This section provides a simple step-by-step approach which organisations can follow to develop low carbon activities with their staff.
The first steps are:
- Build your business case and gain senior management commitment
- Devise a plan of action
- Engage colleagues as early as possible
- Get cracking... and focus on quick wins
- Once up and running, look to share and develop good practice with others
Being clear about your reasons for getting involved in the low carbon agenda is critical. A more formal business case can be vital for persuading senior management to back the carbon-cutting activity, while being clear in your own mind about the reasons for acting can help you to explain what you're doing to colleagues at all levels. No two organisations are the same, so you should build a business case that's unique to your circumstances - but some of the arguments made at the start of this guide could be helpful.
It is important to prioritise what to do first. Identify areas of your operations which have potential for environmental and financial 'win win' efficiency savings. Draw on the expertise of colleagues to help you. Also look outside your organisation at what others have done and consider how such schemes could operate in your own business. Remember that the most effective way to reduce your organisation's carbon footprint is to use a mix of measures - to tackle emissions from energy, waste, travel and food - rather than focusing just on one area. Good sources of information on action taken by other businesses are included in the accompanying report and case studies to this guidance:
Use your business case to secure support from other colleagues and front line staff. This is critical to ensure sufficient resourcing, exemplary leadership, and widespread acceptance and take-up. In fact, if you can get key influencers to come with you early on, they will develop ownership of the business case and action plans - both of which will be more effective as a result.
Change can be daunting, but if you've done your planning carefully and have the backing of the right people in the organisation, there is no reason to delay. Make putting your plans into action a priority - and start with an activity which is highly visible and sure to succeed.
Measure and monitor the impact of what you do so you can track progress. Once you have a successful activity or two under your belt, share news of the impact with staff. Plan your next move carefully, and team up appropriately. Design activities which can build momentum, widen participation, and embed change in the values and culture of the organisation as a whole.
The steps recommended here have worked for organisations that have already begun this journey. Whatever your stage of development, you can join them and reap the benefits of engaging staff on low carbon activities.
The following section outlines in detail the factors to consider when attempting to implement a low carbon workplace initiative.
Email: Jonathan Waite