VIBES Award: Green Team


  • Strongly motivated team comprising members from each department within the company
  • Members of the Green Network for Business and participate as guest speakers at events
  • Introduced SMART objectives to measure economic results of internal energy/water/waste/ transport savings
  • Between 2015-16 and 2016-17 there was an 11% increase in the number of staff walking or using sustainable transport for commuting purposes
  • Cost savings through green team activities = £6,715
Sponsored by: Anglian Water Business
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Changeworks is one of Scotland’s largest environmental charities; operating as a social enterprise. With over 30 years’ experience in sustainability, they work with organisations, communities and individuals to deliver practical solutions that reduce carbon emissions, fuel poverty and waste.

Changeworks has a strong, motivated Green team who have engaged in a wide range of initiatives to minimise the carbon footprint of the business. The team comprises members throughout the company and has strong senior management support.

The Green Team Award rewards teams that have recognised the importance of working together to deliver environmental improvements. Green teams are cross‐functional groups of employees who join forces to educate, inspire and empower employees around sustainability. They identify and implement specific solutions to help their organisation operate in a more environmentally friendly fashion.

Changeworks is commended for the wide range of initiatives that their Green Team has put in place. It was apparent that the team has taken into account the comments from the VIBES 2016 feedback and incorporated this into their operations.

The Green Team has annual SMART targets which are outputs of the ISO14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). Changeworks has recently been assessed and reaccredited to the 2015 standard. A focus of the new standard is that top management are required to demonstrate commitment to the EMS. Recent reaccreditation
demonstrates buy-in from senior management to Green Team activities. This is illustrated by the funding of the Green Team Chair role for 0.5 days per week and a budget provided for the team’s activities.

2017 was Changeworks’ 30th anniversary and to mark this the Green Team ran the ‘30 Actions for a Greener
Lifestyle’ campaign; using videos and infographics to inform staff and external audiences of actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Other engagement techniques include lunchtime knowledge sharing sessions and monthly TED talks; covering global environmental issues, home energy efficiency and waste reduction.

Activities of the Green Team since 2016 include:

  • ‘Monitor Monster’ initiative which rewards staff who switch off PCs/monitors overnight
  • Exploring viability of installing solar photovoltaics and rainwater collection
  • Vegetarian catering trial to inspire employees and visitors to eat less meat
  • Using a stationary supplier selling ethical, locally made, environmentally friendly products
  • Introduction of individual codes for printers to reduce paper use/printing
  • Purchase of second hand office furniture rather than new
  • Expanded electric vehicle charge points by 200% with charger available for local community
  • Cycle ride leader training provided and social bike rides organised
  • ‘Walk to Work’ challenge: 50% considered changing how they commute to work, 44% walked more after the challenge
  • ‘Raise your MPG’ campaign: encouraging staff to drive non-electric cars more efficiently
  • Providing storage for active travel commuters
  • Partnership with Water of Leith Conservation Trust enabling Changeworks employees to volunteer and support conservation in the local community
  • Expanding pallet garden and exploring possibility of a green wall
  • Prize money donated to Changeworks’ “Trees for Life” from pub quiz and ‘Workplace Journey Challenge’.

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Teresa Bray, Chief Executive at Changeworks, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised at this year’s VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards. Winning the Green Team Award acknowledges the hard work, creativity and dedication of our Green Team in engaging our staff to put sustainability into practice. As a leading environmental charity, we hope our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and sustainability inspires other organisations to work towards a more sustainable future.”