How does greener working fit into the wider fight against climate change?

Global temperatures are rising because people are consuming fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – at an unsustainable rate, releasing carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ that trap warmer air in the earth’s atmosphere, causing the so-called ‘greenhouse’ effect. It is believed that the global climate has already warmed by almost 1°C. While this might not sound like much, the effects of climate change result in an estimated 150,000 deaths a year. A heatwave in 2003 killed over 2,000 people in the UK alone.

Over half of carbon emissions are work-related, and British companies waste £1 billion of energy every year, so there is huge scope to act. Workplaces, because of their larger size, are usually better placed than individuals to install cost-effective measures – particularly by investing in renewable energy.

Most governments agree that increasing energy efficiency is vital in the battle against climate change. Not only is it the quickest way to reduce CO2 emissions – giving us more time to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and also to increase the supply of alternative energy sources – but it also has huge financial benefits.

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.