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How does behaviour change help business organizations? Business often looks to meet environmental challenges by adopting new technologies. If an organization wants to be more energy efficient for example, they may invest in a range of new energy saving fixtures and devices. These changes only look after the “automatic” uses of energy. Discretionary uses need to be addressed to ensure success. If your staff leave lights and computers running, or prop open windows and doors in winter, all the value of your new energy saving systems may be lost.

Think for a moment about an organization that wants to reduce water use while reducing energy consumption. New technologies and systems can help reduce water and energy consumption but a great deal of the project’s success may depend on having employees participate fully in the change through new behaviours and engagement activities that enhance the water and energy savings.

A business whose goal is to reduce their environmental footprint becoming “greener”, or one whose goal involves being compliant with environmental regulations, needs the co-operation and participation of staff across the organization. Field workers may have a far greater impact on the organization’s ability to meet environmental regulations than any policy, technology or regulation.

Developing an environmental management system, making energy savings or water use reduction a top priority, reducing waste and increasing recycling, fostering the use of transit or carpools are all simple examples of environmental change programs. None of these initiatives will be a success unless you can engage your stakeholders and your staff. You simply cannot legislate these changes. People need “buy-in”, they must choose the change.

So while new technologies, policies, practices and protocols are useful tools to help your organization reach environmentally related goals, none of these will be fully effective unless your employees are aware, informed and fully participative.