Green your workplace

Green UNISON Week gave UNISON members the chance to show support for the school climate strikers ahead of their campaign to raise awareness and the school climate strike on 20 September.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “…Young people demand politicians take seriously the damage being done to our planet and act to save its future.

“To support their stand we are encouraging employees to reduce their own carbon footprints but more importantly ensure their employers have a plan to green their workplaces completely. That way we can all begin to make a big difference quickly.”

Below are some ideas you can help to green your workplace.

  • Encourage your workplace to make more use of tele and video-conferencing, rather than getting staff to travel to attend meetings.
  • The rearing of cattle is a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Encourage your team to have a meat-free lunch day once a week – there are plenty of recipes online.
  • Check your workplace recycling scheme is being used correctly – are people recycling what they can, and putting things in the right bins? If not, run an education session.
  • But before you have to recycle your paper, just check if you really need to print. Sending documents electronically or, even better, having a chat can be so much greener!
  • Take your plant to work! Desk plants not only make your office feel more homely and help oxygenate the room, they also absorb pollutants from the air.
  • Remind people in your office to turn off computers, unplug phone chargers and turn off lights each evening.
  • Talk to your UNISON branch about raising environmental issues with your management. For example, you could submit a motion at your AGM to reduce the amount of plastic your canteen uses.
  • If you work in local government, contact your pension scheme and ask them to divest from fossil fuels. There’s a useful guide here.

As Car Free Day happened on Sunday this year. Several streets across West Yorkshire closed to car traffic and organised events.

By closing roads for the day and hosting family-friendly and community-led events, residents had the opportunity to come together with their neighbours to enjoy the activities on offer and consider how we might all reduce our carbon footprint and improve air quality.

The link below showcases some of the activities that took place and other ways you can help.