Organisations face mounting pressure to measure and improve energy efficiency and to manage resources more sustainably.
Organisations face mounting pressure to measure and improve energy efficiency and to manage resources more sustainably. Yet for many large companies with multiple sites and locations, achieving local employee buy-in to sustainability initiatives is a major challenge.
A number of companies do not have a strategy to deal with this. Often, an organisation may have a headline commitment to improving energy efficiency in place but the reality is that individual sites are left to operate as stand-alones.
With the legislative drive towards low carbon and greater disclosure set to continue this is an issue of increasing concern for large organisations.
The best way of achieving resource efficiency is through local activity feeding into a coherent, well-communicated corporate strategy. Below are a number of ways in which companies can encourage all their locations to work together on sustainability:
- Develop a ‘big theme’ – such as energy strategy or waste/water efficiency – where local activity will make a real, quantifiable, difference. Make sure that all the company’s locations are included.
- Create an efficiency programme bearing in mind that different locations may be starting from different baselines. This will get everyone taking part, particularly if realistic targets are set.
- Train selected site staff and turn them into energy or sustainability champions to implement energy-saving measures and recycling and organise awareness-raising events for staff and clients.
- Encourage people to report improvements, exchange ideas and promote best practice.
- Share good news and recognise achievements. Communication is essential – site-based initiatives quickly lose momentum without corporate support and recognition.
- Explore opportunities to invest cost benefits into further improvements.
The focus on energy efficiency will become even more pronounced from April next year, when the Carbon Reduction Commitment is set to affect large businesses the public sector. By putting a price on carbon emissions, the CRC will only add to the pressure on companies to drive improvements in energy efficiency across all areas of their business or risk taking a serious financial and reputational hit.
Mark Turner is head of sustainability at Morgan Professional Services