Green Week – How to Improve Your Carbon Literacy & Engage with Your Staff

Bailey Partnership

Having signed up to the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge and made a commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2030 both as a business and in the projects we deliver, the next goal was to look at ways to achieve this. Like many practices and businesses spurred on by the increasing drive towards a lower carbon economy and will to avoid climate catastrophe, the road to Net Zero is daunting and with every turn seems to raise more questions than answers. The construction industry as a whole is rushing to meet these challenges and it is both reassuring and exciting to see the momentum build with new and innovative solutions. However, it is increasingly clear that this requires a concerted effort from all involved and in order to do this, we must firstly upskill and improve carbon literacy.

The UK was honoured to host COP26 in Glasgow this year and it was a great opportunity to push the climate agenda within the UK. A huge number of organisations hosted webinars, conferences and talks all aiming to inspire the industry to do better. At Bailey Partnership we used this opportunity to raise awareness of our commitments and to galvanise our staff across all of our many disciplines by holding a Green Week during the second half of COP26.

During the first week of COP26, we initially launched a social media campaign that asked a question each day both to our staff and also to the wider online community. This coincided with a chat room specifically set up for this that enabled all of our offices to interact regardless of location and whether members of staff were working from home or in the office. As the week passed we saw a slow but gradual uptake of engagement within the chat room and also to the questions which was encouraging and provided a good warm-up for week two.

The second week of COP26 saw us launch our Green Week. We continued to ask our “Question of the Day” but followed this up with a daily activity and lunchtime seminar. The daily activities included going meat-free and trying vegan food, reducing car travel and minimising waste. The questions and activities were intended to offer a lighter introduction to sustainability as a whole looking at wider issues incorporating both physical and mental health instead of simply reducing Carbon Dioxide. During this week our Sustainability Group also hosted a series of seminars using Google Meet that included discussions on Life Cycle Thinking, Changes to Legislation and Meeting Performance through Collaboration.

As we progressed through our Green Week we saw the uptake of participants grow alongside the chat room activity. During the online seminars, the chat feature on Google Meet was increasingly active and this also translated to offline discussions within the offices. All of the seminars were recorded so members of staff unable to attend could watch at a later date.

We culminated the week with “Fresh Air Friday” offering staff the opportunity to get outside as a group for a walk and continue the discussions.

Overall Green Week was a tremendous success and we really felt we had created some positive momentum within the business. As a multidisciplinary practice with 6 offices across the South of England, there are a wide range of views and opinions. In order for us to successfully achieve our goal of Net Zero by 2030, it is vital that we are able to bring all of the different disciplines and offices together and focus on this single strategic goal. By holding Green Week we were able to raise awareness and engage with all of our staff in this process.

As we move forward we will be holding regular sessions to continue to improve our carbon and sustainability literacy enabling us to keep pace with the rapid changes we are seeing within the industry. Green Week was so successful that we are already planning our next event to coincide with COP27 and intend to hold this annually, giving us an opportunity to check our progress and disseminate information learnt from projects. We recommend holding a Green Week to any practice planning their own Net Zero journey.

Currently, we are working on at least two Net Zero projects and we expect this trend to continue, particularly with future changes in legislation and policies. Unlike separate practices that may all be at different stages within their own road to Net Zero, Bailey Partnership is in a strong position with our disciplines aligned to the same sustainability targets to assist clients in delivering their Net Zero ambitions. If you would like to discuss how we may be able to assist you, please contact us.