A recent study found that 75% of employees who believe that their company is focused on sustainability show high levels of commitment (Business in the Community, 2011). Moreover, Kuoni’s 2012 employee survey (EMPOWER) revealed that our corporate responsibility initiatives were among the top 5 things employees like about working at the company. Kuoni also understands that its employees are an invaluable partner in reinforcing its sustainability strategy with suppliers and customers. Therefore, we focus on training, awareness building and open dialogue to ensure that everyone in the company has a shared vision of CR at Kuoni.For example, each year Kuoni organises a Corporate Responsibility Day where all business units and subsidiaries throughout the world organise activities to learn about different sustainability issues. CR Day 2012 under the slogan “Climate Changes, You can too” focused on awareness-raising on the possible repercussions of climate change and how employees can reduce their impact on the climate.
As part of CR Day, colleagues were invited to participate in a CO2 reduction contest, through which teams submitted their ideas on how to reduce emissions in the workplace. The most innovative ideas were rewarded with a stipend which could be used toward implementation. The support throughout the “Kuoni World” was great – employees participated in bike-to-work schemes or volunteered for beach clean-ups or invited guest speakers. For example, Kuoni’s subsidiary Private Safaris in Kenya organised a tree planting session in collaboration with the children’s initiative “Plant for the Planet – Trees for Climate Justice”. The children behind the initiative have pledged to plant 1,000 billion trees around the world until 2020.
CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN BENEFITS “SAVE THE CHILDREN”
We are aware that many of our colleagues are engaged in charitable activities in their personal lives. So this year we wanted to give them the opportunity to tell us which organisation should benefit from our annual CR Chrismas Campaign. Kuoni colleagues nominated their favourite children’s charity for a chance to receive all funds raised during the raffle. After rating the organisations for trustworthiness, reputation and effectiveness, three nominees were put forward to all employees as finalists. Kuoni staff then had a chance to vote for their favourite. The winning organisation, Save the Children, is an international NGO working to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war, and other conflicts.
DEVELOPING A NEW INTERNAL COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
In collaboration with a Swiss consultancy the CR department has developed a new strategy for communicating CR issues to Kuoni staff in more effective ways. Aligning to the old adage “Constant dropping wears out the stone”, an approach has been adopted which aims to communicate about CR throughout the year, climaxing mid-year with the global CR Day and ending with the annual Christmas campaign. In accordance with this approach new communication channels have been developed to move from mainly online to offline communication. In addition to CR Day, Kuoni Switzerland has conducted a “CR Talk” with a lunchtime cinema at its headquarters, featuring the film “Recipes for Disaster” as well as a discussion round on the challenges and opportunities of living carbon neutrally Further, a so-called “CR-Flash” was introduced, which provides all employees a small goodie attached to a sustainability-related message. The first CR Flash introduced all Swiss employees to the CR internal communication theme for 2012 “Climate changes – you can too” by giving them a card with energy saving tips and a small pack of dextrose for an extra energy boost.
SITA, a world-leading specialist in providing incoming travel services operating under Kuoni Destination Management India, supported their staff by donating man-hours to employees wishing to volunteer for a local sustainability initiative. The project aimed to build a solar bath for a Buddhist nunnery in the village of Pangmo, located in the cold desert of Spiti, high in the Himalayas. The solar bath not only cut down carbon emissions and fuel wood consumption but also enhanced the lifestyle of the nuns.The solar bath was built in association with Ecosphere, a local social enterprise funded in part by eco-tourism initiatives, and five members of Sita staff. The Sita team took public transport to Pangmo to reduce their carbon emissions on the journey. It took them 48 hours by public bus and taxi – a total of 1500 kms of travel – and 5 days of work at the project site to complete the solar bath.