ArcelorMittal recognises the lack of environmental awareness is a global challenge. In India, with its growing population, it is extremely important to make children and youth aware of the importance of saving the planet.
India's fast growing economy needs not only to ensure environmental standards to compete with other countries, but also to preserve a sustainable environment for future generations.
The company respond to this through the ‘CO2: Pick Right towards Growth and Sustainability' campaign. This unique initiative of the Ministry of Environment & Forests was implemented by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), in partnership with ArcelorMittal, the world largest steel company, and the ArcelorMittal Foundation.
The campaign originated from the UNEP's 2008 campaign "CO2: Kick the Habit towards a low carbon economy". The first phase of the Pick Right campaign - called ‘Kaun Banega Bharat ka Paryavaran Ambassador' (Who Will Become The Environment Ambassador of India) - focused on the selection of India's first Environmental Ambassador as chosen by students from 200,000 schools in India. The campaign was officially launched by the Honourable President of India, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, on World Environment Day in 2008.
The CO2: Pick Right campaign has two phases:
1. To choose an Environment Ambassador of India by involving students from 200,000 schools throughout India under the ‘Kaun Banega Bharata Ka Paryavaran' initiative.
2. To spread awareness of environmental and climate change issues by educating 20 million children from 200,000 schools preparing them to be green leaders from 2010 onwards. The green leaders will be knighted as Paryavaran Mitras (Friends of the Environment).
The KBPA initiative adopted a unique methodology which involved disseminating a campaign kit on environment and climate change issues followed by the training of teachers and others from NGOs.
The Pick Right campaign is an excellent example of a successful partnership between Government, NGO and Business. The first of its kind for India in the field of climate change, this model sets a strong example for future collaborations.
The next challenge will be to expand this environmental education programme to reach the rest of India's adult population while supporting the continued development of India's green leaders. This will be accomplished over the next three years through the continued engagement of not only children, but also their teachers and parents.
To date, over 150 training sessions have been held for local educators and more than 200,000 schools have received campaign kits on environmental issues including climate change. The kits have been developed for children between the ages of 10-14 and are available in 15 different local languages.
More than 1,500,000 individual votes were received from children across India, with former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam emerging as the children's most popular choice.
Dr. Kalam will now become a spokesperson on issues focused towards the environment and climate change.
This project is a unique model for multi-sector partnerships that has engaged children on environmental issues in the hope of inspiring them to become India's future green leaders.