Hearts and Minds: For a Firm to Succeed with Its Environmental Initiatives, It Has to Win Its Employees over to New Ways of Thinking and Acting, Anne Petrie Hears from Four Blue-Chip Firms That Have Worked Hard to Engage Their People

By Petrie, Anne | Financial Management (UK), December 2008 | Go to article overview

Hearts and Minds: For a Firm to Succeed with Its Environmental Initiatives, It Has to Win Its Employees over to New Ways of Thinking and Acting, Anne Petrie Hears from Four Blue-Chip Firms That Have Worked Hard to Engage Their People


Petrie, Anne, Financial Management (UK)


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Having a detailed plan for cutting your organisation's carbon emissions is all very well, but even the best-laid plans will go adrift without the full backing of your workforce. And this support is worth hard cash. UK businesses could save nearly 2.5bn [pounds sterling] over the next year by implementing cost-effective energy-efficiency measures, according to research by the Carbon Trust.

"In the current economic climate it's never been more important for businesses of all sizes to act on climate change. With savings of up to 20 per cent to be made on energy bills through no-cost or cost-effective measures, it makes perfect business sense to empower employees to do their bit at work and at home," explains Hugh Jones, director of solutions at the Carbon Trust.

"You can put in an energy-efficient boiler or install low-energy light bulbs and those will make a difference, but many of the measures that have the biggest impact and achieve the greatest savings require buy-in across your workforce."

Jones suggests that all firms can encourage teams to think twice before printing documents, to turn off PCs and lights at the end of the day, to recycle and to consider the carbon footprints of the method of travel they use and the products they source.

And those at the top should lead by example, according to Alan Charnley, managing director of Xerox for the UK and Ireland. "I shouldn't expect my people to do what I'm not prepared to do myself," he says.

Stressing the financial benefits of going green can also pay dividends and highlighting savings that employees can make at home--on domestic fuel bills, for example--will help, too.

"Even if you have employees who aren't that interested in the planet, you can get them engaged in green initiatives by allocating resources or driving business efficiencies," says Richard Gillies, director of Marks and Spencer's "Plan A" sustainability programme. "It's important not to get too preachy about some of the green issues when you can get stakeholders on board simply by applying good business practice."

Ernst & Young

"Given the nature of our business, there are lots of policies and processes we can have in place that make a difference, but there's also a real reliance on people to engage with them and do things differently," says Nicky Major, director of corporate responsibility at Ernst & Young. "It's got to be a combination of the two."

The areas in which E&Y has the biggest environmental impact are waste generation, staff travel and energy consumption. It holds three "environment weeks" a year, during which employees are encouraged to concentrate on one of these aspects.

"Waste week", for example, concerns simple issues such as printing, where costs can really mount up. "If you can change attitudes about something little, then you naturally get people to start thinking on a wider level," Major says. More than 90 per cent of E&Y's office waste is now reused or recycled.

She adds that, when it comes to reducing E&Y's carbon footprint through business travel, "we consider ways to avoid travelling altogether and then, if it is really necessary, how it can be done in a more environmentally friendly way".

To encourage energy efficiency, the firm highlights the benefits that employees can gain at home. "We can say to people: 'You can save a lot of money by reducing your energy consumption--particularly now, when the cost of energy is going up so much. If you turn your thermostat down by one degree at home, you can save ten per cent on your heating costs.' If they save some money and really start thinking about it, that has knock-on effects elsewhere."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Encouraging staff to switch off lights and electrical equipment, combined with the introduction of more movement-activated lighting, helped E&Y to reduce its annual energy consumption by nine per cent in 2006-07. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hearts and Minds: For a Firm to Succeed with Its Environmental Initiatives, It Has to Win Its Employees over to New Ways of Thinking and Acting, Anne Petrie Hears from Four Blue-Chip Firms That Have Worked Hard to Engage Their People
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.