A union guideline for reducing carbon emissions at your workplaces

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1 A union guideline for reducing carbon emissions at your workplaces ITUC OBJECTIVE : To empower workers and union delegates in the fight against climate change, calling on concrete actions that could be taken in their workplaces to reduce emissions.

2 A UNION GUIDELINE TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS AT YOUR WORKPLACE The labour movement is one of the most diverse and powerful movements in many countries in the world and has played a key role in affecting change on many of the greatest issues of recent centuries from women s emancipation to civil rights to the anti apartheid movement and many more. The struggle against climate change will only be won if we profoundly change every workplace. Here s how workers can do it. 1. MEASURE ASSESS THE CARBON EMISSIONS OF YOUR WORKPLACE Here are the main sources of carbon emissions. Grid electricity: This includes all electricity sourced from the national grid. Grid electricity is mainly produced by fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Your electricity supplier should be able to provide accurate records of your consumption, but if your bills are based on estimated readings you should ensure you have carried out an accurate meter reading before the start of your action year. Grid electricity is mainly used for lighting, heating, cooling and IT equipments. On site fossil fuel use: For most organisations this means gas for heating and kitchen use, but it also includes other on site fuels such as coal and heating oil. Your fuel suppliers may be able to provide accurate records but if data is missing for any of this fuel use, then your organisation should: (a) start tracking usage and (b) attempt to reduce it by 10% relative to a best estimate of the previous year s total. Vehicle fuel use: assess how many workers come to work with private cars and aim for a 10% reduction relative to a best estimate for last year (we'll tell you how you could achieve this below). Air travel: The aim here is to reduce the carbon footprint of your organisation s air travel by 10%. After measuring how many trips have been made in a year, aim for a 10% reduction. A good start is to simply avoid one in ten trips made by air. Waste: While waste reduction objectives are difficult to quantify, a considerable reduction in waste at the workplace can raise awareness and modify behaviour. We will indicate you below ways of reducing wate. Water: Identify what is the yearly water consumption in the workplace and aim for a 10% reduction. 2. TAKE ACTION REDUCE FOSSIL FUELS USE Why reduce carbon emissions? By burning fossils fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, either directly or through electricity use, we are releasing a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases that collect in the earth atmosphere and trap the suns heat. This gas concentration, called «greenhouse effect», produces drastic climate changes such as heat waves, hurricanes, flooding and droughts. Therefore, we must reduce our carbon emissions in order to fight against climate change. How to reduce carbon emissions?

3 3 The quickest way to directly reduce CO2 emissions is to use as little carbon emitting energies as we can. Apart from reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, a lot of energy can be saved just by improving energy use. Best use of energy is called «energy efficiency». Why save energy at work? Saving energy at work is important, because more CO2 emissions are generated in our workplaces than in the home. Besides, energy costs affect an organisation s bottom line and jobs. Improve your workplace s energy efficiency Insulation A good insulation is extremely effective in improving energy efficiency, and reducing energy bills. o Is temperature an issue, either generally or at particular time of day? If so, is the workplace properly insulated and draught proofed? Lighting, heating/cooling/ air conditioning Maximum individual controllability of lighting, heating, cooling and air conditioning allows less energy waste and greater energy efficiency. The most available form of renewable energy is using the sun s natural heat and light wisely, through workplace design and use. It is important that heat or ventilation sources aren t blocked and that thermostats are smartly sited and timed. 19 C is warm enough, and over 24 C is too warm. o Are there automatic power reducing features, such as motion sensor lights, timers on heaters, water heaters? o Can individuals control or influence the heating, cooling and lighting in their workspace? If so, let s campaign about reasonable heating and cooling. If not, ask management to consider options for reducing use. o Are all bulbs low energy? o Is lighting on in areas, or times of day, when there s enough daylight? If so, try to find why and to avoid lighting at daytime. o Is heating or cooling on in areas, or at times when it doesn t need to be? o Are people opening doors and windows even when cooling/heating is operating? o Are the thermostats in the right places? o Are they set to the right temperature? o Is heating or ventilation blocked by any furniture/ equipment? Equipments & computers Equipments and lighting use a lot of energy, produce carbon emissions and waste money. Consulting workers before any major purchasing decisions will minimise the waste due to misuse. o Is there a commitment to buying equipment and goods only when necessary, ensuring they meet the latest energy standards? o Are staff trained on using equipment in an eco friendly way? It may include «do not refresh webpages all the time» (for webmasters), do not send thousands of e mail that each have an energy cost, use green search engines etc o Are eco options and timers for equipment enabled? o Flat screens are more energy saving. Are all PC monitors flat screen? o Is any equipment left on when not in use? Why? o Are there automatic options like motion sensor lights and automatic power downs of PC after working hours? o Are equipments labeled with the amount of energy it uses. If not, an electricity monitor can get this information. Reduce polluting, carbon emitting transports

