
A: We offer three events, but you don’t have to do them all. Pick the one that’s best for you and rally around that. If you want to add more, great. The LP@W team and I are here to help at every step. And of course, you’ll find great resources for each event on the Spring Things website.
Q: Don’t you have to be a bit crazy to climb the CN Tower or jump into Lake Ontario in the middle of winter?
A: You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to do the climb. Some people race to the top in 15 minutes, but you can make it much more leisurely if you want – like I do. Children do the climb with their families and first-time climbers of all ages and abilities make it to the top.
The polar dip is just a split second: You’re in and out. And it’s so exhilarating you don’t actually feel the cold. It’s totally doable and super fun. Plus, you get some serious bragging rights.
Q: Anything new and exciting for 2017?
A: David Miller, WWF-Canada’s president and CEO David Miller, is a lifelong athlete, playing competitive rugby since childhood. But surgery for a knee injury kept him from climbing the CN Tower last year. This year he’s working with a trainer and raring to go. So we’re looking forward to some great rivalry with other leaders.
Be part of the excitement. Dive in, step up and paddle to the finish to protect Canada’s magnificent species and habitats.
The Polar Dip (Toronto, February 28)
Plunge into Lake Ontario to protect pristine and iconic Arctic regions and animals (tutus optional).
The CN Tower Climb for Nature (Toronto, April 9)
Conquer the CN Tower’s 1,776 steps.
The River Quest Canoe Challenge (Montreal, June 14)
Raise funds for freshwater conservation and compete against other companies in this water-based scavenger hunt.
For all the details, visit our campaign page.
Living Planet @ Work championed by RSA Canada empowers environmentally minded employees to lead sustainable change at work. Today, over 1,300 champions from more than 950 companies are leveraging the program and taking action for the good of business and the planet. Learn more about Living Planet @ Work, or become a champion by visiting wwf.ca/atwork