The environmental impact of working from home | Press release March 24th 2021 | Hubbub

Page 1

Press release, [embargo] Wednesday 24th March 2021

Employees call for help to reduce cost and environmental impact of working from home • New research shows only one in five workers are getting support from employers to work and live more sustainably at home • Employers excluding energy use of home workers in carbon reporting are under-reporting their impact on the environment • Environmental charity calls for organisations to take action to support staff New research launched today by environmental charity Hubbub suggests that workers want to almost double the time they work from home compared to life before COVID-19 arrived – from 35% to 63% of their working week. However, the increase in household energy use associated with working from home is a cause for concern. Of the 3,000 UK residents polled, 68% of workers have noticed an increase in how much electricity their household has used compared to the same time last year and 54% have noticed an increase in gas use. Support from employers appears minimal with only 15% of workers saying their employer has contributed money to help them pay their household energy bills. This is a particular concern for younger generations with 3 in 5 workers aged 16-24 agreeing they’re worried about the impact of working from home on their household bills. It’s not just people’s finances that are feeling the strain from the rise in home-working. Many organisations had made great strides in developing plans to achieve net-zero, but scant regard has been paid to adapting these for a post-Covid world of work. Hubbub’s research showed 61% of workers agreed they would like to help reduce the environmental impact of working from home. Only one in five (21%) workers agree they are getting support from employers to work and live more sustainably at home and many are left in the dark about their employer’s approach to the environment. Just over a quarter (28%) of workers said their employer has communicated the organisation’s sustainability strategy to them and how they can play a role.

Natasha Gammell from Hubbub said: “If businesses are to achieve the ambitious environmental targets they are setting, they need to adapt and update their environmental policies to reflect this new way of working, including how they calculate their carbon emissions. This may mean for example, reporting on energy and water use of employees whilst working from home. This is information that 62% of those surveyed agreed they’d be happy to share but only 16% have been asked for. Many businesses are saving energy and water in their offices so they’re not just under-reporting by not including the energy use of their workforce working from home, they may actually be reporting a false reduction. “Our polling suggests that younger participants have significantly higher expectations from employers with regard to environmental action than older workers. Businesses that want to attract the next generation of talent need to be on the front foot to meet their justifiable expectations when it comes to responsible environmental behaviour.”  One employer already taking steps to adapt their approach is NatWest. Allan Wickham, Head of Climate and Data - Own Operations at NatWest said: “In 2020, we had 50,000 colleagues working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of this exceptional year, we have calculated and offset all colleague home working and commuting emissions (37,596 tCO2e). These additional emissions offset in 2020 go beyond our current reporting boundary of emissions in our direct operational control. To calculate these emissions, we collaborated with Eco Act, Lloyds Banking Group and other organisations to launch the first ever open source home working emissions methodology.”

Hubbub have identified 5 key actions employers can take to help employees be more sustainable while working from home: 1. Support them to work and live more environmentally sustainably at home (50% of employees agree they want their employer to do more to tackle the environmental impact of working from home)  2. Communicate the organisation’s sustainability strategy to all employees including how they individually can play a role (37% of employees said their employer hadn’t done this, but think they should) 3. Provide advice on how to reduce energy bills (1 in 3 employees said their employer hadn’t done this, but think they should) 4. Help and encourage staff to change to a green energy tariff (1 in 3 employees said their employer hadn’t done this, but think they should) 5. Help reduce water use at home (52% of employees reported an increase in water use whilst working from home)

Hubbub is bringing together leaders of some of the UK’s biggest businesses on Thursday (25th March 2021) to discuss and share best practice in tackling the environmental impact of working from home. As part of a series of discussions called Informal Conversations, Hubbub will stimulate debate about how the carbon reporting of unaccounted for homeworking emissions can be improved and how businesses can help employees to live and work more sustainably. For ideas and advice organisations can contact For more information, please contact the Hubbub team at Barley Communications:     Maria Kortbech –  07952 507270  Katie Raby –  07896 533547

NOTES TO EDITORS The survey was conducted by Censuswide in February 2021 and involved a nationally representative sample of 3,013 respondents, 1,346 of which had worked from home during the past year - referred to as “workers” or “employees” above. Agree is ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree’ options combined.

ABOUT HUBBUB Hubbub is an award-winning charity and social enterprise that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment - disrupting the status quo to raise awareness, nudge behaviours and shape systems. Their aim is to revolutionise communications with the public about environmental issues - using everyday language and good design to make environmental actions desirable and tapping into things people are passionate about such as food, fashion, homes and neighbourhoods. This innovative approach saw Hubbub win the Charity of the Year Award at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in 2020.  Since its formation in 2014, Hubbub has delivered more than 60 trailblazing environmental campaigns in collaboration with over 700 partners, helping to shift the national debate on key environmental issues such as food waste, sustainable fashion, air pollution and recycling. Hubbub’s campaigns include #LeedsByExample which brought together 25 of the UK’s largest companies to boost recycling on the high street, a 3-year partnership with IKEA to create the world’s largest consumer-facing sustainability campaign ‘Live Lagom’ and creating a Network of 100 Community Fridges across the UK, each redistributing on average 1.5 tonnes of food every month that would otherwise have gone to waste. Twitter: @hubbubuk  Facebook: @HubbubUK  Instagram: @helloHubbub  LinkedIn: Hubbub-UK

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.