Work smarter to save the planet

Oct 30 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Campaigners for smarter working have called on the world must reform the way it works as one weapon in the battle to deal with the problems of the environmental impact of human activity on the planet.

The advice comes in the wake of a new report by Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, which has predicted environmental apocalypse if action is not taken now.

This independent Review, commissioned by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer as a contribution to assessing the evidence and building understanding of the economics of climate change, warns that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20 per cent.

It anticipates that 200 million people will become refugees and a global recession worse than that in the 1920s and 1930s will result if current CO2 pollution levels are unchecked.

Meanwhile according to Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, the widespread introduction of smarter working practices is one way to significantly reduce the need for travel, both commuting and travel for business, making a huge impact to the levels of CO2 emissions from transport sources.

Work Wise UK is a not-for-profit initiative which aims to make the UK the most progressive economy in the world and encourage smarter working practices to the benefit of business, employees and the country as a whole.

Enabling more home working, more flexible working, better remote and mobile working, all have the impact of reducing the need to travel, Flaxton argues, while staggering the required travel patterns, which will also reduce peak time congestion, in itself a major contributor to pollution levels.

"The need to work from nine to five, five days a week, is an anachronism in this modern 24/7 global world: there is no need for it<" he said.

"The realisation of the damage our working patterns are causing the environment further underlines the need for us to have a workplace revolution so that we can minimise the impact of human activity on the environment.

"This will probably be one of the least costly, and most effective steps that companies could take to make their contribution to reducing emissions.

"Adopting smarter working practices is a win-win situation: not only will it help reduce emissions, it will also provide staff with a better work-life balance and make them more productive."