Meet the Sustainability Leader: Employee Engagement & Behaviour Change – Scottish Power

With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Employee Engagement & Behaviour Change Award, Scottish Power.

Meet the Sustainability Leader: Employee Engagement & Behaviour Change – Scottish Power

Scottish Power has succeeded in changing the behaviours of its staff and workers in the supply chain through dedicated personalisation efforts which uncovered unknown barriers to sustainable actions and replaced them with incentives and motivations that have transformed the business.

The energy firm’s aspiration to become a carbon-neutral company by 2050 is ambitious and extremely challenging. Internally, the energy and sustainability departments realised this couldn’t be achieved through policy and strategy alone, and therefore embarked on a company-wide employee engagement and behaviour awareness initiative aimed at creating the urgent and positive change required. A baseline was quickly established for how Scottish Power operated and, with the input of staff, areas where significant improvements could be achieved were identified.

One of these areas was transport, leading the company to introduce a plethora of solutions. Web-based platforms enabled colleagues from across the globe to work collaboratively without the need to travel at all, while a Sustainable Travel Guide provided informed choices and options for staff when journeys were necessary. A key facet of the Guide was the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Programmes, workshops and driver training were offered for staff that wanted to purchase an EV for personal use, with £4,000 provided as an interest-free loan and an additional £6,000 offered as an advertising grant to enable staff to purchase new vehicles.

ScottishPower had set a target to subsidise 50 EVs for staff, but, as of February 2019, had already incentivised purchases on more than 80 vehicles. The staff EV scheme has continued into 2019, with more than 100 ambassadors promoting sustainable transport across the workplace as well as in their networks of friends and family. In fact, feedback from the EV trials across the business has been universally positive – even alleviating concerns of range anxiety and charging availability. The staff at ScottishPower who manage the company fleet have confirmed that EVs are the most popular choice for staff, who are proud to be seen in a branded vehicle powered by zero-carbon renewable energy.

Other ambitions related to sustainable travel include surpassing a target for 10% of staff to take interest-free loans for rail travel and promoting lift-share schemes by reducing the total number of parking spaces available for staff. While this change was driven by new company policies and offerings, the success resulted from new-found understanding amongst staff.

More broadly, Scottish Power has made “sustainability contracts” a core part of team meetings. These pledges are designed to raise awareness and foster open, collaborative discussions. Specific targets have also been calculated for each part of the business to create a sense of responsibility for select sustainability achievements, with centralised monitoring. Additionally, staff across all departments have been given the title of ‘sustainability champion’. All of this is aimed at ensuring that staff are not passive participants; Scottish Power believes that employee engagement is paramount, from executive levels to graduates.

While these moves have ensured that staff feel empowered and involved, they have also generated benefits for the company as it gained knowledge of their expert insight and energy. The company had to understand that many potential barriers came from a genuine fear of the unknown and that education, coupled with a personalised approach, was key to overcoming these concerns.

At a wider level, the highest level of the Scottish Power has backed its carbon-neutral goal, as well as the firm’s alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). That leadership being involved from the outset has strengthened the sustainability ethos at Scottish Power, which has encouraged more staff to become involved as a result. In fact, regular “roadshows” see senior & middle management spend face-to-face time with staff across the country to help reinforce this message in a way that resonates with each individual member of Scottish Power staff.  

“We’re incredibly proud of the work we’re doing to deliver a better future, quicker, for our customers – and the biggest asset that we have in doing that is our staff,” a representative from Scottish Power told edie.

What the judges said: “Scottish Power’s thorough approach to supporting staff in reducing emissions from travel is an example for all. Judges were delighted to see that the business provides financial support and perks for car-sharers, whilst its success in promoting EVs to employees is a stand-out achievement.”

edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards

Now entering their 13th year for 2020, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are sure to be one of the biggest nights of the year in the sustainability and energy space, with some exciting new categories added to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.   

The 2020 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The entry deadline is Friday 27 September 2019. The Awards will then take place on the night of 5 February 2020 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


edie Staff

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