The Wheel Wins the Overall Award in Global Action Plan’s National Climate Competition
Currently, Ireland ranks 37 out of 59 countries in the Climate Change Performance Index 2023. “Ireland is committed to reducing emissions by 51% by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels) and achieving net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. Despite these goals, Ireland’s emissions are rising and have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels” (Social Justice Ireland).
For two weeks The Wheel’s staff worked to reduce their personal carbon footprint and introduced climate-friendly actions into their daily lives during Global Action Plan’s (GAP) national competition. The competition was a challenge based on personal behaviours. The competition focused inwards, rather than tackling the larger systems that perpetuate climate change, in hopes it would spark in-office and at-home conversations about collective action.
It aimed to inspire each participant to introduce daily climate-friendly actions to reduce emissions, create awareness of sustainable habits, and ultimately lead to having more conversations and encouraging widespread change. The team would log actions like eating less dairy, turning off unnecessary lights, taking public transportation to work, and donating to good causes; each contributing to an amount of carbon saved.
Why we took part
We took part for two main reasons
- To promote the wellbeing of staff and offer an opportunity to commit to their personal sustainability goals. The reality of climate change can take a toll on one's mental health and we wanted to offer dedicated time to investigate climate-friendly behaviours staff were engaging in and highlight their contribution to positive change. The competition had a learning element, with explanations about different types of climate actions.
- To act as a leader in our sector, affirm our commitment to sustainability as an organisation, and contribute widespread change. We wanted our members to see us taking real action and offer this as the type of activity they can also take part in; providing leadership and acting as a driver for positive change.
Results of the competition
Out of the six Irish organisations participating, The Wheel staff saved the most carbon, an average of 125.88kg CO₂e saved per participant. This saving is equivalent to using 8,498kWh of energy, the same as powering an entire portable heater for 236 days OR the same as traveling by car from Dublin to Cork and back (about 458km).
If everyone in Ireland took the same actions as our team that would amount to a 33% reduction in Ireland's total annual consumption-based emissions. If this was a reality, the country’s goal of reducing emissions by 51% by 2030 would be in reach.
Where we go next and programmes we’re involved in
Ultimately the challenge helped to create greater awareness of our personal contributions to climate justice, build a sustainable culture, and guide action toward reducing individual CO2 emissions. If you’re interested in taking part in the next challenge you can visit GAP’s website here.
We will continue our action addressing the Sustainable Development Goals in our office, through our work with members, and our campaigns.
We see sustainable communities as socially resilient, environmentally healthy and economically thriving and we’re engaged in a series of initiatives that highlight the importance of sustainable communities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
If you'd like to learn more about our sustainability efforts, check out our page here: https://www.wheel.ie/about-us/projects/sustainable-development-goals