Contributing and Learning About Everyday Sustainability with the DoGoodPeople App

Esade Alumni recently organised the DGPeople–Esade Alumni initiative, a transformative and participatory app-based experience that invited the entire alumni community – students, alumni, and administrative and services staff – to meet sustainability and social-impact improvement challenges.

How did it work?

The app posed a series of daily challenges that required participants to adopt more sustainable habits and encouraged them to post about their experiences on the “wall” (as on social media). Participants scored points each time they reached a goal.

With these points, participants were able to vote on alumni-proposed initiatives that aligned with their own preferences. These initiatives will be considered for future areas of activity in the areas of sustainability, social contribution and impact.

In terms of participation, the DGPeople–Esade Alumni app was a great success: of the 300 people who signed up, 202 were active participants who downloaded the app and took part in at least one of the challenges.

The initiative helped to raise awareness in the alumni community about the role of Esade Alumni Social, as a majority of the participants (90.6%) had never taken part in the Pro Bono Consultants programme.

The app also managed to mobilise alumni who usually do not participate in the community very much (49.19% of participants were not very active) as well as younger alumni (54.9% were under 40 years of age). In short, the initiative proved popular across all groups.

Impact achieved

A total of 607 challenges were completed over a four-week period. Through their contributions, participants saved a total of 9,820 litres of water, avoided the emission of 103.13 kg of CO2 and prevented the generation of 3.63 kg of waste. These efforts had an impact on seven Sustainable Development Goals:

-Goal 1: End Poverty (76 challenges)
-Goal 5: Gender Equality (53 challenges)
-Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation (163 challenges)
-Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth (89 challenges)
-Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities (64 challenges)
-Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production (43 challenges)
-Goal 13: Climate Action (119 challenges)

Feedback on the initiative was very positive: 80% of participants reported that it had a positive impact on their contribution to sustainability.

With 2655 votes, the initiative that received the most support on the platform was “Personal Sustainable Practices”. To meet this demand, Esade Alumni offered a series of three webinars entitled “Consuming for Change: Cycle of 3 Webinars on New Healthy Habits to Improve Our Social and Environmental Impact”. Let’s meet the finalists.

Winners in positive social impact

Laura Bundó (Lic&MBA ‘02) decided to participate in the initiative out of both activism and curiosity: “Activism because in my household we have always lived by the values of environmental friendliness, the common good, people, respect and diversity; and curiosity because for the past few months I have been serving on my company’s European D&I committee, so I am especially attentive to any proposals and ideas that arise in my milieu.”

Laura is pleased with the experience, having focused her participation on dialogue and sharing experiences: “Whenever I undertook a challenge, I raised questions and asked for advice from people who posted their results. The feedback was very good: I got very interesting advice and suggestions for improving my proposals.” She now understands that she forms part of a concerned community that likes to share ideas and get things done. “It also assuaged my feelings of resignation, since I have seen companies that are already going further,” she added. “It’s not that difficult if you have the will.”

For Laura, the biggest challenge is to defend diversity in a more general sense that goes beyond gender. “In response to the challenge to do an activity associated with the other gender, I did an activity not associated with either gender but is considered inappropriate or even incompatible with my job as a controller: art, albeit at an amateur level,” she explained. She went on to say that if there are people at her company who are keen on running, competing in half marathons or cycling, they feed off each other and even create groups and clubs. “However, if there is someone in the company who sings in a choir or music group, who plays the piano, who is part of an amateur theatre or dance company, or is a member of a speed-painting group, they are seen as an oddball and may even hide it,” she explained. “Sport and art are both activities that, on the one hand, feed the amateur world that lays the indispensable groundwork for a professional world and, on the other hand, provide practitioners with knowledge and skills – teamwork, hard work, self-improvement, mental strength, relationship with diversity, etc. – which are very interesting on a professional level. Even so, defending the validity of the artistic world is still quite a challenge nowadays.”

M Mon (the pseudonym used by this participant during the DGPeople–Esade Alumni app challenge) prefers to remain anonymous in this interview, although she is delighted to share her experience with everyone at Esade Alumni who may be interested in having a positive impact in their everyday lives, especially with regard to the environment.

According to M Mon, some of the DGPeople challenges were thought-provoking. “I think I used them to get to know myself better,” she commented. “For example, after a challenge on gender stereotypes, I decided to take up a contact sport, which turned out to be a phenomenal decision. I have also picked up little habits from some of the challenges and ‘copied’ tricks or tips from fellow participants about how to improve my recycling system.” She also believes that this experience has helped her grow and become more aware of the impact we can have as individuals, as well as the positive potential that lies in each one of us.

In M Mon’s opinion, the atmosphere of gamification and cooperation during the experience was positive: “It got all participants to row in the same direction,” she concluded. “In the end, the planet won. Being one of the three people with the most points is very gratifying, but I think that everyone who participated deserves recognition.”

Gonca Gül Araz (MMM ‘17) was intrigued by the presentation of the initiative, which implored: Are you up to the challenge? Change the world through simple daily habits! Since she is always looking for ways to reduce her ecological footprint, she decided to participate with the aim of improving and creating long-lasting habits. “For me, the trickiest challenge was saving water, since this was something I had neglected ever since we started washing our hands more thoroughly to keep clean and safe,” she noted. “This experience taught me that it is possible to forget how crucial our habits are and how conscious we need to be.”

She is now very grateful to the initiative, “not only for reminding me of the little things I can do better, but also for showing me new sustainable actions that I was not aware of before”. She added: “This experience has also created a sense of responsibility and I have taken seriously the lessons I learned. I am now more determined than ever to do my part for the environment.”

As a community of responsible leaders, Esade Alumni is committed to sustainable business progress. There is much that companies can do to create a better world, we mustn’t forget that there is also much to be done at the individual level.