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Property sector lags behind its employees enthusiasm to reduce carbon

25 March 2008

Employees in the property sector are ready and willing to reduce their workplace emissions but need more support from their employers to do so. A Carbon Trust report into employees’ attitudes to carbon reduction says that 67 per cent of employees surveyed from the sector said they wanted to cut their carbon emissions but wanted more guidance and empowerment.

Only 23 per cent of respondents said they thought their organisation was doing enough to cut its emissions and nearly four-fifths (79 per cent) said their employer had made no attempt to encourage them to consider ways of reducing their emissions by taking alternative transport to work.

The good news is that empowering employees does not need to be costly and the results can have an almost immediate impact. While 90 per cent of those surveyed from the property sector said there was no training in place to teach them how to reduce emissions, of those employees in all sectors that had been trained, an overwhelming 93 per cent rated it as ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ useful. Many employees in the property sector are not waiting for permission to take action with nearly half (48 per cent) having already taken personal steps to reduce their emissions at work in the last 12 months.

According to Hugh Jones, Solutions Director at the Carbon Trust, simple initiatives like staff training and appointing a ‘Carbon Champion’ can really help to trigger action in employee teams.

“Our research shows that those in workplaces where a ‘Carbon Champion’ has been appointed say it encouraged more action to reduce emissions. You can put in a new energy-efficient boiler, or install low-energy light bulbs, and those will make a difference, but many of the measures that will have the biggest impact and achieve the greatest savings require buy-in across your workforce.

“In the current economic climate it’s never been more important for all businesses, of all sizes, to act on climate change. With savings of up to 20 per cent to be made on energy bills through no cost or cost effective measures it makes perfect business sense to empower employees to do their bit both at work and at home.

“You need your teams to think twice before printing documents, to turn off their PCs and lights at the end of the day, to participate enthusiastically in recycling schemes and to consider the carbon footprints of the method of travel they use and the products they source.”

This week the Carbon Trust is launching a national campaign to encourage organisations and employees to work closer together to shrink their carbon footprints. A free employee pack, which offers advice on low or no cost energy saving measures, is available at or by calling 0800 085 2005.

Workplace emissions - fast facts

Office lights left on overnight use enough energy in a year to heat a home for almost 5 months
A 2°c increase in office temperature creates enough CO2 in a year to fill a hot air balloon
Air conditioning an office for 1 extra hour a day uses enough energy in a month to power a TV for over a year
A computer left on overnight for a year creates enough CO2 to fill a double-decker bus
A photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 30 cups of tea
A chiller door left open for 30 minutes a day wastes enough energy in a year to power a lighthouse for nearly 4 days

These are facts that are incorporated in the Carbon Trust's poster campaign. Full reference for calculations can be found at:

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