Workers under pressure to be seen to be green
25/10/2008

24-Oct-2008
A poll commissioned by Capgemini has shown that a third (34%) of employees had been forced by their peers to go green. 

Workers under pressure to be seen to be green

However, the research, to identify the most effective incentives to promote staff energy efficiency, found that almost half (42%) of the 1,389 employees questioned by YouGov supported environmental initiatives in the workplace because of their own environmental beliefs.

The polling provides valuable guidance to businesses keen to incentivise staff to reduce energy bills by highlighting how important a factor peer pressure and access to information can be. In addition to peer pressure, one in five (18%) see ignorance of environmental issues as a key barrier in green initiatives being implemented in the workplace. Wasteful behaviour by employees in office environments increases energy consumption by 20% costing UK firms over £157 million every year, according to Carbon Trust. This is set to climb further with energy prices for businesses having already risen 38 per cent in 2008, according to the UK Business Advice Barometer.

The research highlights that a one-size-fits-all approach to behavioural change is inappropriate. A variety of factors were identified by the research as potential drivers of green behaviours in the workplace. Personal success came closely behind personal beliefs and peer pressure with one in six (16%) employees seeing career benefits from being seen to be green, whilst 17 per cent expect direct financial rewards. Incentives based on personal gain were particular popular with younger workers with one in five (23%) employees between 18 and 24 believing financial rewards are an essential factor in encouraging employees to be environmentally friendly.

James Robey, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Capgemini UK plc, comments: “Achieving the necessary change in business culture requires employee engagement and co-operation. From our experience, engaging employees and offering them simple, effective ways of changing their behaviours appears to deliver the most significant level of engagement. This can only be accomplished through strong leadership from the top combined with simple effective systems at the front line.”

Across the nation, the West Midlands is seen to have the lowest (34%) inclination to engage in environmentally friendly initiatives, as opposed to London where more than half (52%) of employees share the green beliefs of their employers (see table below). Nearly half (45%) of those in the South West, the South East and Scotland are also following green initiatives for ethical reasons. Respondents who believe employees engage in green initiatives for ethical reasons
by region
Region %
London 52%
South East 45%
South West 45%
Scotland 45%
Wales 44%
North East 43%
Yorkshire and The Humber 40%
East Midlands 38%
North West 37%
East of England 37%
West Midlands 34%

Sector variations

61 per cent of respondents in the Leisure Industry believe employees engage in green initiatives for ethical reasons whilst only one in five (20%) in Agriculture share the same notion. Financial Services (52%), Professional Services (50%), Leisure (61%), Service Sector (49%) and Public Sector (45%) are all above average (42%) when it comes to believing that ethics is a key driver for their colleagues to follow green policies within the workplace. Respondents who believe employees engage in green initiatives for ethical reasons
by sector
Sector %
Leisure Industry 61%
Financial Services 52%
Professional Services 50%
Service Sector 49%
Public Sector 45%
Others 35%
Manufacturing 32%
Retail 28%
Logistics 28%
Agriculture 20%


*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2168 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th – 10th September 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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