The home-ground advantage


By Roger Sharp, Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer at Bupa APAC.

When it comes to most sports, there’s an almost unanimously accepted philosophy that states in order to reign supreme at the end of the season, you must win your home games.

 Whilst the rules of the game don’t change whether you’re playing home or away, the prevailing wisdom is that at home you’re operating in familiar surroundings with your fans, your community and all the idiosyncrasies and superstitions of your field. In short, familiarity should, and most often does, breed success.

Facing into challenges

In the lead-up to Earth Hour 2024, I’ve been thinking about the concept of a home-ground advantage when it comes to sustainability, and I think there could be something to it.

The issues around climate change can often seem overwhelming with melting polar icecaps in Antarctica along with record global temperatures and greenhouse gas levels, and it can be hard for an individual or a family to even know where to start. Or worse yet, to ask whether it’s even worth starting in the first place.

When you look at tackling a major challenge ahead, a successful outcome can often feel out of reach. But when you break it down into stages, one step (or one game) at a time, it helps the pathway become a little clearer, and more manageable.

 Of course, step 1 is winning at home.

 Your home ground and your planet

 At Bupa, we have strong ambitions to become a Net Zero Business by 2024. To achieve this we have implemented some significant initiatives to make this possible, such as switching to 100% renewable electricity, working with start-ups to address some of the challenges facing the health of our planet and finding new ways to deliver healthcare more sustainably.  

However, we know that it’s the power of individuals that will really drive this home through their engagement, their proactivity, and their everyday actions which, when added together, can make a monumental impact as a collective.

That’s why we are helping our people and our customers ‘win at home,’ through a range of grass-roots sustainability initiatives. We are helping them bring biodiversity back into their homes and local communities with the help of the Bupa Foundation and conservation partners and we are supporting our people to access savings, and reduce carbon, by moving to renewable electricity in their homes.

From a waste reduction perspective, we are giving health insurance customers the to claim with digital membership cards and move away from plastic options, while at Bupa Dental local communities have the opportunity to recycle their household dental waste at our practices.

Small decisions, big impact

Of course, one business or one household can’t fix climate change on its own, but when you add up all those little changes together can make a big difference to the health of our planet and our communities.

So, before you say to yourself, why bother switching off during Earth Hour, composting your food or taking a reusable coffee cup to the local cafe, it’s not going to change anything. Remember that each action you take at home, where you have the most autonomy to affect change, can help you win more broadly.

And if we as humankind can consistently win our home games year-round, we will go a long way towards fixing those bigger-picture environmental problems that once upon a time seemed insurmountable.    

So, let’s all do our part and #SwitchOff for 60 minutes this Earth Hour, get a win on the board and build some global momentum towards a healthier planet for healthy people.