Last month the Shugborough Estate’s new Green Champions team met for the first time. The team is made up of members of staff from across the site – the museum, mansion house, visitor services, volunteers and buildings and grounds maintenance teams were all represented.
The team looked at Northfield Eco-Centre’s thermal images and explored current issues as well as both short and longer term ambitions for green improvements. Discussions during this first meeting were wide ranging – everything from closing doors to solar panels, green tourism to composting.
Several initial priorities emerged including:
- Creating an environmental policy for the entire estate that relates specifically to Shugborough and co-ordinates activity across the site.
- Selecting 10 priorities to include in the policy and stating the timescale, cost and resources required to achieve each priority as well as indicators that can be used to measure success.
- Engaging staff and volunteers to embed cultural change and communicate the practical changes the team wants to make.
- Including the environmental policy in staff refresher training and volunteer inductions.
- Liaising more closely with the cleaners to reduce energy use, in particular by reducing the number of lights switched on while the museum is closed.
The Green Champions were also joined by staff from Staffordshire County Council’s Climate Change team who offered lots of helpful advice and suggestions. An external point of view can be a useful steer for a new Green Champions group.
Here are some of their top tips for greening teams, actions and communications:
- Induct all new staff and volunteers on relevant environmental issues. Include things that are really specific to their day to day work; recycling facilities, switch off procedures and printing should all be included in your induction checklist. It is far easier to instil green behaviour at the start than make changes later.
- The greenest organisations tend to be those with good practice from senior managers. Commitment could be in the form of an environmental policy, giving staff time to work on certain schemes or attendance at green champion meetings.
- Focus your work: identify and plan up to 10 main greening opportunities and come up with a SMART action plan for implementing them.
A major objective for the Shugborough Green Champions team is to reduce the cost of running the estate. Shugborough is part of the West Midlands Greener Museums cohort aiming to reduce its energy bills by 20% by February 2015. The Shugborough team will meet monthly to plan and support work towards this target. Keep following this blog to find out whether the group succeeds!