Congratulations to our South Lanarkshire Branch on their successful Climate Challenge Fund bid. The ideas they come up with for greening the workplace could lead the way for similar union work across the public sector.
The project will focus on encouraging reduced emissions through energy efficiency and greener travel options. Members will be able to borrow energy monitors to check their energy use at home and develop alternative public transport plans for each workplace.
This project will demonstrate the contribution trade unions can make to tackling climate change in the workplace by engaging with our members on the issue. By doing so members will not only start to reduce their own emissions but will be more likely to demand action in the workplace. More than two thirds of carbon emissions are work related.
Most workplace projects on cutting carbon are led by employers. A bottom up project, promoted by the trade union, stands a much better chance of winning workforce support and making the real changes needed. UNISON Scotland campaigned for the Climate Change (S) Act 2009 to be as strong as possible with a clear duty on the public sector, ensuring it leads by example. All public bodies need to comply with that duty from January next year and we are calling for negotiated green workplace agreements to help them do that.
We have issued guidance to Scottish branches and there is now a detailed UNISON Greening the Workplace toolkit that shows just how to do this. In times of financial crisis greening the workplace is not just good for the planet - it makes economic sense as well.