BDGworkfutures 'green' office survey says 70% feel it's not their responsibility

5 June, 2007


A new study commissioned by BDGworkfutures reveals that office workers leave their ethical hat at the threshold of their office. The research discovered that of those people who have environmentally-friendly initiatives happening within their company, 70% feel it’s not up to the individuals themselves to be responsible for them. Instead, they expect the responsibility to lie with company directors, facilities or office managers. The research was undertaken by BMRB and involved face to face interviews with 1600 office workers.

Meanwhile, nearly half of office workers find recycling (44%), switching off lights (48%) and switching appliances off from standby mode (49%) easier to do at home, according to the Green Initiatives survey. Nearly one in three (30%) respondents said recycling was the most important issue in terms of reducing the impact of the environment in the context of a typical office.

These findings should set off alarm bells for corporations across the board, as they highlight a stark contrast between the message they want to send out as a business, and the one that employees are experiencing and hence giving to the outside world.

Gill Parker, joint managing director of BDGworkfutures, is saddened by the way that corporations are lagging behind the zeitgeist of the Western consumer world,

“As consumers we may make ethical and socially responsible choices, but as employees we tend to relinquish this power to the property and procurement experts. This can be very frustrating and demoralising for the staff and potentially damaging to a corporate reputation. A few years ago, it was enough for a company to differentiate itself with the emotional cues it attached to its brand. That alone could secure loyalty from both consumers and employees. Now, both audiences expect more, namely a sustainable agenda that pays more than lip service”

More than six in ten (61%) feel that if they were searching for a new job and were offered two identical packages by two separate employers, they would choose the employer that took steps to reduce its impact on the environment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the figure was even higher among early-adopter Londoners, where 70 per cent said it would make a difference.

The Green Initiatives survey shows that employees’ hearts may be in the right place, but they expect the lead to be taken from above. They usually look to company directors, facilities or office managers, but better still if it’s driven from even higher.

Phil Hutchinson, joint managing director of BDGworkfutures advises that there is action that a business can take in the short term and with immediate effect.

“An organization must think green if the buildings they occupy are ever going to be, only by integrating culture with physical processes can a sound green philosophy be achieved.”

- ENDS -

Notes to Editor:

• BDGworkfutures commissioned BMRB to conducted 8000 face-to-face interviews, of which 1661 where office workers, for its “Green Initiatives” survey. The fieldwork took place between 22nd Feb - 21st March 2007

• BDGworkfutures is an international design consultancy focusing on strategy and design for working environments.

For further information, please contact

BDGworkfutures Tel: 020 7559 7400

33 St. John Street Fax: 020 7559 7401

London

EC1M 4PJ

Acrobat Document BDGworkfutures_PressRelease_Research_Jun07_guid249_60107.pdf


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