Many of us spend a lot of time at work, and this provides us with a great opportunity to make positive change for the planet. Working together with your colleagues will enable you to make even bigger changes, but there are plenty of things you can do as an individual too. We have put together a list of ten tips for workplace climate action, but get creative! Every workplace is different, and there might be something unique that your workplace can do to tackle the climate emergency.
- If you need to take notes, think about alternatives before buying a new notebook. Could you make your notes online using a computer application, or could you use scrap paper? Remember to reuse and recycle wherever possible.
- Think before you print. Printing lots of paper wastes resources and costs your workplace money! Only print out documents or emails if it is absolutely necessary, and remember to recycle them or use them for scrap paper if no longer needed.
- You can help reduce waste by reducing the amount of single-use items you use. Take a reusable mug for that essential morning cup of tea or coffee, and don’t forget your reusable water bottle. If you can, prepare lunch at home rather than buying a meal deal, to save both money and packaging.
- It might seem insignificant, but everything we do online has a carbon footprint. Send hyperlinks to shared files and documents rather than sending attachments, to save energy. You could also try deleting old files and old emails that you no longer need.
- Switch off. Turn off your laptop and monitor if you’re leaving your desk for a while, and switch off the lights in your office when you leave.
- Travelling to and from work can be a highly polluting activity if you are regularly travelling by car. If possible, work from home to reduce emissions. Alternatively, could you share a lift with some of your colleagues? We’ve put together a handy guide on how to reduce car use in your workplace.
- If you do need to travel to work, one of the most sustainable things you can do is to use active travel. Leave the car at home and walk, cycle or run to work instead. Perhaps one of your colleagues could join you and it could become a social activity. We’ve also published a guide for employers and employees on how to make it easier to cycle to work.
Radically transforming the way we travel is a huge part of reducing our carbon emissions. As individuals, we can take action in a personal capacity, but it is important that these changes are encouraged and facilitated by employers and in workplaces.
- Arrange for meetings, conferences and training to take place online, to reduce travel. Especially if people are travelling from across the country (or even across the world!), this could greatly reduce carbon emissions and save costs too.
- Ask questions and speak up! Ask your employer how they are reducing your company’s carbon footprint, or if you’re self-employed, investigate how you can reduce your own emissions. This can be difficult, but our guide to talking about climate change might give you some ideas on how to bring it up.
All of us have a part to play in spreading the word about climate change and encouraging others to take action. If you want to find out how to have a productive climate conversation, keep reading.
- Invest wisely. Challenge your company’s pension scheme if they are investing in fossil fuels. You can read more about this issue here: Pension funds invest £2,000 in fossil fuels for every person in the UK – new study – UK Divest and here: Fossil Free Pensions | Ethical Consumer
If you’ve made any of these changes, or done something unique to your workplace that you’d like to share, tag us on social media using the hashtag #candosouthyorkshire! We’d love to know how you’ve been taking action for our planet.