“I think the biggest thing we can help people understand, including our employees, is that it doesn’t require a major sacrifice to make a big difference,” said Lori Smith, senior vice president and Utah general manager at Fidelity Investments.
The Clear the Air Challenge is a month-long competition that gives residents the chance to reduce vehicle emissions by choosing alternative methods of transportation. By driving less and commuting smarter, we all can help improve air quality, reduce traffic and conserve energy in Salt Lake City.
Fidelity’s sustainability committee is committed to educating and engaging employees on TravelWise and clear air practices. To them, improving Utah’s air quality is a year-round initiative that starts with taking small steps to create beneficial change.
“The inversion hits us hard and the Challenge is a great way for Fidelity to organize and promote this campaign,” said Smith. “It serves as a great educational opportunity on the impact of poor air quality for anyone who lives in Utah, especially in the valley.”
Creating awareness and understanding is the first step. The team at Fidelity spreads the word through articles, internal websites, emails, posters and digital signs.
“The team effort helps that heightened sense of awareness and energizes the employees when they start to realize they really can make a difference in cleaner air without substantial changes to their lifestyle,” said Smith.
Small changes include carpooling, using active transportation, teleworking, trip chaining and riding mass transit.
To encourage small changes, Fidelity offers and subsidizes UTA passes as part of its benefit program. The organization extends environmental efforts into the community through planting trees at local elementary schools and partnering with Wasatch Community Gardens.
It all starts with a company culture that prioritizes environmental and sustainability practices. Winning the Challenge has helped Fidelity recruit and retain employees who share the same values. It has also created a positive example for Fidelity’s customers.
“We focus on taking steps to produce positive changes, monitor those results and try to always make progress towards our goal of reducing our environmental footprint,” said Smith. “I think the greatest reward is the impact it makes on our customers.”
Fidelity’s goal to minimize waste and invest in renewable energy sources includes in-house recycling programs, printing reduction, styrofoam elimination, lead certified buildings and electric vehicle charging stations in parking lots.
“One of the things that this Challenge did was help us realize in Utah how important this was to so many of our employees,” said Smith. “It allows us to celebrate coming together and something that is such a great cause.”
About 10 years ago, the Utah regional office was the first at Fidelity to form a sustainability task force. Since then, it has evolved into a company-wide sustainability special interest group, with 15 regional chapters nationwide.
“As we look at winning the Challenge, it’s not just one more feather in our cap,” said Smith. “It’s more like this is our mantra and what we stand for — improving where we live. This mindset reminds us that we’re continuing to make strides along the path to clean air and a better shared quality of life in Utah. When we win the Challenge, it gives a larger emphasis on what we’ve accomplished, the changes we’ve made and looking into the future.”