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Green at home but not at work

04 March 2010

One in three office workers has a lazy attitude when it comes to looking after the environment at work, according to a survey commissioned for Green Office Week due to be held from Monday 26th to Friday 30th April.

The national survey, conducted by sponsors Avery, has found that despite huge efforts to make people aware of the environmental and economical impacts of their actions, 36 percent of the UK admit nothing is stopping them from doing their bit, but they just don’t bother! Yet, respondents believe that being eco-conscious at work will make a substantial difference to the environment and it’s important our companies should act responsibly.
Nicky Amos, Corporate Social Responsibility Expert, explains: “Office workers are aware of the environmental impact of their actions, but many leave their conscience at home when they go out to work. Green Office Week is set to guide office workers in their bid to transfer green thinking from the home to the desk.”
Office workers still believe the best way to make a difference is by recycling products to reduce waste after use, with only 11 percent of us consciously choosing environmentally friendly office supplies in the first place. Just 34 percent chose to consume less energy in a bid to reduce their working footprint even though the survey found British businesses waste over £160m each year just by leaving the office lights on.
But are companies doing enough? Two thirds of office workers said they were not aware that their organisation had any environmental targets in place, and just 18 percent were told about targets during their induction. One third of all UK offices still do not have any recycling facilities, and less than a quarter has a full environmental policy in place.
This has led to over two thirds of office workers admitting that the lack of empowerment, facilities and communication are the key reasons why they are not greener during working hours. Some 47 percent even said that they are less conscious reducing power consumption because they aren’t the ones paying the bills.
Belfast was the least likely city to have recycling facilities at work (43 percent) and also the city where most workers were likely to chuck paper into the normal waste bin even though there was a recycling bin close by! Companies in Oxford (77 percent) and Edinburgh (75 percent) are most likely to have the facilities in place for workers to recycle with, and Aberdeen workers (69 percent) are the most conscious of using recycling facilities where possible. Brighton (28 percent) and Portsmouth’s (27 percent) office workers were most likely to try to balance the temperature by using the radiators and air con units at the same time, and offices in York leave lights on for an average 11.33 hours a day with counterparts in Liverpool leaving over three rooms lit per day for no reason at all! Workers in Norwich (88 percent) and Southampton (86 percent) were the most likely to opt for natural air, leaving the energy-sapping heating and cooling controls alone.
Green Office Week
The second annual Green Office Week, launched by office products manufacturer Avery, is encouraging people around the UK to turn over a new leaf this April.
Between Monday 26th April and Friday 30th April, organisations will be encouraged to think about practical ways in which they can make a difference.  Daily themes will include Make a Start Monday, Choose Right Tuesday, Waste Not Wednesday, Think Ahead Thursday, and Feel Good Friday.
The week will encourage offices to raise awareness amongst colleagues, help review purchasing habits in line with environmental targets, devise an action plan for the future, and celebrate the excellent achievements of people who consider the environment regularly at work.
Office workers can log online to the interactive website at www.greenofficeweek.eu where Green Office Week free resources can be downloaded to help make workplaces greener. Keen workers will be posting blogs about what they are up to, voting for their top 20 green products of all time and sharing their successes with other green-minded individuals.


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