Office workers suffer 'eco-apathy'


Most UK workers are leaving green activities to others and lack faith in their company's environmental policies, new research from Canon has shown.

Just five per cent of workers polled are more environmentally conscious at work than at home, where recycling and energy efficiency is common practice, the research found. Furthermore, only four in 10 believe that protecting the environment during office hours is their responsibility.

Instead, 30 per cent of respondents feel that company bosses should shoulder the burden and 16 per cent that it should be the government's responsibility.

"The green debate is not a new one and big businesses have acknowledged the importance of a robust environmental strategy" - said Andy Vickers, managing director of Canon UK & Ireland. "However, these results indicate that individual employees have either not bought into their company's policies or, perhaps, don't believe they are genuine."

Worryingly, just over half of employees said that their company does not have a green policy designed to reduce their environmental impact and, where one does exist, 42 per cent said that it is just for show.

In addition, in a true sign of what Canon has dubbed 'eco-apathy', one in 10 admitted to not even knowing what a green policy is.

"These results do not paint a good picture in offices up and down the country and it is shocking to see just how disinterested UK workers seemingly are when it comes to doing their bit to protect the environment" - said Vickers.

He added - "Every office worker needs to understand their individual impact when it comes to the environment and taking responsibility for improving company policy needs to be a collaborative effort between company bosses and staff. Without effective communication of green strategy throughout an organisation, more damage will be done than good."

Focusing on paper wastage, Canon found that office workers unnecessarily throw away an average of eight pages of A4 paper every day. This equates to approximately 120 million pages of A4 that do not need to be printed every day. This could easily be cut in half by setting office printers to default to double-sided printing, Canon said.