RBS eyes £3m energy savings through employee engagement scheme

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is rolling out a sustainability engagement programme across the UK and Ireland after a successful pilot led to a 5% average electricity reduction and 500,000 disposable cups being correctly recycled.

The JUMP behaviour change project, operated by sustainability rewards scheme developer Green Rewards, encourages employees to engage in energy saving, sustainable travel, waste reduction and other in-house sustainability actions. 

The scheme organises colleagues into teams departmental teams, with a leaderboard displaying the performance of each team and individual. Winning teams and individuals are then rewarded with vouchers for outlets such as iTunes and Marks & Spencer (M&S) each month. 

RBS expects to make £3m savings from energy alone through the new partnership, thanks to simple-but-effective changes in staff behaviours such as switching off equipment and developing a better understanding around heating and air conditioning in offices.

RBS sustainable workplace culture manager Mike Lynch said: “Colleagues can earn points for their team for simple actions like switching off electrical equipment, reporting leaks, travelling sustainably and encouraging others to get involved. RBS is committed to reducing the environmental impact of serving customers and JUMP brings all our target areas together under one cohesive programme.”

On-site solutions

RBS piloted the JUMP scheme last year for 70 teams of colleagues within a range of workplace locations including branches, offices and cash centres. The bank reported that more than 2,500 activities were undertaken to reduce environmental impacts, with 80% of in-scope colleagues signed up.

RBS sourced JUMP through its Innovation Gateway platform which provides trials for green innovations and new clean technologies. The bank expects to save more than 40,000 tonnes of CO2 and 200 million litres of water – equating to savings of £7.5m – each year through the ongoing Innovation Gateway programme.

Commenting on this latest development, Innovation Gateway partnerships director Henry Majed said: “JUMP is another great example of how corporations can work in partnership to source innovative solutions that achieve their commercial and environmental targets. I am delighted at the prospect of JUMP being scaled up across the RBS estate.”

The art of persuasion

RBS joins a growing list of organisations that have implemented the JUMP behaviour change project, including a host of academic institutions such as Brunel University London,  Swansea University, Bournemouth University and the University of Chichester. Local authorities are also key customers of the JUMP programme, with Camden Council, Bexley Council, Torbay Council and Warwickshire County Council all having signed up.

As highlighted in a recent edie feature, companies looking to engage with employees on sustainability as a way of driving change are having to venture down more 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, while environmental charity Hubbub is using larger-than-life solutions – from giant cigarettes and voting ashtrays to music-playing poles – as a way of drawing attention to the serious issue of littering.

While the use of energy or waste-related league tables and rewards aren’t alien concepts for sustainability professionals looking to change behaviours, businesses often fail to bridge the gap between compliance and actual engagement by isolating these initiatives. For Birmingham-based Aston University, a holistic approach to behaviour change taken, 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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