Sahara workforce go green for Valentine

Ayodeji Ake

The staff at African leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group, did their bit for the climate change conversation on Wednesday, February 14, 2018.

The international energy and infrastructure giant decided to put an eco-conscious spin on the globally celebrated day of lovers by asking its workforce across 15 countries to #GoGreenforValentine.

Head of Corporate Communications, Bethel Obioma, said “At Sahara, we believe our love for the planet comes first and foremost. Our planet is the source of all life and livelihoods, so we thought we would use our people to highlight the subject of climate change this year.”

The internal communications campaign was hugely successful which was very gratifying to the team which incubated the idea. Staffers relished the autonomy of coming to work on a Wednesday in whichever dress code they chose, albeit with at least a touch of green. The result was a variety of shades and expressions of green, all for the love of the planet we call home.

Whilst staffers were treated to the usual Valentines customs of sweet confections and heart shaped motifs, there were tree planting activities, talks on climate action and the special appearance of a green painted acrobat on stilts, clad in a an eco-friendly t-shirt at the company’s Ikoyi, Lagos office. “My Love for earth is evergreen,” was the big message emblazoned on the t-shirt.

Everything glistened in green from the icing on the cakes to the balloons that filled the front rooms of the company’s many offices.

It wasn’t all games and gaiety on the day. Underpinning #GoGreenforValentine is Sahara Group’s commitment to the UN-led mandate to deliver on Climate Action, SDG No. 13 by 2030.

Climate action essentially requires activating the forces that are needed to combat climate change. It is a clarion call to the public and private sectors as well as civic society to play a palpable, constructive role in keeping the planet clean and healthy.

Initiating and sustaining conversations on climate change is crucial to the realisation of the mandate which is why Sahara Group has leveraged on its presence in 15 countries across four continents to amplify the need for consciousness and activism in our natural environment.

“At least two of the countries in which we operate are in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) top 20 list of the world’s most environmentally friendly countries. Singapore and Switzerland are at numbers 14 and 16 respectively. But we cannot ignore the fact that there is a need to push for climate action in all the territories in which we operate. All of the SDG mandates are very personal to us. We feel we have duty of care, and a need to reinforce these messages through all available platforms consistently,“ Obioma stated.

What made the campaign all the more remarkable was not just the bold and striking colour of the day but the enthusiasm with which people embraced the cause itself. It is quite possible that many in the organisation are beginning to view their natural environments via a green tinted lens.

Seyi Williams, a member of the Strategy department said “Living in a fast moving city like Lagos, it’s difficult to actually take time to think about what one can do to better the environment. Apparently there’s so much I can do in my little sphere of influence. I will certainly be walking to the office a lot more frequently instead of taking my car.”
Across the pond in Geneva, office manager Alina Spada, who was responsible for organising all activities in the build up to the event said “We got so excited and I discovered that so many of my colleagues are closet eco-warriors. I’m a vegan and it was so refreshing to discover others who shared my belief that veganism is good for the planet. It contributes towards reduction in water usage and carbon emissions.”
The #GoGreenforValentine campaign was a good opportunity to break down the ‘hows?’ and ‘whys?’ to those who might be skeptical about such theories. ”

In the spirit of consistency, the group is scaling its efforts to bring attention to the subject of climate change with a photography contest titled #TheGreenestLoveofAll- an Instagram-based competition via which Sahara’s strong social media following is encouraged to submit photos which capture the most striking images of their natural environment with mobile phones.

Obioma continued by saying “Again it’s all about sustaining the conversation. Why stop on Valentine’s Day or wait till Earth Day in April? Climate action should be important to all of us every waking day. #The GreenestLoveof All is designed to help achieve this.”

The organisation is currently negotiating a number of renewable energy projects which should lessen the dependency on fossil fuels and the many polluting effects that result from its continued use throughout the world.
A closing statement from the group’s communication team read: “The ‘Green’ themes we introduced early in February have been some of our most rewarding so far. It is an affirmation of our commitment as strategic partners for the realisation of the SDGs. It has been immensely gratifying to see the enthusiasm with which these campaigns were greeted by all our staff across the globe. We fully intend to sustain the momentum.”