What was once regarded as a passing trend has now become a business imperative.Students care about the impact they have on the environment, but their actions at schoolare not always aligned. Universities that can tap into this passion and cross the dividebetween eco-awareness to eco-actions, stand to reap sizeable benefits. Launching “
Project Green Light
” (PGL), a sustainability marketing program is proposed tobridge this divide. The initiative creates triple bottom line gains; namely economic, socialand environmental. The PGL Program would also push reduction (a consumption issue) overrecycling (a disposal issue) where applicable. The challenge rests in finding ways of creating transformational change incrementally: Byencouraging people to mobilize small but significant "15-percent initiatives"
(Shawn, 2005)that can snowball in their effects. When guided by a sense of shared vision, the process cantap into the self-organizing capacities of stakeholders.In the proposed pilot project, our “15% solution” is to first focus on coffee vendors andconsumers at the York University campus by encouraging the use of re-usable mugs, acampaign we have aptly dubbed “
” under the Project Green Light umbrella. If York'sentire student body of 50,000 strong were to use reusable mugs over a single year, almost17.9 million paper cups
would be diverted from landfills (Mackenzie Mohr & Associates). The “GoMugs” campaign also works in conjunction with the City of Toronto’s proposed banon paper cups and its increased monetary incentive to consumers who use their own mug.Currently, many coffee vendors already provide a rebate for consumers who bring in theirown mug, however only a handful of coffee-drinkers actually do. The city, throughgovernance, plans on doubling the current rebate by 2011
(Hanes, 2008) in hopes toincrease mug adoption. The “GoMugs” campaign differentiates itself from other reusable mug campaigns becausethe strategy addresses questions that the other campaigns would avoid: (1) What shapesconsumer behaviour initially? (2) What shapes consumer behaviour on an ongoing basis? Acommunity-based social marketing framework provides answers to these questions as it is acost-effective approach which aims to understand human behaviour and provides a set of implementation strategies that are measurable and actionable. The following document outlines our proposal for the TD Go Green challenge by defining our“15% solution”. As current studies have revealed that monetary rewards alone will fail inshaping new behavior (Deloitte, 2008), we need to go beyond generic incentives to relevantones. If the pilot is proven to be successful, we will piggyback on its success with otherinitiatives under the PGL portfolio, while leveraging the increased awareness andinfrastructure initiated by “GoMugs”.
1 Using the same ratios used by John Orpe, Senior Procurement Specialist and chair of University of Calgary'sSupply Chain Management and Sustainability Advisory Committee;http://www.haskayne.ucalgary.ca/haskaynefaculty/centres/cpia/fair_trade_forum_2008