Monday, May 8, 2023
On Sunday 7 May, Colruyt Group Academy organised the very first ‘Gerust CO2-bewust’ (CO2 awareness) experience day in Melle. On the programme were more than 20 interactive and inspiring workshops, lectures and activities during which adults and children received useful tips on climate-friendly living, eating and mobility. The activities showed that small, budget-friendly efforts can already make a huge difference. By organising the event at its Academy in Melle, one of its flagship locations, Colruyt Group Academy wanted to encourage locals to come to the experience day. And they showed their enthusiasm with no less than 250 people signing up. The day was a collaboration between five Colruyt Group formulas – in addition to initiator Colruyt Group Academy, Colruyt Lowest Prices, Bio-Planet, Bike Republic and DATS 24 - and numerous external partners took part.
Varied and (inter)active sustainability programme
From home composting and climate-friendly gardening, to vegetarian food, energy efficiency and electric driving. People who signed up for the ‘Gerust CO2-bewust’ experience day were able to attend workshops and lectures or explore the information and food stalls. Information specifically aimed at children was also provided. Alone, or with their (grand)parents, they were able to participate in workshops, including eco-spaghetti making, bicycle maintenance or mini-wind turbine construction. Or take part in games or do handicraft, all completely ecological of course, because fringe animation was also provided.
Part of a wider CO2 programme
The ‘Gerust CO2-bewust’ experience day is part of the Colruyt Group Academy learning programme of the same name: three interactive sessions where about 20 participants are coached to lead more climate-friendly lives and make considered choices together with their household. In addition to tips, they also have to accept some challenges in their daily lives, and share their experiences in a closed Facebook group. The sessions are given by partners and internal experts of Colruyt Group. For example, Maarten Van Houdenhove, expert at DATS 24, talked about how you can easily save energy at home and Veerle Maes, lecturer at the Flemish compost organisation (Vlaco), talked about how to avoid food loss. At the end of May, Bart Vandermaelen, based on his expertise at Bike Republic, a chain of bike shops, concluded the programme with practical tips on how to plot nice and safe bicycle routes.
To stimulate a more sustainable life, Colruyt Group Academy not only wants to focus on knowledge about the subject, but also on soft skills. That's why it works with KlimaatContact which supervises the whole programme. The experts of this organisation are specialised in climate psychology and teach participants specific techniques on how to talk to family members, friends or relatives about climate change and the choices they make. They're encouraged to use positive and connecting communication to allow others to take this information on board.
“The whole learning programme is based on a positive outlook,” Barbara Van Schaeren, department head at Colruyt Group Academy, clarifies. “Nobody is judged based on their habits or ideas. And gradually participants discover what choices and actions suit their households and what really makes a difference. A few small changes can already make a huge difference. They certainly don't have to change their entire lifestyle. The idea behind it is to make more sustainable living as accessible as possible.” As this is a pilot project, the learning programme is free for all 20 participants. “We'll evaluate the programme afterwards to possibly expand it. In any case, we'll continue to focus - in whatever form - on different sustainability themes,” Van Schaeren concludes.
More attention for sustainability in Colruyt Group Academy offer
The ‘Gerust CO2-bewust’ pilot project – with both a learning programme and experience day – fits in the existing training offer of Colruyt Group Academy which has been organising specific workshops and (digital) lectures on the environment for some time. This includes ‘Greener on the road’, ‘Debunking packaging myths’ and ‘Less food waste’. The new initiatives are also in line with parent company Colruyt Group's ambitions to help customers make more eco-friendly choices step by step. The group also does this, for example, by introducing the Eco-score and encouraging its use via the savings programme in the Xtra app.
“As the largest Belgian retailer, Colruyt Group is at the heart of society and has a good insight into the needs of its customers,” Van Schaeren says. “The various formulas of our group help households to meet their daily needs and therefore provide an excellent insight into what consumers worry about. Themes such as mental and physical health, but also climate change, mobility and the energy transition, are raising more and more questions. By gradually broadening our range and launching new learning programmes or sessions, Colruyt Group Academy is increasingly providing answers. We want to let internal and external experts have their say, but also share ideas with our customers and see opportunities in the challenges ahead.”
Find more information on the experience day.