How can employees contribute to the sustainability of an organisation?
Aidan Tracey is the Relationship Officer for Home Energy Scotland South East. Home Energy Scotland from the Scottish Government is the source of clear and impartial advice on making your home cheaper to heat. They provide information on funding, incentives and finance options for energy efficiency improvements, such as installing a new boiler or renewable technology.
Aidan develops and manages relationships with partner organisations to support employees and members improve their energy efficiency, save carbon and reduce their environmental impact.
Employees and Sustainability
The employee is the lifeblood of the organisation. An organisation needs to get them involved in the journey and make them part of it. It is important to make sure that people understand what you are trying to achieve as a company.
Support from employees for carbon footprint reduction is important. Simple measures like turning off monitors etc. add up to the sustainable culture within a business.
When companies are making resource efficiency measures, it is important for employees to understand that they are a part of the journey and support it. For a lot of the companies, the measures are adopted only for the company and not the employees.
The programme of Home Energy Scotland is trying to provide sustainability support for people at home. If companies ask their employees to adopt resource efficiency measures in the business, and also offer them the opportunity to save money and reduce carbon at home, it becomes a holistic approach to implementing sustainability.
Engaging employees with sustainability
One of the key ways Home Energy Scotland engages employees with sustainability is by helping the business first. They try to understand what the organisation wants to achieve in terms of sustainability and where they stand in the sustainability journey. They then develop some unique activities that fit the organisation.
Activities differ as per organisations. For some organisations, they do presentations during lunchtime – offering information on renewable energy or electric vehicles. For bigger manufacturing firms, they go down to people and offer individual support.
Home Energy Scotland also provide reports to companies on employee engagement. It is a completely free service for organisations in Scotland.
Management and Sustainability
Every workplace has a different culture. When somebody higher up within the organisation endorses sustainability and is vocal about it, employees feel it to be a lot more accessible.
The people that are higher up within the organisation need to be part of the sustainability movement within an organisation.
Aidan most admires
Impact on Daily Life
Aidan has adopted measures such as turning off plugs from the wall, turning off power when not in use and lowering the thermostat, putting a jumper on instead of thermostat etc.
Aidan’s Favourite Resources
The following from Home Energy Scotland –
- Marketing materials to engage people to know about the benefits of reducing energy consumption
- Free home visit service for people interested in renewable energy at home
- Free Phone support
- Fuel Good Driver Training to train employees be more fuel efficient
Aidan’s favourite nature memory is the surreal experience of conducting an interview of a farmer under a cashew nut tree in Tanzania, Africa, while the farmers chopped sugarcane for him to chew. He went there to do his dissertation project as a student of the University of Glasgow – to explain farmers about the power of connectivity of a mobile phone.
Takeaway from this episode
- To have a conversation with people to help your firm achieve more sustainability, to look for ways of offsetting usage of resources.
- Speaking with similar companies, visiting them to see what they are doing to be more sustainable.
People/Companies mentioned in the Interview
David Watt, Director of the Institute of Directors – on the higher management’s role in making sustainable goals successful for any organisation.
FMC Technologies – on ways of offsetting carbon footprint. FMC Technologies is a resource-heavy industry that is trying to offset its resource dependency by helping reduce carbon footprint in other ways through its Greenshoots Foundation Trust. Home Energy Scotland has also helped in their employee efficiency measures.
Edinburgh Leisure Green teams – on how their sustainability scheme can be replicated by other companies.
Sustainability is when we are trying to support everybody and help each other.Aidan Tracey