Employers’ environmentally-friendly policies struggle to stretch past recycling

Employers are “having difficulty” implementing environmentally-friendly policies at work beyond recycling, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The latest quarterly CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook survey, of 757 employers, shows that a clear majority of businesses are encouraging recycling (91%) and energy reduction (83%), but far fewer are ‘green’ in their approach to transport.

Only 45% encourage car-sharing, while fewer still consider more imaginative ways of reducing the need to travel, such as encouraging staff to work from home (30%).

Gerwyn Davies, co-author of the report, said: “There is potential for organisations to promote greener transport alternatives and work practices, such as home-working, to reduce the environmental impact of business travel. Where practical, this could reduce costs and stress levels for employees and improve productivity for the employer – offering a potential win-win situation.”

This suggests that UK employers are having difficulty with the harder workplace challenges that need to be overcome to help fight climate change, said the CIPD.

In addition, 70% of HR professionals admit their organisations could do more to encourage employees to reduce the environmental impact of their travel arrangements.

Mike Kelly, director of corporate social responsibility at KPMG, said: “People increasingly expect to work in a business that has embedded environmental management systems to effectively manage its environmental impacts, and we are finding that it is an issue that is moving up the agenda, especially among the graduate community.”

Other key findings:

  • 29% of organisations have changed their emergency planning procedures to take account of the impact of climate change
  • 64% of employees actively use the recycling facilities while at work (this compares to 59% of organisations who say that their employees are energy-conscious)
  • 37% of UK organisations aim to achieve carbon-neutral status
  • 37% of employers believe that senior management provides leadership and support on green issues
  • 8% reward green behaviour with financial incentives.

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