Designer Vivienne Westwood, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and Vice President of the European Parliament Isabelle Durant launched a citizens’ Green Economy Initiative in October 2011 ahead of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). On 11 October, media partners announced fromBrusselsthe launch of the “GreenUp programme” and its collaborative web platform, focussing on the 10 key economic sectors to be greened-up.
GreenUp means greening our economy with the help of citizens worldwide. GreenUp provides resources to citizens to help them connect their every-day choices to support a Green Economy. Thus the GreenUp initiative, powered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), brings the Green Economy to citizens' doorsteps.
The GreenUp website provides resources for contributing to the Green Economy through every-day choices and sharing success stories of the Green Economy in action. The site includes a “GreenUp Tips” section and also an “Actions” section where GreenUp’s sub-campaigns can be found. GreenUp launched two initiatives, the Tree-Shirt campaign which aims to reconnect Europe’s forested areas, and the Let’s Travel Together campaign which aims at promoting public transportation as a sustainable way of living.
GreenUp has also focused on social media and actively use Facebook http://www.facebook.com/GreenUp.UNEP and Twitter http://twitter.com/unepgreenup to attract and involve citizens.
With 2011 having been the International Year of Forests, the first action of the ‘Green Up’ programme concentrated on the key challenges and threats related to forests and what needs to be done to restore them.
Forests across the globe are central to combating climate change and studies show that they play a key part of realizing a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy. At the launch of GreenUp, Dame Vivienne Westwood collaborated with UNEP to design the “Tree-Shirt”, as a way to raise funds to help reconnect Europe’s forested areas.
The essential Vivienne Westwood design was printed on shirts donated by the Anvil Eco T-Shirt Collection™ and each shirt includes a Shirt Scan™ Code with additional information on the GreenUp programme.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, emphasized at the launch that “GreenUp, with the help of Dame Vivienne, can assist to demystify the Green Economy and make it practical so that people can make a difference.”
About Let’s Travel Together
Amongst various citizens’ actions, GreenUp launched a sister campaign called “Let’s Travel Together” aimed at promoting sustainable travel. UNEP, together with dozens of train, metro, bus and carpooling companies across Europe, launched the Let’s Travel Together campaign to stimulate changed behavior of travelers and commuters by inviting citizens to virtually share their ride with friends and jump on the ’sustainable spaceship’.
As part of UNEP’s GreenUp initiative, Let’s Travel Together shows in a virtual and entertaining way how sustainable transport can help kick-start the transition towards a Green Economy. Carpooling or taking public transport reduces environmental impacts and economic costs while strengthening communities. Europeans who carpooled from 2008 to 2011 saved over 630,000 tonnes in carbon emissions, 324 million liters of gas and 750 million Euros. In 2009, railways only produced 1.8% of total CO2 emissions from the transport sector, corresponding to 0.6% of total CO2 emissions in EU27.
The campaign is designed with social media in mind: Let’s Travel Together’s centrepiece is a web application where one’s Facebook avatar appears on a green, futuristic vehicle together with everyone who has pledged to take sustainable transport. Participants are also able to embark the animal of their choice on the virtual journey; if they convince their friends to join the adventure, they enter the campaign competition and have the possibility of winning free tickets.
Transport companies and associations have promoted Let’s Travel Together on their websites and social media channels, encouraging visitors to get on board, invite friends and enter for a chance to win free travel in Europe.