4 Vehicle fuel use: workers who have to drive from and to work should be encouraged to switch to lower carbon emitting alternatives such as biking, walking, public transports or car sharing. Air travel: workers who have to travel by air for work should think in lower carbon alternatives such as video conference. Check out: o Are people biking, walking, car sharing and going to work by public transports? o Is there a travel plan that promotes low carbon transport and reduces unnecessary travel? o Are there incentives for low carbon transport such as flexible working hours? REDUCE WASTE Even better than recycling is reducing the use of resources by having a well thought purchasing strategy. By reusing and recycling products at work, we also use less energy and carbon than new products made from virgin materials. Recycling schemes vary by area, but a good one should give information on what can and can t be recycled, where the waste is handled, and how much waste has been produced by your organisation. Then, reducing waste to zero should be a target, as waste often ends up in landfill sites, which creates methane and contributes to global warming even more than CO2. Reduce the use of resources o Is there a purchasing strategy, based on necessary purchases only? o Is there a commitment to reduce the use of resources in general and disposable items and nonrecyclable resources in particular? o At work, purchase local products, that did not travel by air, as much as possible. Reduce non recyclable waste o Can you identify areas for non recyclable waste reduction and implement a waste reduction strategy? o Encourage employees to reduce and re use non recyclable items (plastic bags, cups, furniture) at work and at home. Recycle everything possible o Are paper, plastic, cans, glass and all other major waste streams recycled routinely? o If not, check out local and regional recycling schemes and identify the non hazardous wastes produced by your company which can be recycled. o Paper: ensure new printers and copiers can and are set to print on both sides and two pages in one. o Print on both sides before sending papers to recycling. Buy recycled products o Is everything bought recycled where possible? SAVE WATER We need to save water because it uses a lot of energy to be treated, pumped, delivered and heated. Workers should have access to clean drinking water without having to rely on plastic or glass bottles producing carbon emissions. o Consumption of drinking water and use of plastic or glass bottles. o Are water saving measures in place?

5 5 3. RAISE AWARENESS AMONG WORKERS Share and spread information by organising a briefing for all workers You can organise a briefing on climate change, presenting the campaign, other unions actions, etc. This briefing can also be an existing documentary or presentation by an expert. Organise trainings among workers You can use these materials and guidelines and any other source of information designed by your union or other relevant organisation. Use facts and targets that focus on a particular area and can be immediately understandable. See commitment from the top to the grassroots, avoid making people feel guilty but rather part of the solution. People at all levels are more likely to act if they understand the financial and practical impacts of carbon concerns. Invite workers to take action Use these guidelines to start to shape your action plan step by step : measuring your carbon emissions, then establish the reduction target and plan how to reach it through daily actions. 4. GO FURTHER AT HOME Encourage workers to adopt measures at home and spread them among their families, friends, clubs, associations etc. IN YOUR UNION Bring your experience to your work council or workplace committee and call for them to take action, make audits and call on the company to further reduce its emissions. Elect a person in charge of the carbon reduction campaign This can be a new role or held by existing union representatives. They could act as a link between management and staff, but their first target should be campaigning among workers to develop carbon reducing practices at workplaces. Ask your representatives to call on the company for an environmental audit There are many ways of auditing and measuring environmental performance of your company/organisation. Find out measures used by your company and ask the company for another audit if necessary. Contact your sectoral federation or your regional/national center and link this to national actions in favour of ambitious climate policies. Join the international labour movement working on this issue and contact the International Trade Union Confederation csi.org )

6 FOR UNION REPRESENTATIVES Check out your organisation/ company actions towards carbon reduction o Does the organisation understand and explain its carbon footprint? o Has the organisation had a carbon footprint audit or other environmental audit? o Has it implemented the recommendations? o Does it have written environmental policies and/ or an accredited green management system (such as EMAS, ISO14001, Carbon Trust carbon Management Scheme)? If so, is it covered by a Emissions Trading Scheme, or a Carbon Reduction Commitment? o Has it developed a carbon or environmental management plan, which should include a commitment to work with staff and union(s)? o What key environmental indicators does it publish? o Who has responsibility for progress (overall and at operational level) an individual, a committee? o Is the union currently involved? WORKERS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT PLANS THEIR EMPLOYERS HAVE TO DECARBONISE WORKPLACES AND PRODUCTION PROCESSES. UNIONS DEMAND A SEAT AT THE TABLE WITH THE SOCIAL DIALOGUE THAT ENSURES CHANGE? GUARANTEES SKILLS AND SECURES DECENT, SUSTAINABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND JOBS.

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