The 2023 Clear the Air Challenge marked the 14th consecutive year that Utah businesses, organizations and individuals came together to decrease our emissions and clear our state’s air. After the month of competition came to an end, the final statistics were announced: thanks to statewide participation, we were able to reduce 365.1 tons of CO2 emissions, eliminate 55,179 trips, reduce 1,027,027.3 miles traveled, save $600,000 and burn 1.9 million calories in just 31 days. What’s more, countless Utah businesses shared their feedback: the Challenge brought their teams together, encouraged camaraderie and even brought some entertainment to the workplace.
“For me, it’s a way for the whole community, even competing businesses, to come together,” explained Eric Bradbury, a Challenge team manager for Architectural Nexus. “It’s a way to have friendly competition but also to have rapport.”
Bradbury’s team took home the First Place Small Team trophy for 2023, and they went above and beyond to make the experience fun for their employees — they sent out funny email reminders and even memes to keep people motivated.
It wasn’t just the small teams that had fun during the Challenge, though. Teams like the University of Utah were able to not only compete with other teams across the state but also with each other. Each of their departments had its own subteams, and hundreds of university employees made it a point to contribute, leading their organization to a Third Place Large Team award.
“[The Clear the Air Challenge] brings a bunch of people across the organization together,” said University of Utah Director of Environmental and Social Sustainability Alexis Lee. “It’s fun to create subteams and compete internally, if you want to, and it pushes you to try something new.”
Brad Pettigrew, Senior Advisor of Business Operations for Dell Technologies, agreed that the competition aspect is an easy way to motivate people to work towards a common goal.
“Healthy competition is always good, especially when there isn’t really any loser,” Pettigrew said. “We are all working towards the same goal of helping our environment.”
The Fidelity Investments team, who took home the prestigious First Place Large Team trophy, explained that the Challenge was not only an enjoyable experience but also a beneficial one.
“Participating in the Challenge each year is something our associates always look forward to. Our sustainability committee works hard to educate and engage our associates in the efforts, and we are all very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together as a team,” said Lori Smith, Utah Regional Leader for Fidelity. “The Challenge, and our participation in it, also helps in our talent recruiting and retention efforts here in Utah, as it highlights us as an organization that is committed to showing up and working closely with local leaders to make a real difference in our community.”
Although the 2023 Challenge is over, many teams are already getting ready for next year. Their advice for any businesses or individuals who are thinking about joining the next Challenge? Just do it!
“If you’ve been curious about how you can change your driving habits, your daily commute or the difference you can make in Utah, this is the Challenge that will help you with that,” said David Vasquez, a participant from the State of Utah Agencies. Their team scored second place in the Large Teams category, but they’re planning to come back next year better than ever.
“The Clear the Air Challenge is a best practice,” said Michelle Brown, coordinator for resource stewardship for the state. “We’ll definitely be participating next year — we’re coming after Fidelity!”
For more information about the Clear the Air Challenge, click here. The Challenge will return in July 2024.