We believe UNISON has a major role to play in lobbying for improvements to tackle global climate change and other major environmental campaigns.
We believe that if we are to tackle climate change we have to change the way we work. Over two thirds of UK carbon dioxide emissions are work related.
The public sector alone accounts for approximately 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum. And as a survey of members carried out by the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (TUSDAC) has shown, there is overwhelming support for the introduction of green measures at work and for unions to do more to protect the environment.
Changing the way we work means negotiations between the workforce and the organisations that they work for Trade unions have already begun to play a significant part in negotiating energy efficiency measures, green travel plans and reducing waste.
Along with other trade union members of the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (TUSDAC) UNISON are now lobbying government to recognise the role that trade union environmental representatives can play in helping to tackle climate change at work, by:
- carrying out environmental audits and walkabout surveys
- making environmental risk assessments
- communicating with members about the environment at work
- working with managers to establish agreed environmental management systems
For more details of UNISON''s campaigning on Green issues click here
UNISON guide to greening the workplace
10 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO AT WORK
1 - Switch all computer equipment, appliances, motors and machinery off whennot in use, for example at lunchtime. Modern appliances still use energy if left on standby. They are designed to cope with being turned on and off frequently.
2 - Take the stairs not the lift - it is often quicker, and you''ll get fit too. Climbing six flights of stairs a day could result in a weight loss of nearly 18lbs a year!
3 - If your workplace is hot enough to wear summer clothes in winter, turn the heating down. Work with union and Health & Safety reps to address over-heating caused by equipment or poor ventilation.
4 - If it is too cold, ensure radiators and heaters aren''t obstructed and ask your employer to install better insulation or even Combined Heat & Power.
5 - Check if lighting is on unnecessarily in the middle of the day, particularly near windows. 80% of the UK''s lighting energy is used at work - much of it wasted.
6 - If you are the last to leave work, make sure you turn everything off behind you, including printers, drinks machines, fans, lights, etc. Better still, leave earlier, and turn everything off earlier!
7 - Consider setting up a green travel plan. Some employers now offer incentives for lower energy ways of travelling, eg cycling, public transport, car-sharing and walking (or you could invest in a pedometer and practice getting up to 10,000 steps a day). If you have to drive, you could find out about training in efficient riving techniques and lower emissions vehicles.
8 - Recycling is great, but reducing waste and re-using is even better. Print on oth sides of paper, re-use envelopes, and think about ways of reducing other waste that is generated in your workplace. Landfill waste creates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
9 - Think about how water is used at work - can it be reduced? Water is a
precious resource, even in the UK, and pumping and heating it also uses energy.
10 - If there are barriers, talk to your workmates and your union about working out solutions. Over half the UK''s energy is directly used in the workplace. Acting collectively, you can be part of the solution.
LEARN MORE AT www.sustainableworkplace.co.uk