Employers need to woo green talent

Apr 04 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Being able to show you have green credentials is becoming increasingly important for employers looking to become a destination of choice for today's job-seekers, new research has suggested.

Three quarters of British workers now consider it important to work for a company that is actively reducing its carbon emissions, according to the study from energy efficiency body the Carbon Trust.

The research has also found that more than eight out of 10 British workers want to cut the amount of energy they use at work and in the home to help the environment.

But, while the will is there, many workers complain they lack guidance or a lead from their employers.

One in four felt their company was not doing enough to cut its own carbon emissions, with fewer than a fifth saying their company ran programmes to help employees to become more energy efficient.

Dr Garry Felgate, director of business delivery and external relations, said: "The majority of UK employees want to become more environmentally friendly at work, but many don't know where to start.

"It's in a company's best interest to help them, as adopting simple energy efficiency measures could save up to ten per cent on energy bills.

"Our research shows that one in four workers doesn't switch off the lights in a room that is not being used but nearly all (94 per cent) say they do when they're at home.

"Simply by encouraging employees to bring their good energy habits into the workplace, businesses could reduce lighting bills by around 19 per cent a year, not to mention significantly lower their carbon emissions," he concluded.

David Farebrother, assistant director, environmental services at property company Land Securities, agreed.

His company actively engages with its employees to encourage them to think about how they can reduce carbon emissions and save energy.

"Energy management at work is largely about developing good habits. Since running our campaign we've found that energy usage is gradually falling at our head office, despite the fact we're using more equipment, so it's clearly making a difference," he said.

Another two businesses that have taken a lead in staff engagement on environmental issues, are the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales and UK leisure company Center Parcs.

In co-operation with the Carbon Trust, the Celtic Manor Resort trained 200 key employees to understand the threat faced by climate change, as well as its impacts from a global, national, local and individual perspective.

The resort established a "green team' composed of members from each department, to discuss environmental improvement issues as well as debate ideas from the staff on how to be more environmentally friendly.

Helen Turner, health, safety and environment co-ordinator at the Celtic Manor Resort said: "The training has proved to be a worthwhile programme, as we've noticed a dramatic change in our employees' approach to the way they use energy.

"For example, staff members in our leisure department have created a 'shut procedure', which ensures that all equipment and lighting is switched off each evening. They have also begun to monitor their energy consumption on an interactive site and report back to the green team on a monthly basis."

Center Parcs operates a similar "team" approach to actively encourage employees to reduce their energy usage.

In fact, each village operates an environmental action team, which promotes environmental initiatives across the village involving staff at all levels of the business.

The average village implements more than 150 environmental initiatives every year, and these are communicated to staff and guests through various media including a "Village Green" environmental news sheet.

Simon Drury, Center Parcs environment manager, said: "Through harnessing the drive and enthusiasm of our staff, we have not only been able to improve our economic and environmental performance, but we have also developed a sense of pride and a desire to be involved across the whole business."