Behind the (Code) Lines: CSR Committee
Introduction to the Sparkers CSR Committee:
Sparkers is a company with a strong commitment to making a positive social and environmental impact within its community. The CSR committee at Sparkers is a group of employee volunteers who are devoted to corporate social responsibility. It was established in April 2021, and now is composed of 9 members from the community. Throughout the year, the committee plans different initiatives in order to raise awareness about different issues and what Sparkers as a company can do to help.
The CSR committee at Sparkers is a group of employee volunteers who are devoted to corporate social responsibility.
During September of this year during European Mobility Week, the CSR committee at Sparkers organized a competition for its employees, who split into teams and competed a variety of challenges to learn about different available methods of transport and to reduce CO² emissions. The employees participated in challenges such as trying to take as many different types of alternative methods of transport as possible, walking to lunch together, taking a mobility quiz, and competing for “walker of the day.”
Over the course of the mobility week, thanks to the CSR committee, the Brussels office of the company reached some impressive results in their usage of alternative transportation methods:
Carsharing: 514.47 km
Bicycle: 160.5 km
Electric scooter/car: 572.1 km
Tram: 101.5 km
Train: 1301 km
Electric Bike: 153.4 km
Bus: 463.2 km
Walking: 133.7 km
In addition to these statistics, Sparkers won second place in the Belgian Mobility Week Challenge and qualified for the overall European Competition, a proud accomplishment for the CSR committee.
In honor of Mobility Week and the CSR committee’s efforts, we interviewed one of its members, Martin, who was crucial to the planning of Mobility Week, to learn more about what happens behind the scenes and about the committee.
Interview with Martin: CSR Committee Member
What is CSR for you? 🌱
For me CSR is essential in a company that is preparing for the future. In today’s world, it’s quite impossible to function without having negative impacts at all, but based on common effort, we try to do the best with our abilities to reduce and/or compensate for them. More often than not, those efforts are good for the morale and productivity of the company anyway.
For me CSR is essential in a company that is preparing for the future.
Can you introduce the CSR committee for us?
Being conscious of CSR issues has always been in the culture of Sparkers. In April 2021, under the direction of management, we gathered a few employees to really structure and organize our CSR initiatives, communicate about them, etc. It was important because it allowed us to really put in the necessary time and resources.
The first step was a thorough analysis of our impact on the different stakeholders in our business. We had the help of Koffi Ziggar, an expert in CSR. We were really excited to learn that we were already doing really well and the analysis pointed us to the remaining gaps to fill in terms of sustainability.We formed a CSR committee, composed of David, Nicolas, Ophélie, Muriel and myself, quickly joined by Julien, Trang, and Justine.
Why did you decide to join the CSR committee?
When I was 7, I joined the boy scouts, and my love and curiosity for nature and the planet forged my convictions that we need to preserve it. I’ve never doubted that human activity was a great threat that must be counter-attacked. So I always fought, in every group I joined, to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
It was natural when Sparkers started to discuss a CSR committee that I would get involved.
I always fought, in every group I joined, to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
What have you already implemented to improve Sparkers's commitment to CSR?
Among other things, we:
- Created the communication channels to facilitate carpooling.
- Brought organic snacks in bulk to the office.
- Organized a CO² Reduction Challenge during the Mobility Week, for which we won 2nd place at the Belgian Company Mobility Competition.
- Co-Organized with the Club Committee an afterwork with local organic products in partnership with Poll’n.
- With the help of HR, negotiated one day a year of volunteer leave.
- With the help of HR, put company bikes on the table for employee mobility.
- Reorganized trash management in the office to increase recycling and reduce the overall amount of waste.
What was your personal favorite event organized by the CSR committee and why?
I’m mostly proud of the Mobility Week contest. It was a lot of work to organize but the game was really unique and people enjoyed it. Also, we noticed a real impact in CO² emissions and in awareness of mobility issues in general.
What would you like to do in the future? Any specific projects?
A lot of things, but here are a few examples.
Later this year, we want to organize a blood drive, register for the European Mobility Contest, schedule weekly veggie lunches, and more.
Next year will be our next “Big Project.” We’ll register for the World Cyber Cleanup, a day of awareness-raising about the environmental footprint of digital technology through action. The objective is to generate awareness by inviting 5% of the population to take concrete action by cleaning up their data and/or giving a second life to all their digital equipment that is sleeping in drawers. We’ll organize concrete workshops where we delete useless data, educate on how to produce less data to start with, etc.
Next year will be our next “Big Project.” We’ll register for the World Cyber Cleanup, a day of awareness-raising about the environmental footprint of digital technology through action.
Is it easy to get involved and how?
Of course, anyone in the company can join. The more the merrier! Just contact one of the current members. We have regular meetings where everyone can share their ideas and then usually a smaller group decides to tackle the initiative they love the most.
How has the committee allowed you to connect with your colleagues?
For people outside the committee, we really became the contact people for when they get ideas about anything CSR : sustainability, work conditions, and other related issues, so I often find myself discussing CSR with everyone. It’s funny because they seem to think we are experts so we get a lot of questions, sometimes complicated questions. I love to answer them, and those exchanges are great inspiration fuel for the next CSR Committee meeting!