Sustainability at the workplace – 20 ideas to make it happen: Part one

November 16th, 2012 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

At Zircon, Dr Amanda Potter and the team are constantly striving for sustainability in the workplace. We have been exploring new ways of making this a possibility and would like to share GAIA Active’s “20 ideas to make this happen” from their information booklet: “GAIA Making Sustainability happen; Sustainability at the workplace”

In part one of four, please find the first 5 points below to get you started in making sustainability happen.

1. Re-invent the way you use energy: The key to managing future energy consumption is recognising how your staff control and use energy in your organisation. You need to engage your staff in finding new and economic ways of saving energy. Energy savings will only come when your employees commit to developing and implementing new ways to consume and save energy.

2. Make electricity management your first priority: Every organisation is striving to lower their carbon footprint but the first priority should be focusing on electricity management as this is the best place to start. Everyone in an organisation can become involved and each person can have a positive impact on your company’s electricity usage. Once you succeed here, you can go on to expand your organisation’s targets.

3. Operational myths: Every organisation has their own myths surrounding rules and regulations in the workplace. Some of which often give apparently justified reasons for making saving electricity difficult. For example, some shops believe that a well lit shop window will make people buy products from their displays therefore making it a necessity to use bright lighting throughout the day, even when it is sunny outside. There are no statistics to prove that with reduced lighting, sales will decrease, therefore many retailers waste energy by subscribing to this myth. In order to explode your organisation’s energy myths, first list them, acknowledge that they exist.

4. Hunt the source of each myth: Once you have identified a myth, hunt for the source (the person who can effectively respond to the challenge). Keep asking the question “where is the evidence that this behaviour reduces productivity/increases risk? Follow the myth to the key influencer, as these individuals are crucial in overcoming the problem and rolling out an agreed problem smoothly.

5. Energy awareness has low impact: We have all been exposed to Energy Saving campaigns, but unfortunately these have low impact on behaviour and can cause disaffection. Your task is to engage your employees to save energy rather than alienating them. Sustaining a behaviour change is about creating something normal from what was seen as different.

Adapted from source: GAIA Making Sustainability Happen, Sustainability at the workplace, 20 ideas to make it happen

If you could like more information, visit the GAIA website or call 0800 433 4040 or alternatively email

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