HR called to champion ‘greener’ workplaces

HR has been urged to do more to encourage staff to make their workplaces more environmentally friendly – because greener processes can make a real difference to the bottom line.

In separate reports, both the TUC and manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, said that making workplaces more sustainable and “green” should be a top priority over the coming years.

The union body wants workers and managers to explore how they can respond to the challenge posed by global warming.

Philip Pearson, TUC policy officer, said there was “a massive amount HR could do” to help change the way workplaces operate, and how staff travel to work.

In conjunction with unions, HR could be central in helping to change policies and procedures, as well as arguing the business benefits of such an approach, he said.

“It is about helping existing structures to adapt to take on the climate change agenda,” Pearson said. “HR could be involved in things such as revising job descriptions and encouraging green travel, or video conferencing, instead of business travel.”

Meanwhile, the EEF has launched a new sustainable development guide, which uses case studies to show how firms can improve their performance in areas such as waste, water and energy management, and save on operating costs.

Gary Booton, director of health, safety and environment at the EEF, said: “Sustainable development is a concept that tends to be discussed in global terms and, as such, companies tend to feel it doesn’t apply to them, or they become bewildered by the concept.

“The real challenge at a practical level is to help businesses recognise that small step-changes to their operations will contribute to a significant overall improvement in the environment, and to their bottom line.”

The reports come as leading scientists from around the world demand that governments take prompt action to combat climate change, with Prime Minister Tony Blair being urged to put pressure on US president George Bush ahead of the G8 summit.

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