With climate crisis on the global agenda, most of us now try to make more conscious and sustainable choices at home every day.
And with over half of UK carbon emissions classed as work-related, it makes sense to aim for a greener workplace too. After all, every business impacts the environment in some way, using energy and resources and generating waste and carbon emissions.
Through our work at RHL helping clients find stellar technical professional candidates, we know that good employers now put great focus on their environmental sustainability strategy - and have an action plan on how to cut their carbon footprint.
Clearly, strategic decisions around sustainability have to come from above, including significant actions on reducing energy on heating, cooling and lighting; saving energy with more efficient office equipment and cutting waste and water waste.
But as an individual member of the team you still have the power to help create a greener workplace - particular if you feel your employer could do more in terms of sustainability.
One positive action is to push for a green action team to be set up at work, if there isn’t one already. Forming a team of like-minded employees is a way to explore what the organisation’s already doing in terms of sustainability, and what other opportunities it has.
A green action team also plays an important role in educating colleagues on the changes you’re all trying to make, and engaging them in things they can do at work (and home).
For example, encouraging coworkers to:
The ultimate aim? Showing people how even small actions can have an impact in the workplace. After all, building a more sustainable business involves getting the buy-in of every employee – not just staff already on a mission for greener workdays.
If your role allows you to work from home for a small portion of the week you’ll probably already be doing so. Now there are climate-friendly reasons to persuade the senior leadership team that it’s a good move for as many employees as logistically possible – if it’s practical for your organisation.
Some research suggests that the daily commute between work and home accounts for a huge 98% of an individual employee’s work-related carbon footprint.
On a wider scale, it’s thought that if a million people worked from home one day a week it could slash three million tons of CO2 every year.
Smart employers already know the business case for greener working, like reduced costs on areas like power, waste management, water and consumables.
When it comes to keeping employees happy and attracting new stellar talent, it’s true that people prefer to work for companies actively reducing their carbon footprint.
By being an engaged employee committed to sustainability, you can make it easier for the company you work for to wake up to these changes – and help prevent more damage to the planet.
See https://worksmart.org.uk/careers-advice/working-smarter/working-greener for more guidance on greening your workplace.
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