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June 2015 Certification Panel

17 June 2015 | News

FirstGroup, UBM and EE share their experiences in answer to questions from peers within the Carbon Trust Certification community.

Certification panel


Lancaster UniversityQ: "Lancaster University have successfully reduced their carbon emissions by 28% since 2005 through implementation of a range of projects and we are in the process of revising our Carbon Management Plan. Our target is to reduce emissions by 43% by 2020. As we embark on our 4th certification to the Carbon Trust Standard, it would be good to understand what measures other organisations are going about achieving their 2020 and 2050 carbon reduction targets."

Jonathan Mills, Carbon, Environment and Sustainability Manager – Lancaster University
Certified to the Carbon Trust Standard since 2009

A: EE – Louise Harry, Head of Safety & Sustainability

At EE we are increasingly looking at our value chain to continue to unearth carbon reduction opportunities. With potentially long and complex supply chains, collaboration is a key tool to work on; finding the common goals between us and our suppliers to reduce emissions. Equally with customer facing products and devices, we need to encourage and influence our end users to identify and buy-into new or different actions to deliver reductions.

Our value chain work is on-going & we are not as advanced as some other organisations. So we know we have areas to continue to improve our work in this area. Our supply chain engagement is via our supply chain/procurement department. Supporting our intention to integrate sustainability into the everyday activities of the organisation. We use on-line data collection & review tools, due to the volume of our suppliers. The results are more about risk management, confidence in our suppliers own management approaches and an ability to target our efforts to priority areas.”

FirstGroup plcA: FirstGroup plc – Katerina Robinson, Group Head of Environment

“FirstGroup published its first carbon strategy in 2009 and this has firmly placed carbon on the agenda at Board level. Our Climate Change Strategy contains specific targets for each division. To continue the improvements in carbon reduction, we build on our successes and in-house expertise, in particular in relation to our fleet. With regard to buildings, we work with a number of partners to pursue detailed energy surveys, re-lamping and solar PV projects. We also review the equipment we use and ensure we only purchase or lease energy efficient equipment in the future.”

Laura Timlin, Associate Director, Carbon Trust AdvisoryA: Carbon Trust Advisory – Laura Timlin, Associate Director

"In our experience the development of mid and long term targets require organisations to evaluate several criteria in order to understand what is feasible both from a technology and financial perspective before establishing targets.

There are a large number of “unknowns” that need to be considered. The landscape will be very different by 2050 both from an internal and external perspective and in order to develop an appropriate glide path for 2050 organisations need to consider three key questions:

  1. What is likely to change within the organisation e.g. will the organisational model change or is it likely to remain the same
  2. What are the new innovative technologies that are on the horizon that can be deployable in the lead up to 2050
  3. What part will grid decarbonisation contribute to emission reductions

There are of course other drivers that need to be factored into the decision making. The Carbon Trust has a wealth of experience in helping organisations to identify and understand sector trends as well as help customers make the business case for investment in action and explaining the benefits that acting on this agenda brings. As an example within the education sector organisations also need to align targets with those established by HEFCE and factor in the reputational benefits that committing to stretching targets can bring in terms of student recruitment."

If you’re interested in the support we can offer then get in touch – or call +44 (0)20 7832 4802.

Center ParcsQ: “Protecting the environment is at the heart of what we do at Center Parcs and this is not limited to our own forests, it is also about the wider environment too. We’ve recently achieved recertification to the Carbon Trust Standard and we’ll soon be making a big push to reduce out of house energy use. One of the components essential to succeeding is being able to reward our staff for saving energy outside of the business. We have already linked financial bonuses for all employees and introduced a Home Energy Savers scheme, but I’d welcome ideas on how you succeed in further motivating and rewarding staff?”

Chris Brooks, Corporate Sustainability Manager – Center Parcs
Certified to the Carbon Trust Standard since 2010

A: UBM – Faye Bennett-Hart, Group Sustainability Manager

"UBM is a global business with over 100 offices in more than 20 countries. We have been running annual energy contests for the past 3 years. These have increased in popularity with our 5,000+ staff, and the accolade of ‘Top of the Energy League’ has become increasingly important to staff at all levels. The competitive angle has definitely created the greatest energy savings we have seen. For one month of the year, the focus is put entirely on energy saving. Awareness programmes are put in place on the run up to the competition, some offices put together ‘energy teams’ - keen energy savers who ensure their colleagues are remembering to switch off after hours and not using excess energy. Innovative ideas for saving energy in our offices are also shared through our internal communications ‘Hub’, and progress throughout the month monitored by our global online smart meter system. At the end of the month, all our global offices’ energy consumption in CO2 per head are compared against the same month in the prior year, and over 100 offices placed into a league table with the highest % reduction winning ‘Top of the League’ position. Prizes are given to those offices hitting the highest places in the league, but every year, I realise that the greatest prize, and what encourages all our staff to get involved the most, is the kudos of being announced as the winner."

