How can I get my colleagues involved in greener working?

If you want to get your colleagues on board with greener working, you may find them sympathetic to the cause – a YouGov survey found that 70% of workers said they would like to do more about climate change but felt that they needed more support from their employers.

Many of the ideas for action that you will find in this Greener Working section are things you and your co-workers can just start doing, but you’ll need to think of ways to encourage people to do them, such as putting up posters or using the company intranet to promote green actions at work.

Try to focus on the positive impact people can have, rather than talking about gloomy scenarios – this is more likely to get them to act. League tables and measurements can motivate people. For example, you could set a target for cutting energy use, or compare how much different departments have saved or recycled.

The biggest changes will need a commitment from the whole organisation, though. If your workplace has a union, this is a good place to start. If it doesn’t, you could get an informal ‘green group’ of willing staff together to approach the relevant managers with ideas and questions, and coordinate activities. See the TUC’s Go Green at Work handbook (PDF, 1.7MB) for tips and ideas on getting organised, including:

  • questions to ask management;
  • persuasive arguments you can use;
  • how to set up a joint worker-management environment committee; and
  • how to encourage colleagues to get involved.

Getting your workplace greener isn’t just about doing the right thing – there’s plenty in it for workers too, including:

  • Safer jobs. If your employer cuts costs by saving energy or reducing waste they’re less likely to need to cut staffing costs. Investing in improvements, such as buildings, equipment or training, also means your employer is making a commitment to the future of the organisation.
  • Cost savings. Learning about energy efficiency through action at work can encourage greater energy and money savings at home.
  • A better place to work. Many environmental improvements could lead to a healthier, safer, more pleasant workplace – for example, where there is more comfortable temperature control and improved natural daylight.
  • Better transport choices. Greener transport arrangements could provide more options for workers.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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