Change needs champions from within. This may sound like a truism, but GAP’s experience of encouraging energy-saving and waste-reduction in the workplace says otherwise. Their whole strategy is based on Environmental Champions, individuals at all levels of an organisation who can deliver the commitment which technology alone cannot provide.
GAP is a network of national organisations committed to energy-saving in the workplace. Building its teams of champions, it then trains them to produce energy audit reports as well as giving specialist advice and wider support to enable them to spread the message.
The programme has developed into a viable commercial service with organisations paying £25,000 for the first year of work. And the payback for participants is real with a 4% energy saving for the 22 organisations fully-monitored, saving over 3,100 tonnes/year of CO2. And almost three times as much CO2 is saved indirectly by waste-reduction initiatives. Equally organisations gain motivated and informed employees, over 1,600 of them acting directly as champions by 2010.
As governments around the world wonder how they can get mass buy-in to carbon-saving plans, they would do well to think where their champions are going to come from. And perhaps ask the likes of GAP for a bit of advice.