Every worker and workplace can help solve the climate crisis. Unions have a proud history of organising workplaces to improve working conditions. With climate change increasingly impacting our workplaces it’s time to get organised and make them greener, safer and part of the solution to global warming.
Here’s some steps you can take with your work-mates to climate-proof your workplace.
- Meet with your workmates and develop a list of all the ways climate change is affecting your work. Think broadly. How is your workplace dealing with heatwaves? Extreme weather events? Bushfires and smoke? Mental health and anxiety about climate change? Are there actions your workplace should be taking to keep employees safe from climate change and extreme weather events?
- Seek a meeting between management and staff to talk about how and why you want to climate-proof your workplace.
- Do a stock-take of all the actions your workplace is taking to reduce its greenhouse emissions. What else could you be doing? Take this list to management and see what they will agree to do. Here’s some of the actions other workplaces are taking:
- Switching the business’s electricity contract to a provider that provides renewable energy, either through GreenPower or if you are a large energy user contracting directly for renewable energy through a wholesaler
- Improving the energy efficiency of company buildings, equipment and machinery
- Reducing the environmental impacts of a company’s supply chain
- Reducing emissions from company transport
- Improving recycling and resource recovery rates across the business
- Reducing the amount of waste going to landfill (and saving money on waste disposal fees)
- Reducing resource use across the business
- Buying recycled and sustainable products
- Changes to work organisation, working hours and shift patterns which could help reduce the effects of climate change on job security or worker safety.
- Reducing the use of gas across the business or switching to other fuels
- Improving the energy efficiency of a company’s vehicle fleet
If you have an upcoming EBA negotiation, think about inserting a climate, just transition or environment clause in your agreement. Contact the ACTU via Mark Wakeham (email firstname.lastname@example.org) for examples of environmental clauses
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