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Staff engagement was the key to achieving ISO14001

posted by Jan Deacon on 27 June 2011

tags: ISO14001 , Greening our business , Business ,

Having volunteered to take on the remit of environmental manager and lead our business to achieving ISO14001 accreditation – where to start?

As you would expect in a business whose reason for being is:

 ‘to help the public sector, businesses and individuals reduce carbon, adapt to climate change and tackle fuel poverty’ I had no shortage expert staff opinions on environmental and energy matters to choose from.

Environmental Audit

My first step – conduct an environmental audit to identify all the environmental aspects that apply to our business; then to rank them according to the relative significance of their impacts on the environment and on our business.

My audit findings revealed there was plenty of scope for improvement; we weren’t as good and green as we might like to think. This raised a concern for me, how would this news go down with our environmentally conscientious staff? How best to ensure we mend our ways and become a truly exemplar green business?

Staff Engagement

The solution lay in staff engagement of course!  I am pleased to say that greening our business has spread like a virus and less than a year since we started on our journey towards being awarded the ISO14001 standard all staff are infected.  The green bug is proving good for health and wellbeing too, we have had lots of fun and exercise along the way, including taking part in the CTC Cycle Challenges in both Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes. Getting me back on my bike after more than 5years!

Environment Champions

Enlisting the help of environment champions at both our offices made my job as environmental manager a whole lot easier. So a big thank-you to:

  • Ruth & Dale  - Waste Champions
  • Mat - Green Travel Champion
  • Susanna & Mark - Energy Champions
  • Dhan – who does all the technical stuff for our carbon management

The environment champions proved to be a real asset when it came to engaging all our staff in the process of developing our environmental policy and action plan. We ran a series of environmental action planning workshops which combined development of our environmental policy with environmental awareness training. The variety of style of facilitation kept things interesting, the champions came up with some fun activities which were great for engaging staff.

Because all staff had the opportunity to influence our environmental policy they have taken ownership and individual responsibility for implementing our environmental action plan. I have no doubt that with this level of staff commitment we will maintain the excellent green business standards we have achieved and continue to be creative in our commitment to continuous improvement . We are not perfect, but we are a lot closer to our vision of what an exemplar green business should be and we are justly proud of our ISO14001 international environmental standard award and all thanks to staff engagement.

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