Universities focus on behaviour change to drive sustainability

There are many methods businesses and institutions can use to improve their sustainability and reduce their impact on the environment.

Investing in physical measures - such as natural ventilation to reduce reliance on energy-consuming heating devices - is one approach that can deliver quick and valuable results.

Another potentially rewarding strategy is focusing on the habits and behaviours of the people using your premises.

A number of universities across the UK have recently demonstrated what can be achieved through behaviour change programmes. Such initiatives can maximise energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, as well as supporting staff health and happiness.

The University of Winchester has committed to a full rollout of the JUMP scheme, the aim of which is to educate members of staff on how they can save energy, travel sustainably and improve their own wellbeing.

During a four-month trial launched in September, more than half (54 per cent) of enrolled employees committed to sustainable transport activities, while two-thirds helped to reduce energy consumption by switching off appliances.

Liz Harris, environmental projects assistant at the University of Winchester, said: "We've seen a really positive response to the JUMP programme at the university, with an engaged audience participating in activities every week and regularly feeding back to us how much they like the programme and what we can do to keep continually improving their experience.

"The university-wide rollout will allow us to keep improving our environmental sustainability and employee wellbeing here at the university."

Winchester is one of a number of higher education institutions that have signed up to this particular scheme, with universities in Swansea, Chichester, Bournemouth, Strathclyde and Reading also taking part.

By combining this sort of focus on behaviour and habits in the workplace with physical measures that can make a material difference to energy consumption and efficiency, employers can help lead the way to a more sustainable future for the UK.

Image: Pogonici via Stock