EcoChallenge offers path to greener employee habits

What started out as a fundraiser for the Northwest Earth Institute will expand this year to offer any company the opportunity to inspire sustainable habits in their employees.

The institute's EcoChallenge runs from Oct. 1 - Oct. 15 and while sponsorships and donations are welcome, any business can sign up a team and encourage employees to participate.

The idea behind the two-week challenge is to encourage employees to adopt new sustainable behaviors, such as bike commuting, sustainable food choices or new recycling habits.

"This is actually a great program for changing behavior," said Mike Mercer, executive director of the Northwest Earth Institute. "It's like with a New Year's resolution, it's more effective if you tell your family and friends. And two weeks is long enough to normalize the behavior."

To participate, companies and employees register online with EcoChallenge and pick the areas they will focus on.

The institute invested $25,000 to upgrade the EcoChallenge website and materials for the program. Mercer said he hopes to recoup the expenses through sponsorships.

The Portland-based Northwest Earth Institute, a nonprofit, focuses on sustainability education. | 503.219.3438


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