Making the case for environmental improvements

Environmental teams and champions

Guide

You may find it useful to appoint an environmental 'champion' or team who can help implement environmental improvements and encourage the active participation of other members of staff.

The champion's key role is to co-ordinate and facilitate the work. As well as appointing any supporting team members, the champion should act as the main focal point for communications, resources, action, programmes and training.

To maximise their impact, the champion needs the support and commitment of senior management and the wider team that will deliver the improvements.

During the early stages of a programme or project, the champion is likely to take the lead in collecting data and identifying opportunities to improve environmental performance. Useful data to collect includes the cost and quantity of raw materials and energy used, and waste produced.

Choosing an environmental improvement champion

It is important to choose the right person to be the champion. They should:

  • be enthusiastic about the role and willing to learn
  • be credible at all levels of the business
  • have the communication skills needed to organise resources, meetings and training, and the ability to liaise with all levels of staff
  • be able to motivate workers, overcome barriers, resolve problems and continue with progress

The size, nature and culture of your business will also affect the choice of champion. Larger businesses typically appoint someone who knows the staff and is familiar with processes, as well as any technical, quality and environmental issues. This might be a production manager, site engineer or quality manager. In smaller businesses, the champion is often the managing director or production manager.

Get everyone involved in environmental improvements

To successfully integrate your initiative into the culture of your business, you should involve workers from all areas. You could also consider involving trade union workplace representatives if you have them.

Ideally, teams should be cross-functional. People from different roles and with varying experiences will bring different skills and ideas, and will ensure a wider commitment. Team working will also lead to the identification of ongoing opportunities for cost savings. See the page in this guide on ongoing environmental improvement.