 Joseph Williams, Technical & Change Manager, the Carbon TrustA: Carbon Trust – Joseph Williams, Technical & Change Manager

"Staff motivation is very dependent on a number of factors that can help you to breakdown your staff into different groups that will respond to different methods of incentivising. In general, I would say that the following are a good start:

  • Reasons for entering a career in that company/sector
  • Seniority in business
  • Personal attitudes to sustainability

The answers to these sorts of questions help to give an idea of what would motivate staff to change behaviour. For example, senior staff may be more engaged with reducing overheads for business; green thinkers motivated by reducing carbon; money driven/career ambitious staff may be driven by top down recognition (financial and verbal). To create a reduction campaign that really makes a difference, you need to ask your staff what is important to them and respond to that.

Research by the Carbon Trust has shown that in general people respond to feedback, helping them to understand that their behaviour is actually having an impact. This doesn’t have to be financial, but simply an old fashioned “well done” will do.

Our experience is that you need to consider all of the underlying motivators and barriers to improving staff behaviour. Combining this with a transparent, rewarding and clear targets with easy to track progress will have you reducing your out of hours energy in the short and long term."

For more information on employee engagement and for a week’s free trial of the Carbon Trust’s Empower tool email or call +44 (0)20 7832 4802.

Babcock InternationalQ: "Babcock International have been a Standard Bearer since 2009. We recognise that one of the fundamental values in certification to the Carbon Trust is the ability for it to drive continuous improvements. With that said though, it can be a challenge to maintain the level of communication required internally in such a diverse business and across many thousands of employees. What recommendations can you offer on maintaining regular communications throughout the business whilst making them relevant and appropriate to a vast number of employees?"

John Mathias, Sustainability Engineer – Babcock International
Certified to the Carbon Trust Standard since 2009

A: EE – Louise Harry, Head of Safety & Sustainability

"A common challenge for us as well. We aim to get the different sites, departments & directorates to identify their own areas. This builds greater engagement & responsibility at these natural (to the organisation) decision making levels. We also give our environmental approach an identity, so that it can stand out/compete with the other messages that our employees are provided with."

UBMA: UBM – Faye Bennett-Hart, Group Sustainability Manager

"UBM has also been a Standard Bearer in the UK since 2009. We were delighted to achieve certification for all our global operations in 2014. We have an area devoted to ‘Sustainability’ on the ‘Hub’, which allows staff to gain a virtual ‘sustainability badge’ when they have read and signed up to regular updates in this area. Global sustainability newsletters are sent out on a biannual basis, and we are working towards increasing this frequency. Sustainability activity in UBM covers both a wide and varied range, so the newsletters are designed so that readers can be directed to other areas, should they wish to find out more."

Jamie Plotnek, Corporate Communications Manager, the Carbon TrustA: Carbon Trust – Jamie Plotnek, Corporate Communications Manager

"The first thing to think about is identifying your audience and targeting the right people, as some roles have far greater influence on energy and resource use than others. For example, in an office the cleaners are often the last to leave at the end of the day, so they should turn off lights and equipment overnight. This means you don’t need to communicate at all with most staff members to achieve significant savings. In general when trying to change behaviour then focus on one opportunity at a time, until it becomes a habit. And remember that communication is a two-way street: it is important to engage and receive feedback on why people do things in a certain way, or what might be preventing change.

Posters, stickers and internal emails are not going to have much impact in isolation. Internal sustainability champions can be effective, but this only tends to work when you can find people that are both passionate and persuasive. Fortunately there are some useful tools to engage staff with specific workplace opportunities, such as the Carbon Trust’s Empower software, which is used by employers from Nationwide to the NHS."

E-mail to arrange a week's free trial.



The Carbon Trust helps organisations communicate results to stakeholders/customers/senior management in a way that they can value.  E-mail or call +44 (0)20 7832 4802 for more information on how we can catalyse change within your business.

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