Impact of Act for Change

EPFL strives, through the Act for Change Challenge, to influence behavioural changes and thus to contribute to the protection of the environment.


Each edition of Act for Change has attracted between 9 and 10% of the target audience.

 November  2015
 Staff Challenge

  • Staff+ PhD
  • 3 weeks
  560 participants
  • 10% Staff+ PhD
  • 118 teams
 April 2016
 Student Challenge
  • Bachelor + Master
  • 2 weeks
 755 participants
  • 9% Bachelor + Master
  • 163 teams
 April 2017
 Staff Challenge 
  • Staff + PhD
  • 3 weeks
 589 participants
  • 10% Staff+ PhD
  • 105 teams
 November 2018
 Food Challenge

  • All Campus: Staff + students
  • 3 weeks
 1259 participants
  • 9% Staff+ students
  • 285 teams


Concrete results and ideas from the platform

The Act for Change platform allows participants to submit action ideas that are then prioritized and selected by the EPFL Environment Commission and implemented with the relevant stakeholders. Two examples of ideas that have been implemented:

  • introduction of washable dishes for take-out dishes
  • recognition action for campus cleaners at the end of each year

Engagement of participants in their structures

After participating in an Act for Change Challenge, some people commit themselves to sustainability within their departments, labs or even faculties with concrete measures. For example, following the last Challenge, several laboratories have decided to systematically plan vegetarian meals for their events, one of which is a major international conference. Another example is a petition signed by 813 people asking for the improvement of the vegan offer, proof of the progressive awakening of the community, was launched at the end of the last Challenge.

Impact of 2018 Act for Change Food Challenge

The innovation of the last edition in November 2018, which was focused on food, was to quantify the impact of the campaign, by associating the EPFL Data Science lab for the analysis of the data available, i.e. all food purchases on campus (7 years of data available). The data collected as part of the Act for Change Challenge have been pseudonymized in order to be used for research purposes at EPFL.

In order to measure the environmental impact of the Challenge, we only measured the number of vegetarian menus sold in campus restaurants. Analysis of the impacts of the Act for Change Food Challenge shows that the impact is significant, with 28% increase in vegetarian menus during the campaign but that it remains to be confirmed over the long term. The number of actions performed per participant also increases significantly with the size of the team, seeming to confirm the hypothesis that team participation stimulates action and commitment.


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