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A Go Green Expo Breathes New Life into Sustainability

POSTED UNDER By Our Associates

Earth Week is always a major event at Macy’s, Inc., and Earth Week 2017 was particularly impactful for the Macy’s Credit and Customer Service (MCCS) West Go Green employee resource group (ERG) in Tempe, AZ. “Our ERG was restarting at ground level,” said Robin Engelbeck, project manager with Credit Services Operations Support. “It had been more management-driven, and there was a conscious effort to make it more Associate-driven, to give it new life and to generate new ideas and higher engagement.”

“Earth Week events get a lot of focus, but many Associates don’t realize there are events and activities throughout the year,” added Michelle Habrat, operations manager for Gift Card Operations. “We wanted to change that.”

Engelbeck and Habrat, who are co-chairs for the MCCS West Go Green ERG, decided to kick off their efforts with an Eco Expo. “We created the expo to reintroduce our whole facility to the Go Green ERG, to let more people know what we’re doing in sustainability, and to provide new ideas for living more sustainably,” said Engelbeck.

The late September event attracted about 100 people, according to Engelbeck, who said, “We held a prize drawing and gave out tickets to each attendee to help us keep track.” She added, “We know not everyone who attended entered the drawing, so attendance was actually higher than that.” The expo stretched over the course of an afternoon to give more people an opportunity to take part in the expo and its multiple activities.

“We had recycling activities for kids, recycled items on display, and demonstrations showing how items can be creatively upcycled,” said Habrat. Those activities included creating Halloween decorations out of repurposed items and crafting disposable water bottles into planters. “We painted the water bottles and then planted seeds in them. Participants were then able to take their new planter home,” said Engelbeck. Habrat added, “We had a vendor showing how old linens can be recycled, as well as how bras can be recycled to help people in third-world countries.” Another vendor demonstrated how to turn old denim items, such as jeans and jackets, into dog toys, and another showed a technique for turning magazine pages and colorful fliers into beautiful paper beads.

“The Phoenix Zoo has a great recycling program, and we invited them to talk about its efforts and share ideas,” said Habrat. In addition, videos about repurposing items and recycling were a popular part of the expo. The Go Green ERG team also helped connect more Macy’s Associates with what Macy’s is doing to be more sustainable and how they can help. “We highlighted where recycling is available in the building and what Macy’s is already doing to recycle more and to use fewer resources,” said Engelbeck.

The response to the event was even better than this enthusiastic team expected. “People really enjoyed getting an alternate view of what they can do to be involved, and finding some new ideas for how they can be greener – things that are easy to do and make a positive impact,” said Engelbeck. Habrat agreed and added, “We got a lot of great comments – people were really impressed. Many were hesitant coming in, but they got excited when they saw what we were doing.”

The expo’s success and the team’s hard work continue to pay off. The MCCS West Go Green ERG has added about 12 new members and is generating “some really, really excellent ideas,” according to Engelbeck and Habrat. In fact, they started a weekly contest on their internal Yammer page for people who join the ERG. “Associates are really making it their committee, and they’re running with it.”

Up next for this Go Green ERG: exploring a potential partnership with Recycled City, a Phoenix company that offers composting services to companies in the area. “It provides bins to collect refuse, and then it is collected and composted. The compost can be returned, or it can be donated to a community garden,” said Habrat. “We know there are a lot of people who are interested in composting, but we often hear that they don’t know how to start. We think this would be a great way to help them get started.” (A similar program recently re-launched at Macy’s downtown Cincinnati corporate offices.)

Congratulations to the Go Green ERG team! Thank you for re-invigorating your facility and for encouraging even more Associates to make a positive impact on our planet.

How are you making a positive impact? Tell us what you’re doing and why it matters.


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Macy’s Go Green Employee Resource Groups
7 Fast and Easy Green Resolutions
GreenFest and Special Guests – A New Go Green ERG Takes Root
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