Tuesday, March 18, 2008

British employees dissatisfied with employer's environmental policies

Just one-fifth of British employees surveyed by the Carbon Trust said they thought their organisation was doing enough to cut its emissions. Shockingly, two-thirds said their employer had made no attempt to encourage them to consider ways of reducing their emissions by taking alternative transport to work.
Over two-thirds (70 per cent) of employees polled said they want to cut their carbon emissions but need more guidance and empowerment from their bosses.
We know that changes in workplace practices hold huge potential to help the environment. The following statistics demonstrate the impact of inefficiencies in the office:
  1. Office lights left on overnight use enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost five months
  2. A single computer left on overnight for a year creates enough carbon dioxide to fill a double-decker bus;
  3. A 2°c increase in office temperature creates enough CO2 in a year to fill a hot air balloon;
  4. A photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 30 cups of tea.

Hugh Jones, solutions director at the Carbon Trust says:

"the measures that will have the biggest impact and achieve the greatest energy savings require buy-in across a workforce...In the current economic climate it's never been more important for all businesses, of all sizes, to act on climate change. With savings of up to 20 per cent to be made on energy bills through no cost or cost effective measures it makes perfect business sense to empower employees to do their bit both at work and at home."

We can very simply make the changes to produce easy 'quick wins' that will reduce our workplace carbon emissions, cost us nothing to implement, and in fact save us money on bills! Naming just a few, easy steps we could make are:

  • Thinking twice before printing documents;
  • Printing documents double-sided;
  • Turning off PCs at night and turning off monitors when we're away from our desks;
  • Turning off lights at the end of the day or when know one is present in a room;
  • Enthusiastic participation in recycling schemes;
  • Consider the carbon footprints of our commute to work;
  • Carefully consider the provenance of the products we order for the office.

The Carbon Trust's research has presented me with two overriding thoughts:

  1. As professional consultants (or in-house facilities teams) it is imperative that we include protocols and policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions when developing workplace protocols for clients (such as when developing flexible working guidelines);
  2. HOK offices worldwide must lead by example by instituting carbon emission-reducing protocols within our own workspaces. There should be a policy document for each office, which include policies not only on the office environment but also recommendations / incentives for 'greener' travel to work and travel to clients. These should be part of every new employee's induction.

Please comment on this post to share your views.

1 comment:

Jodi W. Brown said...

We know that changes in workplace practices hold huge potential to help the environment. The following statistics demonstrate the impact of inefficiencies in the office:Executive Employers Reviews

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