In August 2019, we committed to achieve "net zero emissions" by 2030 to end our contribution to climate change. This very ambitious target will require a radical change in the way we work, travel and deliver services to minimise our impact on the environment.
Everyone has a role to play to help make Falkirk climate resilient and a greener place to live.
Employee Green Charter
In 2019, the newly established Green Champions Network gathered a list of actions that every employee can take to contribute to the Council's ambitious target.
The role of this group is to promote resource efficiency in the Council and to support the Energy & Climate Change Team to ensure that sustainability is embedded in all operations and policies.
The network contributes towards the Council of the Future goals, spreading a culture of change and improving collaborative working. The group comprises voluntary staff members from all services and seniority levels.
List of actions
When getting ready to go to work, I will:
- Wear suitable clothing before turning the heating up Overheating a space by 1°C can result in an 8% increase in energy use and cost.
- Avoid driving by working from home when possible
- Rethink the way I commute to work
Is public transport or active travel an option? What about 1 day a week? What about car sharing?
When sending emails, I will:
- Only select relevant message recipients (limit "reply all") and refer to links instead of attaching files to emails
One email generates 10g of CO₂ per year and 80% of emails are never opened. A large attachment could have a footprint of 50g CO₂.
When going to a meeting, I will:
- Join meetings by phone or video call when possible
- Use electric pool cars to attend meetings when cycling and public transport is not an option
- Car share when several staff members are travelling to the same location / meeting
Most council offices are reachable within a 5 miles distance, with Abbotsford to Municipal Buildings being only a 10-min bike ride.
Before printing documents, I will:
- Print smart (double-sided, black and white, several slides per page) and only when really necessary
- Move to make things digital: stop using paper-based forms and look into digital signatures
- Regularly delete outdated versions of documents stored on the council's drives
When having a break, I will:
- Use my own reusable plate / mug / cutlery for lunch
- Try to eat less meat and/or dairy to reduce the carbon impact of my diet
- Ensure food waste is composted rather than going to landfill
- Walk, cycle or take the bus instead of driving at lunchtime, if I need to buy something
- Use efficient hand dryers instead of paper towels
- Use a refillable water bottle instead of single-use plastic cups
- Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that I need or ask colleagues to do a "hot drink rota"
Eating beef 1-2 times a week during a year emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as taking 1 return flight from London to Malaga.
Replacing beef with beans divides your emissions by about 100.
If the council stopped purchasing paper towels, it could save 190 tCO₂e/year, equivalent to the electricity use of 33 homes.
Before the Council banned single-use plastics, more than 150,000 plastic cups were purchased annually, representing ~ 5 tonnes of CO₂e, or 13,000 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle!
Before heading home, I will:
- Always switch off my computer at night or when not in use for more than 2 hours, if I don't need remote access
A PC monitor left on overnight can waste enough electricity to laser print 500 pages.
I will also:
- Embed sustainability in projects and contact the Energy & Climate Change team if needed
- Volunteer to take action to help the local environment