Highland Council staff encouraged to help tackle climate emergency by joining new Green Impact programme

green impact

Highland Council is launching a new carbon reduction programme for staff as part of its commitment to tackle the climate emergency.

The local authority’s Climate Change Team has created a fun and interactive way for departments and teams to improve their health and well-being, connect with other staff across the organisation and make positive changes to the workplace and their environment.

The programme is called Green Impact and staff can take part in fun and engaging actions through an online toolkit.

The environment is everyone’s responsibility, and for as little as half an hour a week, staff can gain a sense of satisfaction, teamwork, collaboration and take small but crucial actions towards wider change.

Green Impact is split into three categories, Gold, Silver and Bronze, and each depends on its impact and difficult level. Interaction is strongly encouraged, and the Climate Change team is urging departments, teams or floors of a building to join in.

Highland Council's current and future ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic should not be a barrier and should be seen as a way of fostering a greater sense of teamwork and togetherness at a time where many are working from home.

Although the moral responsibility is hugely rewarding there will be awards handed out after staff have completed their actions, which they get up to nine months to complete.

Chair of the Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: “When Highland Council officially recognised the climate emergency in 2019 we committed to do everything in our power to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our environment.

“But it’s not always about the big changes we can make. Green Impact is an excellent programme which I hope everyone will find both interesting and rewarding.

“We all have a personal responsibility to tackle climate change and this programme provides a fun and engaging way of doing your bit.”

Green Impact is easy, flexible, rewarding and fund and by getting involved staff can:

  • Make their workplaces a more enjoyable and efficient place to work
  • Work with new people from both within and outside the organisation
  • Learn about social, health and environmental issues and begin to make a real impact
  • Be recognised for positive actions you are doing already
  • Benefit from the shared experience of thousands of others across the country who also take part in the Green Impact programme
  • Attend and perhaps win something at the annual awards ceremony

Staff will also receive regular communications and the team is always there to support anyone who needs advice. Teams will also be supported by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands to complete their actions.

There are 141 various actions to choose from. For each completed action staff or teams will receive points. Actions are scored from 2-10 depending on time commitment and impact.

To win a Bronze Award you must accrue at least 100 points, for a Silver Award it’s at least 170 and a Gold is at least 210.

Climate Change Coordinator at Highland Council, Joe Perry said: “There are lots of fun and interactive ways staff can get involved with the Green Impact programme and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.

“You team can organise sustainable lunches, go on biodiversity walks, run energy awareness campaigns and even work with students to identify potential food growing sites at work.”

He added: “Staff can encourage colleagues to join their team and even begin completing actions right away.”

Future updates will be available on the dedicated webpage.

23 Feb 2021