How to become a greener employer

January 4, 2016

Harry Morrison, General Manager, the Carbon Trust Standard, said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the UK economy, and reducing their collective carbon footprint could play a major part in ensuring we meet the UK’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 34% by 2020. What you can measure, you can reduce, so we believe there’s a major opportunity for every business to cut costs and carbon by taking action and achieving certification.”

So have you ever considered how you might reduce your carbon footprint and have you ever thought about how much you might gain from reviewing, measuring and altering your working practices in terms of:

  • Benefits to the environment
  • Cost savings to the business
  • Improved PR for you in terms of promoting yourself as a green employer

Firstly you need to decide what you are trying to achieve and how you want your employees to engage in this change of behavior. Then you need to find a senior champion in the business to own and spearhead the changes, making it clearly one of their business objectives. If you then get other members of staff on board, you will then also get more ‘buy’in’.

What do we need to do to get started?
In order to reduce your carbon footprint, you really need to be able to measure what it is in the first place. We have identified  two websites that allow you to do just this Ecomonitor and Carbonfoot Print.  They tell you all the things you might want to consider as well as suggesting ways for reducing your footprint and how you can measure change. Why not have a go and see what you can save yourself over a 6 month period?

Some of the basics:
Use less electricity and gas

  • Consider switching to renewable energy sources
  • Ask staff to turn the air conditioning down or off during quiet hours
  • Make sure PCs and lights are turned off at night or when staff are away from their desk for significant periods. Turning lights off in empty rooms and corridors can cup 15% off your energy bill
  • Get managers (or nominated individuals) to turn off printers, copiers, water coolers at the end of the day
  • Change your lightbulbs to energy saving ones
  • Every 1° rise in office temperature adds 8% to your energy bill so turn it down! Setting lower temperatures in corridors and storerooms can also have a major impact


  • Be flexible with homeworking arrangements. Encourage staff to join or offer travel loans to staff to encourage the use of public transport
  • Question the need for lots of people to attend off-site meetings and encourage video conferencing instead
  • Consider reviewing the cars you offer under your car scheme, removing the gas guzzlers from the list
  • Discourage air travel in favour of the train

And don’t forget to publish your findings (hopefully your reduced footprint) and celebrate it.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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