University shows what can be achieved with staff engagement in sustainability

University shows what can be achieved with staff engagement in sustainability

University shows what can be achieved with staff engagement in sustainability

There are many approaches employers can take to drive efficiency and improve the sustainability of their organisation, from introducing the most eco-friendly electrical appliances to adopting renewable energy features.

One approach that can prove particularly effective is getting staff involved in the mission to create a greener enterprise. If an entire workforce makes a concerted effort to adopt sustainable practices, the positive impact on the company as a whole can be huge.

This was recently demonstrated at Bournemouth University, which has made the decision to launch an organisation-wide rollout of the Green Rewards programme, after an initial pilot led to a 14.6 per cent fall in energy consumption across participating departments.

The scheme works by awarding staff 'green points' for any improvements they make in their sustainability credentials. Top-performing individuals receive a monthly prize, while the most successful team is rewarded with an annual charity donation.

All of the behaviours encouraged by the programme are aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which include affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and climate action.

Bournemouth University got 450 staff members involved in its initial six-month trial of Green Rewards and recorded some positive results.

More than four out of ten participants (45 per cent) said they had adopted more sustainable practices at work, while 40 per cent felt their health and fitness had improved as a result of the scheme. The results also showed that employees taking part in the initiative had completed 26,000 miles of sustainable travel to and from the university campus and avoided 11 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Bournemouth University sustainability manager Neil Smith said the institution is now "really excited" to expand the programme to all of its staff.

"As more and more employees take part, we expect to see real improvements to the health and sustainability of our university campuses, while on a global level every positive action we take contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals," he added.

"Increasingly, we are seeing more universities and organisations taking steps to embed the SDGs within their sustainability strategies. Green Rewards is one way we can ensure our staff have a positive impact here at the university and globally."

This is just one example of an organisation taking action to get its workforce involved in making positive changes in the interests of greater efficiency and protecting the environment.

In April 2017, Royal Bank of Scotland announced the introduction of the JUMP programme, the aim of which is to encourage people to adopt behaviours related to energy saving, recycling and sustainable travel.

The scheme was piloted in 2016, with 1,200 employees logging over 2,500 activities to reduce the bank's impact on the environment. There was a five per cent average electricity reduction in pilot locations and more than 500,000 disposable cups were saved.

This shows just how big an impact it can have when members of the workforce - arguably any company's most valuable and powerful resource - are motivated and encouraged to do their bit for the environment.


Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/NicoElNino