Over half of carbon emissions are work-related so organisations have a vitally important role to play in tackling climate change.
Collective action in the workplace can lead to changes in policy and structures as well as individual behaviour and so is more effective in cutting carbon than actions taken by individual consumers.
Staff at all levels need to be engaged in the task of helping to reduce emissions. Union environmental or green reps play a key role in raising awareness and ensuring that environmental issues are included in the bargaining agenda with employers.
PCS has a growing number of environment/green reps.
A paper outlining the role of workplace environmental reps was discussed at a PCS national green forum in December 2007. This was later included in the 2008 conference document 'Becoming a Greener Union' and defines the role as follows:
1) Raising awareness and promoting green workplace practices with members - such as reducing waste, recycling, energy saving, green purchasing.
2) Liaising with the branch on green/sustainability issues that need to be raised with management.
3) Taking forward and promoting PCS policy and campaigns on green/ sustainability issues in the branch – eg on energy/climate change, fairtrade.
4) Carrying out environmental audits.
5) Monitoring employers’ activity on/progress towards green/ sustainability policies/targets
6) Involvement in developing best environmental practice in the workplace – eg through committees/working parties, developing environmental policies/ management systems, drawing up workplace agreements etc.
7) Networking with other PCS green reps to share information and good practice.
A motion was carried at annual delegate conference in 2007 calling for all branches to appoint an environmental or green rep. If you are intererested in taking on the role, speak to your branch secretary.
If you would like to sign up to receive PCS green e-news bulletins email email@example.com.
The TUC runs a three-day Trade Unions and the Environment course for green reps/activists. See the Unionlearn website for details of upcoming courses in your region. Please note that you need to have you application authorised by PCS in order to claim travel and subsistence. Applications should be sent to Evelyn Charles (firstname.lastname@example.org) or faxed on 020 7801 2763.