Here at Box, our Green Team aims to get our Boxers engaged on all levels and consider what more they could be doing to live a more sustainable life. We recently sat down with Green Team Lead, Anna Spallino, to learn more about the team’s impact and initiatives. Here are the highlights from that conversation:
Let’s start from the beginning! Feel free to introduce yourself, your role here, and how long you’ve been at Box.
I’m Anna Spallino and I’m on our Business Development team and I’ve been at Box for 4 years.
How did you first learn about the Green Team? How have you been involved with the Green Team since then?
Sustainability has always been an important aspect of my life and something that I’ve always looked at critically. I was introduced to sustainability at a young age. My family was actually the first family in the world to have a hydrogen fuel cell car, which was a great experience since we were exposed to the pollution that cars bring and how innovation could help alleviate some of the problems we were seeing from that. That has always been something in my life that I’ve wanted to incorporate.
So when I got to Box, even though we’re not necessarily an emission-focused company on sustainability, I knew there must be people who were interested in sustainability like I was. I simply looked within our employee interest communities and thankfully saw that Box did! From there, I joined a small team of individuals interested in similar things and taking some of their time to participate in sustainability efforts.
What is the Green Team’s mission and key pillars that guides the work, programs, and initiatives that members participate in?
Simply put, our mission is to “promote sustainability and conservation at Box through Boxers”. Our vision is “for all Boxers to recognize and act upon ways to improve their environmental impact at work, at home, and in their communities”. These are the 3 major lenses that we’re always looking at when thinking through more we could be doing and is something that we look at when we’re thinking of initiatives and/or programs to run.
That first part - “at work.” How can we make our lives at the office more sustainable? Can we help our Workplace Services team take out plastic water bottles and replace them with cans? Can we run a program to encourage Boxers to bring their own bottles to refill instead of taking a single-use bottle off the shelf?
Additionally, “at home” has become a more important pillar as we’ve transitioned from a predominantly in-office working style to more of a virtual-to-hybrid model in the past 2 years. This is something we’ve brought more into focus, as it’s become a more blended part of our work-home life. We’ve done things like a “Cooking with Scraps” class where we taught people how to take scraps they usually put in the trash, like ends of cauliflowers and peels, and show them how to make that into delicious food instead of seeing it as waste.
Regarding “in their communities” - Box is extraordinary in how thoughtful and how they engaged with communities, so we’re always looking at ways we can partner with like-minded organizations and have joint missions to make a bigger impact, including beach clean-ups, park clean-ups, and partnerships to even do events external to Box.
In the past 2 years, we’ve had to shift to a fully virtual working environment. How has the Green Team’s efforts pivoted to help remotely?
The pandemic was a unique time where everything was 100% remote, but a lot of things that transpired there that is still sticking in terms of workplace habits. There is a much larger population that is still fully remote as well as considerably hybrid, so we have to make sure that Green Team and sustainability as a whole is accessible to all Boxers around the world, not just those in our HQ office. Because of this, we’ve brought a lot more emphasis around running campaigns on Slack and Zoom. For example, we ran a “Plastic Free July” program that was 100% over Slack, allowing people to post photos showcasing non-plastic alternatives and the ability to win prizes. Our Green Team Slack channel currently has over 150 people in it, so the amount of people we could reach was a lot bigger than what we could typically do in an office setting.
What are a few things that Boxers and the Green Team did for Earth Month back in April?
We planned a lot of great activities for Earth Month, with events strictly in-person, some over Slack, and a few over Zoom as well.
All month long, one of our major Slack-based initiatives is a 5-Day Challenge that includes Meatless Monday’s, Plastic-Free Tuesday’s, Clean Transit Wednesday’s, Thrifted Thursday’s, and Buy-Local Friday’s. Members are encouraged to participate by posting a picture to the Slack channel, where they can then accumulate points and qualify for a prize as top scorer. What’s really great to see is the engagement overall, such as beautiful morning commutes from Sydney to Tokyo, and how this reach over Slack is inspiring others globally to change their habits in a way that’s still fun.
One in-person event that we hosted in a bunch of different regions (SF, RWC, ATX, CHC) is a sustainable “Happy Hour + DIY Beer Can Succulent Planters.” After drinking sustainable beers from sustainable breweries, we up-cycled beer cans into DIY succulent gardens for our home/office spaces that can also clean the air instead of it throwing these cans out. Our Green Team members from Japan also did an awesome beach cleanup in Tokyo, where they were able to collect quite a lot of garbage in 1 hour and even meet some Boxers for the first time in person!
Box has recently introduced an Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance approach document this year that had a lot of support and partnership from the Green Team. It highlights some new achievements and what that looks like in Tech at other companies as well. We hosted a “Creekside” virtual event with Box’s VP Communities and Impact and Executive Director, Box.org, Corrie Conrad, and Okta’s Director of ESG & Sustainability, Alison Colwell, to discuss “Enterprise Tech’s Role In Sustainability.” Technology isn’t looked at with much scrutiny than an oil company, but we all have a part to play and recognizing how we can do better in this space is still important.
What are your hopes for the Green Team’s future? Any last sentiments or thoughts you’d like to share out?
My hopes for the Green Team’s future is that Boxers all consider themselves ambassadors of the Green Team, regardless of their participation, because sustainability is an important part of all of our lives, such as climate change. Just bringing some focus and ownership, like we do to other things at Box, is what I aspire all Boxers to recognize as a part of their lives. I also hope that the Green Team can continue to build up our relationship with Box as a company and do more things such as work on the ESG report, integrating sustainability into all of Box’s processes and considerations, and equally build out greater relationships with the community. Figuring out how we can work closer with our peer in Tech or local NGO’s is something I’d like to do more of, because aiding in community issues is something we can’t solve without the communities’ engagement and participation.