WHY DOES TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE ISSUES AT WORK MATTER?
Getting your colleagues engaged in taking climate action, both in the workplace and in their homes, will be one of the fastest ways to multiply your personal impact on carbon pollution.
Depending on how much influence you have, you might to want to focus on your employer’s own carbon footprint (things like how the buildings are heated, work-related transport, procurement, and waste) or you might simply want to tell colleagues about the 16 Count Us In steps, and encourage them to sign up as individuals.
Most employers have corporate emissions that are many, many times higher than any individual’s emissions, so any influence we can bring to bear at work will have a far higher impact than making savings at home (not that we shouldn’t do both!).
WHERE TO START? GET INFORMED
Watch this inspiring 20 minute video from world-renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe.
She explains why the most important thing you can do to fight climate change is to talk about it. This inspiring, pragmatic TED talk has been viewed nearly 4 million times, and with good reason. In it, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”
Read the “Talking Climate Guide” from Climate Outreach. It outlines different strategies for talking about climate issues. Climate Outreach say, “Having conversations about climate change in our daily lives plays a huge role in creating social change. We take our cues about what’s important from what we hear our family, friends, colleagues and neighbours talking about. Politicians need strong social consent to implement successful climate policies. But talking about climate change, especially beyond the green bubble, is hard. That’s why we’ve produced an evidence-based, practical guide to help make those conversations easier and more meaningful – and to come out of them feeling inspired and connected.”
FIND OUT WHAT YOUR EMPLOYER HAS ALREADY DONE (AND WHAT MORE THEY COULD DO):
Many companies are already taking climate action, so ask around at work:
- Is there a sustainability lead on your management team?
- Are there any ‘eco champions’ in your workplace? If not, is anyone keen? Ask at a staff meeting.
- Do last year’s annual review & accounts mention anything about the environmental impact of your employer?
- Does your company measure and report its greenhouse gasses? All quoted companies, plus larger unquoted companies and academy trusts are required to report their greenhouse gas emissions annually. For others, it is considered best practice.
- Ask HR whether the environment in covered by the current induction and training programmes.
- Has your employer signed up for a particular kite-mark, quality standard, or target?
There are a variety of targets they might have set, including:
- ISO 14000, an environmental management system.
- Race to Net Zero is an international campaign aiming for emissions to be halved by 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050. It’s generally aimed at larger companies.
- Together for our Planet is aimed at small and medium businesses as is the SME Climate Hub Climate Commitment.
- B-Corp is a framework for businesses aiming to balance purpose and profit.
- Bioregional’s “One Planet Living” uses ten themes to take a broader, more holistic approach to sustainably.
- There are many sector specific schemes, such as the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Let’s Go Zero for schools.
- And, of course, there is Count Us In itself, which many companies are using to engage their workforce in positive climate action.
Once you’ve found out what’s already in place, it should point to what action to take next.
A GREAT FIRST STEP: HOLD A CLIMATE CONVERSATION
Sustainable St Albans has created resources to help you hold a Climate Conversation. It’s totally free to use, and it’s ideal if you want to talk with others about climate change, but you’re not quite sure how?
A Climate Conversation is a chance for a group to discuss the climate crisis, their thoughts for the future, and what actions to take.
To run one, you gather a group colleagues, either on-line or in person, for a 2 hour session or 2×1 hour lunchbreaks. You download all the materials you need from our website, or email us to ask for printed copies. The materials guide you; no-one needs to be “the expert”.
All the materials you need to hold a ‘Climate Conversation’ are easily available on our website, alongside FAQs.