Employers should do more to encourage sustainability

Almost two-thirds of public sector workers say they have cut the amount of water they use at home but fewer than half are doing the same at work.

Flowing in the Right Direction: Water Use in the Public Sector, the report published by Water Plus, surveyed 500 people working across the public sector on their attitudes towards water use and the action they see their employers taking to encourage them to cut water consumption.

It found that most feel that employers could be doing much more to increase water efficiency, which would lead to lower water bill costs too. Only 26 per cent of public sector workers say they are encouraged to reduce how much water they use at work, but they are more likely to be urged to cut the amount of paper (82 per cent) and plastic (76 per cent) they consume.

According to public sector workers, water sits bottom of the list of priorities for employers, which also includes glass (41 per cent), food (32 per cent) and energy (30 per cent).

Only 26 per cent of employees say their employer has water reduction targets in place while 67 per cent believe the organisations they work for could do more to encourage them to cut their water use at work.

The research also revealed a significant regional divide within the public sector, with 36 per cent of Scottish workers paying greater attention to their water use at work in the past 12 months compared with those working in England (53 per cent).

Andy Hughes, chief executive of Water Plus, said: “The findings paint a picture of a public sector workforce becoming increasingly in tune with its environmental responsibilities, but not acting with the same sustainable vigour as at home. While we’re seeing a clear trend in people becoming more conscious about how much water they use, the research highlights the significant potential for employers to introduce new initiatives to cut consumption at work that could not only reduce bills but also enable them to become more environmentally sustainable This is not about suggesting workers are wasteful in their water use at work but increasing awareness and encouraging them to take a responsible approach wherever they are."