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Undoubtedly employers can contribute to reducing climate change.

Here are some suggestions for consideration:

Policies

An environmental policy is a good starting point.

Typical items we would suggest including in an environmental policy are:

  • Reducing use of paper
  • Separating materials for recycling
  • Re-cycling computers
  • Watching energy usage

A digital employee handbook

Time was when every employee received a paper copy of their employer’s employee handbook. That could demand reams of paper or expensive little bound (perhaps ring bound) booklets. Since 2003, Employer Solutions has provided online digital handbooks. Those include ones for businesses employing from 4 to 4,000 employees.

Business travel – make use of technology

It is a fair bet that on a weekday most cars on the motorway are there for employment related reasons. It may be for commuting (see below), for meetings or to deliver/collect some item.

Free conferencing software, such as Zoom, can avoid the need for many face-to-face meetings. It may be worth asking each time, do we need to be face-to-face?

Working on the Cloud enables two people to work on one document in two locations.

Home or other remote working

Home working reduces the commute. It is popular with employees. We looked at remote working, in this earlier blog. There are pros and cons. But if you sanction such working, don’t forget to have a written policy. It will help to avoid problems.

Relocation

For example, you have an employee working in Lancaster but living in Bolton. Funding re-location may seem an excessive expense for an employer to take on. This would be especially so if the employee isn’t particularly concerned about the commute.

But that commute is likely to mean her spending a full day a week, not working for you. That time will be spent expending energy that could otherwise be directed at your business. On a five-day week, it is probably costing her over £5,000 a year from her after tax salary. For how long will she do this? Is she not already looking for employment closer to home? What will it cost to replace her? What is it costing the environment?

In summary

We might be contemptuous of “Extinction rebellion”; but, when it comes to climate change, there is much we can do.

Malcolm Martin FCIPD

Author Human Resource Practice

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