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How do you get the green light from employees for implementing energy-efficient practices?

Changing behaviors in energy consumption.

AMCOR, a world leader in innovative packaging, wanted to lead the way in showing businesses that there’s more than one approach to reducing energy consumption in the workplace. At their Smithfield packaging site, they knew that simple actions such as turning machinery off at the end of a shift could have a profound effect on the conservation of energy without impacting productivity. There was just one problem – their employees weren’t implementing them. The technical programs they had created to date were not proving to be effective. To help better communicate the company’s environmental objectives and help to shift employee thinking, they called upon Ogilvy PR for a strategy.

One of the first steps of the program was to explore the way employee behaviors influenced energy consumption. It turned out that the majority of employees did not understand the environmental consequences of their behaviors and were concerned about safety and productivity failures if they switched off the wrong machine at the wrong time. Language barriers posed an additional challenge, as 75% of Smithfield employees are from non-English speaking backgrounds.

The team looked at how to could engage and involve employees in the identification and implementation of energy saving ideas. The initiative had to be an AMCOR-owned and driven to be a success. It was important that employees felt confident that they were part of the process, rather than doing something that was imposed on them by management.

The campaign, Project Green Light – Bright Ideas for a Green Future, provided training and specific guidelines around the desired behaviors. Tactics included a video that starred Smithfield employees talking about the environment, global warming and what it means for them, as well as reminder cards fixed to specific machines that were produced in Vietnamese, Mandarin, English and Samoan.

How did it work? Sustained employee behavior change resulted in a 30% reduction in base load energy consumption overnight and a 70% reduction over the weekends. At launch, Amcor Smithfield had already saved the equivalent of two weeks’ worth of energy use simply via employee behavior change. According to the client, “These are groundbreaking results. Energy-saving programs to date were technically focused, but this campaign has shown that communication programs can match or even exceed the savings made by technical solutions.”