The following article was written by J. Rachel West, Vice President and Marketing & Events Manager at Westminster Business Consultants (WBC).
A few weeks ago, Westminster Business Consultants (WBC) in London teamed up with one of our partners in Paris, Junior ISIT to create MeGoGreen, an event based around collecting cigarette butts and litter. This was the first event of its kind with two Junior Enterprises working at the same time in different locations to clean up and make their communities greener.
Over the summer, WBC began a green initiative by following the SDG’s more closely and by posting our plans to create a greener WBC. We looked at each of our departments and thought about the ways in which we could make a better impact on the environment.
For example, our Marketing and Events department decided to go 100% plastic free at our events, and our Law department started using apps that grow trees when in use. We have even started a company wide initiative that all consultants have access to departmental meetings via Microsoft Teams to cut down on transportation pollution.
While we were creating our #WBCGoesGreen campaign, our partners, Junior ISIT, were also in the process of starting a similar movement in their Junior Enterprise. After a few emails back and forth, we finally had a call to discuss the opportunities for each of our JEs to go green. Sometime within the first call, the idea for a series of green events emerged. The first event of the series was going to be called “MeGoGreen” a play on words with the French word Mégo meaning cigarette butts, and English saying Me Go Green (not perfect English but it did the trick).
We decided that both of our JEs would have a two hour timeframe to collect as many cigarette butts and litter as they could! And just like that, the event was born and our cross Europe green movement had started.
From the beginning we knew that we wanted to clean up cigarette butts since they are the most littered item and the one that seems to be causing the most damage. They are so small that they look like food for some animals, they are polluting the oceans, and they take decades to decompose (Dangerfield, 2018). Plus, since we are both in major cities we knew that this was an issue that would be more prevalent than other littered items.
We decided that the best way to get people excited about the event would be to make it a friendly competition. We had everyone join as teams to see who could collect the most cigarette butts and litter. We picked a designated area and a time which worked best for everyone considering the time difference and sunset. We were lucky enough to have the executive board from Junior Enterprises Europe be the panel of judges to ensure that each winner was picked fairly. Moreover, they sent each winning team in London and in Paris a certificate from the event!
WBC decided early on to reach out for help with this event since, at the time, we were unfamiliar with the steps that were needed to make sure that this event could even take place. We reached out to the University of Westminster’s Environmental Society to see if they could help us logistically and on the day of the clean up. They were a fantastic support for us and got us in contact with CleanUp UK, a local charity helping communities in London combat the litter problem. CleanUp UK came out to the event and provided safety equipment, a permit from the borough, tools to use during the event, and a member of staff to assist us in anyway during the event.
We promptly started the event at 13:00 in London and 14:00 in Paris. The teams worked hard during the two hour timeframe, cleaning up all kinds of litter from newspapers, bottles, to tons of cigarette butts.
It would seem like you would clean one spot for 10 minutes, walk away, and when you would look back there would be new items. We were shocked to find in one corner of a tree over 10 cigarette butts, just in one corner!
The event truly opened our eyes to just how bad of a problem we had in London.
During the clean up, we enjoyed seeing what Junior ISIT was up to by following them on their Instagram stories. It was amazing to see so many Junior Entrepreneurs work together, even in different cities, to try and help our planet as best as we could. We were impressed by how much they were able to collect and getting to see all of our success together was empowering!
WBC was able to collect eight bags of litter that day! We made new connections with CleanUp UK who have asked us to come out again in the Spring for a giant clean up with other organisations.
We had networking moments with people working in offices nearby asking us who we were and why we were cleaning up. We even exchanged business cards with some who were asking us to follow up with them after the event.
It was reaffirming to us to see that our work was not going unnoticed and that we were making a greener impact in our community.
At the end of the day, our Team 2 won the award for most collected items! We celebrated by going to a pub for a pint and to warm up!
The event was a complete success! Both Junior Enterprises in London and in Paris contributed to our communities in a green way and started something that will hopefully last! The series of green events will not only impact the way we work as JEs but will also impact the way we, as individuals, live and work.
Thank you again to Junior ISIT, Junior Enterprises Europe, CleanUP UK, and the University of Westminster’s Environmental Society! We couldn’t have done this without you!
It only takes one eco-friendly warrior to make a greener future!
This article was written by J. Rachel West, Vice President and Marketing & Events Manager at Westminster Business Consultants (WBC).
Follow the event on facebook.