NWEI’s Hungry for Change Course Inspires Employees to Take On Healthy Eating at Work

Ecova employees petition for healthier vending options after participating in NWEI's Hungry for Change course
PECI employees succeed in offering healthier vending options after participating in NWEI’s Hungry for Change course

As we head into 2014, we’re excited to highlight another story of an organization taking action, this time after participating in Northwest Earth Institute’s Hungry for Change discussion course this past Spring. As NWEI’s Executive Director Mike Mercer notes, “This is another great example of a company already doing so much great work in the sustainability realm, now doing more of the right thing when employees ask a question and step forward into the solution.”

PECI’s Marketing Associate Kelly Merrick and several of her co-workers were concerned about the not-so-healthy options available in PECI’s Avanti Market vending machine – as well as the company’s subsidizing of soda rather than more healthy food options. “We thought that healthy options should be subsidized as a way to encourage employees to eat healthier,” she said. “This fall, PECI’s Green Team promoted a Sustainability Kick Start Program, where employees could submit applications for funds to promote a sustainable activity in our office. The categories were broad – it could be something that had to do with health, company culture, energy use, you name it. So Jason, Michelle and I submitted an application to subsidize fresh fruit in the marketplace.”

Their application was approved in September, and now fruit is being subsidized. “It was originally being sold for $0.50 a piece, but we are now subsidizing it at $0.40 a piece, bringing the cost for employees down to just 10 cents! We also worked with Avanti to re-arrange the display, provide more fruit and put the fruit in a more visible place (before it was in baskets low to the ground and out of sight). We only have a limited number of dollars to fund the subsidy through the Kick Start program but we are hoping that it will be successful enough that the company will pick up the cost after our funds run out. We’re proud that we have been able to provide healthier options for employees.”

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