Bournemouth University widens staff engagement programme after fall in energy and carbon levels

Bournemouth University is rolling out an organisation-wide project to boost sustainable behaviour among employees after a successful pilot saw the institution slash energy consumption by 14.6% across active departments.

The Green Rewards encourages staff to improve their sustainability credentials by rewarding them with ‘Green Points’, with monthly prizes available for top performing individuals and an annual charity donation for the top team.

Each behaviour targeted through the programme contributes to at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A six-month trial was well received by the initial target audience of 450 staff, of whom 45% said they had increased their sustainable behaviour at work and 39.9% said they had improved their health and fitness. Participants travelled 26,000 miles to and from campus sustainably and avoided 11 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

With the project now being rolled out to all 2,000 staff, Bournemouth Unversity sustainability manager Neil Smith is hoping to witness even more positive  results.

“We’re really excited to roll-out the Green Rewards programme to all staff at Bournemouth University,” he said. “As more and more employees take part, we expect to see real improvements to the health and sustainability of our university campuses, while on a global level every positive action we take contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Increasingly, we are seeing more universities and organisations taking steps to embed the SDGs within their sustainability strategies. Green Rewards is one way we can ensure our staff have a positive impact here at the University and globally.”

Getting engaged

The University will aim to develop an engaging communications campaign to work alongside the competitive elements of the programme to encourage lasting behaviour changes.

Bournemouth University is just one of a number of higher education institutions that works with Green Rewards to reward individuals for living more sustainably. Other clients include include Swansea University, the University of Chichester, the University of Winchester and Brunel University.

Just under two-fifths of the FTSE100 now offer rewards and incentives to their employees for engaging in sustainable behaviours. One of these companies, RBS, has rolled out Green Rewards’ employee engagement scheme across the UK and Ireland after a successful pilot led to a 5% average electricity reduction and 500,000 disposable cups being correctly recycled.

Companies looking to engage with employees on sustainability as a way of driving change are looking at innovative behaviour change routes that appeal to individuals. Some firms are mastering the art of individual persuasion. Sainsbury’s, for example, uses internal competitions to motivate its workforce on sustainability.

Birmingham-based Aston University has taken a holistic approach, with the University singling out individuals as ‘Green Champions’, while also relaying information on what those Champions and entire departments can change to enhance reductions. 

George Ogleby

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