HSBC Clean Air Achievers

HSBC’s Clean Air Achievers was a free program offered to Canadian students in grades 5 through 9 with two main goals: (1) to produce fewer greenhouse gasses (GHG) through reducing reliance on automobiles and (2) enhance fitness levels by choosing active modes of transportation. Program developers targeted this specific audience as they were found to be the most easily influenced to adopt new travel behaviors, with the youngest just beginning to develop their sense of independence and the oldest on the verge of becoming licensed drivers. Before launching the program, schools registered to participate were asked to target a 15% reduction in GHGs and a corresponding increase in active transportation. Champion athletes acting as key influencers were vital to the delivery of the program as these Olympic, Paralympic, and National Team athletes were committed to active living and transportation. These individuals were trained to present information to students at the beginning of the program and were available to students throughout program implementation as a point of contact offering support and encouragement. Each Champions’ presentation was accompanied by a number of resources including games and curriculum-connected activities that provided both theoretical and practical learning experiences. Trip Tracker, a website that recorded students' travel trips and quantified the amount of GHGs by mode of travel was used throughout the program to measure overall impact. Each trip entered by a student gave the total kilometres traveled and the total GHGs that would be reduced if the student chose to change their travel behaviors. Students were also invited to join the annual Champions Challenge for a chance to win $1,000 to go towards a green initiative at their school and to participate in a sporting event with two Clean Air Champions. To account for geographic variances or socio-economic disparities, the Clean Air Achievers program was adapted for each school allowing students to work towards realistic personal goals. In addition to analyzing data collected via Trip Tracker, the program was also evaluated via surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with teachers, youth, and champion athletes. From 2011 to 2012, there was a 30.6% average reduction in GHGs and a 45.2% increase in active transportation, with 3,230 youth from 87 schools participating in the program.

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