I did two presentations at the NHS Scotland Event 2010 conference in Edinburgh today on Green Workplaces.
Health boards, like the rest of the public sector, will have to contribute to achieving the ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Climate Change Act. Whilst this is a challenging new duty, it is also an opportunity to make savings that do not impact on patient care. As workplaces are responsible for half of all emissions, they are key to meeting emission targets.
A interesting point came out of the procurement session. Scotland is already benefiting from having a co-operative model in procurement, compared with the competitive English model with a myriad of organisations doing their own thing.
My key message was that the traditional top down model simply doesn't deliver the necessary culture change. Staff surveys show that organisations that follow this model end up with staff that do not know about the environment policy and care even less. In contrast an approach that includes genuine staff involvement can generate whole organisation support. This approach fits in well with the NHS Scotland partnership model.
The TUC Green Workplaces project provides all the resources an organisation and their trade unions need to develop a really exciting project. There are good Scottish and UK case studies in most sectors. The approach is to negotiate a green workplace agreement that starts with an audit, then hold staff awareness sessions leading to genuine staff engagement. This should be focused on practical measures like energy saving and green travel plans. The TUC provides a handy 20 questions checklist to get started.
Green workplaces are more efficient, better places to work and contribute to a healthier Scotland and a safer planet.