From Small Seeds to Cleaner Air: How SGS Peru Employees are Tackling Air Pollution Through Horticulture
The WHO report, which analyzed 1,600 cities in 91 countries, found that only 12 percent of the world's urban population breathes clean air. It was therefore no coincidence that the United Nations declared its topic for the 2019 World Environment Day to be "No Air Pollution".
Inspired to act on this issue, on June 5, 2019, SGS Peru launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness and generating good air quality through a national planting scheme. Plants are notoriously adept at absorbing gases through pores on the surfaces of their leaves. It is this ability that facilitates photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy and carbon dioxide into chemical energy to fuel growth.
The SGS Peru “Hands to Planting” campaign involved more than 800 employees planting almost 3,000 seeds and raising awareness of the actions necessary to minimize the impact of air pollution. After the seeds were delivered to locations across Peru, SGS employees in our offices and laboratories recorded the planting of their seeds with photographs, and then photographed the seeds again 15 days later, once they had germinated.
What the unsuspecting employees did not know was that out of 2,900 seeds, 2,800 were lettuce seeds but 100 were chili pepper seeds. Once photographs of the geminated seeds were submitted, it was clear which employees had planted chili plants and which ones had planted lettuce. The few who had been lucky enough to plant chili seeds received a prize. This innovative campaign was named by employees as the fourth most popular campaign (out of around 20) in 2019, according to an internal survey.
Inspector Patricia Chávez Estrada of Operations Chimbote commented: "Congratulations on your initiative to promote the cultivation, planting and care of plants to help conserve and improve the environment for the sake of health and life itself.”
The campaign was co-created by Operational Integrity and Marketing to reinforce innovation and sustainability among our workers. This year, we will promote different activities, campaigns and projects to raise awareness of conservation and care of the environment.