Staff engagement can save £300 million

14th January 2014

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  • Mitigation ,
  • Management/saving ,
  • Minimisation


Douglas Connell

UK workplaces are missing out on more than £300 million a year in savings by not encouraging employees to adopt behaviour to reduce energy use and waste, claims new research from the Carbon Trust

It found that less than a quarter (23%) of UK employees have been asked to help save energy at work, and less than half (47%) are concerned about the cost of energy for their employer even though the vast majority (92%) reveal they are worried about their own domestic energy costs.

Figures from the trust reveal that getting staff to turn off lights, for example, can produce significant financial and carbon savings – up to £55 million a year if energy used for lighting is reduced by 10% and an annual reduction in emissions of 164,000 million tonnes of carbon equivalent (MtCO2e).

Other areas providing opportunities to involve staff in helping to generate savings include: reducing air travel by 5%, which saves £28 million and 1.5 MtCO2e a year; and turning down office temperatures by 1OC, which can save £35 million and 194 MtCO2e.

The survey of 1,135 UK employees reveals that praise can spur positive action. Sixty per cent of respondents claim they would be more likely to save energy at work if they were praised, with management approval almost as effective as money in motivating staff – 60% say they are more likely to take action if financially rewarded, and 58% are more likely to if their actions are recognised.

However, just 22% of those polled say they are confident that they know what actions to take to save energy at work, and only 16% are sure they have the authority to do so.

“Employees are the greatest asset of UK business, but when most of us enter the office, we take far less care to save energy and use resources efficiently than we do at home. The good news is that employees are willing to help,” commented Richard Rugg, managing director of programmes at the Carbon Trust.

To help change behaviour, the trust has issued new guidance for firms on developing programmes to engage employees to make green choices, alongside practical solutions to overcome common barriers.


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