At Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, Prospect branch reps have negotiated a groundbreaking deal with the employer, Babcock International, which means environment reps receive the same recognition and facility time as safety reps.
The 1,300-strong Devonport branch now has 14 trained environment reps who received dedicated training from Prospect earlier this year.
The company has set up a joint environmental improvement committee with managers and union reps. The dockyard has already introduced a practice of putting oil drums on top of bonded containers, instead of leaving them on the dockside. These containers stop leaks, so that oil won’t pollute the river.
Branch chair Steve Barber explained: “The sort of things we are looking at include getting people to recycle, reducing power use and finding other ways to save energy. This is a big industrial site, so for example, energy-efficient pumps and motors would make a big difference. We hope to look at the larger-scale stuff as well as smaller things.”
At BT’s Adastral Park site near Ipswich, Sustainability Champion Andrew Cassy and Prospect carbon club colleagues have organised a full programme of activities for the week. These include an informal talk on local climate impacts like flooding and coastal erosion with a speaker from the local Environment Agency office; promoting World Water Day; local energy activities and sustainable travel.
Adastral Park is BT’s research and development headquarters. The park is home to 3,500 BT staff and 500 non-BT employees employed by more than 30 companies.
Andrew Cassy said: “Our Climate Week activities will help people relate to and understand the issues and what they can do to help reduce the long term impacts. This type of education, awareness and active discussions will help make a difference and build on the union’s strengths.”
Prospect’s head of research Sue Ferns said: “Half of UK emissions are produced by work activity. They are an obvious place to focus action on climate change as organisations are better placed than individuals to install cost-effective green measures.
“The need to strengthen the link between sustainable workplaces and sustainable jobs has never been more urgent. Enlightened employers have recognised this and are giving their reps the time and resources to do the job.
“There is no shortage of evidence that green reps are worth their weight in gold. We hope Climate Week will help get the message out to all employers that co-operation and collaboration are good for the environment, good for business and good for workers.”