“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world” were the sagacious words penned by renowned cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, which ring true today more than ever. Case in point is the recent annual eco clean-up event in Almaty City, Kazakhstan which was organized by local QNET employees who advocate for a more responsible approach to nature and the environment.
Amir Asanov, the regional communications officer for the Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (RCIS) department of QNET shared, “I recently learned that the first eco clean-up event held a few years ago inspired our Independent Representatives (IRs) to start conducting similar events across the country of their own volition. They do it for the betterment of their communities and the environment; and we were so pleased to find out that we had inadvertently set an example for them.”
The eco clean-up corporate social responsibility (CSR) event was first held in Almaty City in 2019 with the support of RYTHM Foundation, the social impact arm of the QI Group, and local partners, Recycle Birge. Recycle Birge, which literally translates into ‘Recycle Together’, is a social movement with a mission to help people and businesses consciously introduce eco-friendly habits through environmental education in all possible formats.
The event highlighted the importance of sorting trash for recycling as a lifestyle habit for the betterment of the environment
As the event focused on the conservation of nature as well as on educating participants about the importance of collecting household solid waste and separating it into fractions for recycling, Recycle Birge played a crucial role in selecting experts to impart information via a short lecture during the event regarding the importance of proper waste management. The lecture provided insight into how the world reached its current state supported by statistical facts, current and future expectations, as well as the best practices for recycling.
Asanov said: “The lecture took twice as long as we expected because as the experts began their sharing, participants became more engaged in the topic of discussion and were actively asking questions. It’s not just giving simple instructions for the clean-up; it’s also imparting knowledge to educate the participants so that they will be encouraged to incorporate environmentally friendly practices in their daily lives and perhaps even educate others in the future. We started the actual clean-up 40 minutes later than we were supposed to!”
The eco clean-up CSR included a lecture that included facts to paint a picture of our fate if we fail to recycle now
While the pandemic halted efforts in 2020, this year, the QNET Kazakhstan team was determined to keep up the tradition of the annual eco clean-up, particularly due to the dire need of the moment.
“There are a lot of parks within Almaty City with rubbish strewn across the grounds, and the amount is really terrifying. There were even recent news reports in the media about how polluted the Turgen Waterfalls and the park have become. We looked into it, and we knew this was a problem we wanted to bring to light; that’s how we decided to conduct this CSR there this time. Thankfully we managed to get approval from local authorities to run this year’s clean up because we were addressing an urgent need,” said Asanov.
Participants also got to enjoy the wonderful scenery at the Turgen Waterfalls during the eco clean-up
Thus, the partnership between QNET Kazakhstan, RYTHM Foundation and Recycle Birge was revived for this year’s edition of the eco clean-up that was held in October. Despite the restrictions to the size of the group due to the pandemic, 26 participants comprising QNET employees, independent representatives, volunteers, and representatives from Recycle Birge collected 35kgs en masse during the event at the Turgen Waterfalls.
Participants collected 35kgs of trash around the Turgen Waterfalls during the event
“Even though our CSR event was just a small event, we are hopeful that it will incite and drive similar events in the future. Whether it is by our employees or other companies, we hope to see these types of events on a larger scale to spread awareness and protect the environment,” said Asanov.
As a business with a heart, QNET has long-since inculcated an ethos of service and sustainability into its corporate philosophy which is deeply ingrained in its employees. It advocates for the recycling of waste and a plastic-free society, even banning single-use plastics in all its offices, events, and conventions as part of its commitment to ensuring eco-friendly and sustainable practices in everything it does.
QNET employees around the world embrace sustainability and a plastic-free society.
Asanov himself shares about how this corporate philosophy is also woven into his daily life, “My wife buys different coloured plastics made from recycled material for us to sort our garbage at home according to categories like wet waste, plastics, paper, etc. Even my kids know to sort their trash in the right containers because they know I’m particular about how they throw their waste. These habits made me aware, and I started promoting a plastic-free society and recycling to those around me too.”
QNET is so rooted in these company values that it should come as no surprise that the inaugural eco clean-up event back in 2019 was attended by executive-level managers, including its V Partner, David Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Malou Caluza, and Chief Communications Officer, Ramya Chandrasekaran.
Asanov shares how the participation of c-suite executives in CSR events has the potential to impact the entire organisation: “When people see that even the top-level managers are humble enough to not only join this kind of an event, but also to pay attention and participate actively, it triggers others to launch into action too. It creates awareness and sets an example for others to follow suit and the impact snowballs.”
Participants picking trash around the park to be sorted into categories and sent to recycling centers.
“Educate and lead the path for others to follow by putting the habit of recycling to practice. Eventually it will become ingrained in you and perhaps even trickle down to drive those around you to do the same. Today, you might be doing it alone, but tomorrow there could be ten more people doing it, and every bit counts,” said Asanov.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world” – Margaret Mead