'Carbon champions' boost green engagement

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Appointing a 'carbon champion' may help engage workers in the bid to be greener.

This is according to the Carbon Trust that found that as many as 70% of employees surveyed said they wanted to cut their carbon emissions but wanted more guidance and empowerment.

While 80% of those surveyed said there was no training in place to teach them how to reduce emissions, of those that had been trained, an overwhelming 93% rated it as 'fairly' or 'very' useful.

Only 21% of respondents said they thought their organisation was doing enough to cut its emissions and 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.

Many employees are not waiting for permission to take action with almost half having already taken personal steps to reduce their emissions at work in the last 12 months.

According to Hugh Jones, solutions director at the Carbon Trust, simple initiatives like staff training and appointing a 'carbon champion' can really help to trigger action in employee teams.

"Our research shows that those in workplaces where a 'carbon champion' has been appointed say it encouraged more action to reduce emissions. You can put in a new energy-efficient boiler, or install low-energy light bulbs, and those will make a difference, but many of the measures that will have the biggest impact and achieve the greatest savings require buy-in across your workforce."

Jones added: "You need your teams to think twice before printing documents, to turn off their PCs and lights at the end of the day, to participate enthusiastically in recycling schemes and to consider the carbon footprints of the method of travel they use and the products they source."

Workplace emissions - fast facts:

  • Office lights left on overnight use enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost five months
  • A 2°c increase in office temperature creates enough CO2 in a year to fill a hot air balloon
  • Air conditioning an office for 1 extra hour a day uses enough energy in a month to power a TV for over a year
  • A computer left on overnight for a year creates enough CO2 to fill a double-decker bus
  • A photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 30 cups of tea
  • A chiller door left open for 30 minutes a day wastes enough energy in a year to power a lighthouse for nearly four days

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