Employee Care & Climate Change
Arguably, the responsibility to maintain a sound policy with regard to Climate Change falls under the remit of employee care as much as providing adequate health and safety information and equipment does. Be sure to emphasise this to your employees when introducing – and continuing education around – good work practice with relation to Climate Change.
Whilst emphasising this it is also important to stretch this factor so far as you possibly can, and this may even entail suggesting a course of action for your employees on the way to work, and even outside work.
So far as anyone can tell global warming is very real and is accelerating. If measures are not taken to slow it down we could all face environmental catastrophe. As your employees are your biggest asset you should be keen to make sure that they have this information to hand and know how best to challenge climate change both at work and at home.
Helping Your Employees Help ThemselvesJust as health and safety factors are not enforceable if the employee does not want to maintain a responsible attitude towards themselves and those around them, factors surrounding a good climate change policy are not enforceable if the employee is either ignorant of the need for change or just doesn’t care.
In either case education is the best course of action and if education does not work you are fully entitled as an employer to use the methods of coercion (i.e. your usual disciplinary procedure) to ensure that best working practice is observed. Remember that saving energy means saving money, so if have put in place guidelines that suggest all equipment should be turned off after use, then you naturally have a right to enforce those guidelines for your own benefit.
Many employees (all but the most stubborn and awkward!) will wish to do all that they can to help save the environment and in that case you do have a moral if not a legal responsibility to help them out of work (all the more so if you are taking great pains to ensure that they are helping the environment when they are at work).
For the most part education again is the key, and in any situation when you are pointing out the benefits of doing something to help the environment at work it should follow that the same can be applied around the home. This follows in everything from switching the lights off when you are not using them, to eating a healthy organic and locally produced diet.
The factors which most clearly switches over between the home and work are those points at which work must be done at home (something more and more common in these demanding times when home computer systems allow for work to be carried on outside the office) and the journey to and from work. In these cases an employer concerned with saving energy in order to save money and the environment at work would be quite clearly in the wrong to not extend help in terms of advice to those wishing to reduce consumption of fuel in these areas.
The best thing an employer can do is to provide the most efficient equipment where company equipment is provided (i.e. company cars that run on efficient fuels). Following this advice should follow that given at work, with details of the Energy Saving Trust being passed on to those who require further information on their home energy efficiency needs.