Highly commended – Business in the Community West Midlands START Awards 2011 – Engaging Employees in Sustainability
Aston University, Aston Go Green
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led University known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce.
In order to raise awareness of the issues surrounding sustainability and improve their environmental performance Aston University has made efforts involving staff to ‘Go Green’. To achieve this goal, Aston has launched a number of campaigns and projects to try and raise awareness of sustainability-related issues. Held for the first time last year was the Go Green Awards programme. This programme aimed to get champions signed up in each department to be responsible for managing a workbook for staff with the aim of making their work area and colleagues ‘greener’. Held on campus for the past two years Go Green Week includes events organised by staff and students such as lectures, games, external speakers, and film screenings.
The main challenge was to reach over 1200 staff and keep them committed despite time pressures and existing job roles.
The majority of staff and students were reached by involving the Communications department and using a number of different messages, posters, email, social media, newsletters and face-to-face contact. The Go Green Week was particularly beneficial due to the physical presence on campus across the entire week and gave the team the opportunity to talk to people they may not otherwise have communicated with. Another important element in overcoming initial wariness was to demonstrating the commitment from the University. It is important for both staff and students to see that the organisation is committed to increase sustainability and invest time and resources in doing so. Staff are more willing to commit to a project with the full support from senior management and so were able to devote some of their normal working day to take part in these activities.
Aston University has measured savings in energy usage of around 8.4%, including approximately 4% which attributed directly to behaviour change. Financially the savings made through behaviour change equate to nearly £25,000. Aston University’s commitment to improving their environmental performance has been recognised by its 5th place in the People & Planet Green League table, published in the Times Higher Education guide.
The above successes could not have been achieved without the collaboration and commitment from a cross section of university departments.
SWM like that the benefits of this scheme go beyond energy and monetary savings. Increasing awareness means students and staff alike can take lessons learnt into their own everyday lives.
More information about this project can be found on the.