Bristol Energy is a national gas and electricity company, owned by Bristol City Council. It is a purpose led business; building a sustainable energy company with social value at its heart. From local job creation to staff volunteer days, carbon reduction activities and well-being initiatives such as training mental health first aiders, Bristol Energy put an estimated £7m social value back into the Bristol community in 2018/19. The company recently reached its 100,000 residential customer milestone and also supplies around 4,500 business meter points. Bristol Energy is growing its portfolio of renewable energy with 54 contracts with independent, renewable generators. In 2018/19, the business switched all tariffs to come from 100% renewable sources.

Bristol Energy’s relaunched vision ‘to create a sustainable energy company that has social value at its heart’ was the focus of its Learning at Work Week. It was a perfect opportunity to educate and build the curiosity of colleagues about ‘sustainability’. This included Bristol Energy’s own specific contribution to the city’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the ways in which  individuals and organisations can support sustainability by reducing their carbon footprints.

     

The team brought together the vision and the company’s three values ‘Be Brave and Curious’, ‘Be Purposeful’ and ‘Be Connected’ to drive the design, communication and delivery of Learning at Work Week

Each day of the Week focused on a different aspect with related activities. On Monday, Renewable Energy was the theme. Colleagues could find information on the Renewable Energy Facts Board; join in a Meet and Greet with the Trading and Renewable Energy Team and calculate their individual carbon footprint. Tuesday looked at Future Technologies with an energy products showcase and City Leap Projects Talk. On Wednesday, Recycling was the talk of the day with a bring and buy sale, the launch of an eco bricks initiative and information on recycling. Colleagues could check their energy efficiency on Thursday with top tips, a lunch and learn and videos on climate change. At the end of the week, the organisation ran a fun Bingo game and Sustainable Future Quiz and invited pledges from colleagues on reducing their carbon footprints.

The activities were designed for all colleagues and offered in different formats. There were showcases and talks which people could attend at lunchtime to gain the most footfall and freedom to attend. The same information was then shared on the Learning at Work Week website (in the form of voice recordings and slideshows) so they could be accessed at any time and at any location. Bristol Energy also provided desk-based activities such as the sharing of articles, videos and key information to ensure that home workers, part-timers and colleagues with more restrictive roles were able to get involved.

For each activity, colleagues could learn about the wider theme and what Bristol City is doing specifically to support this bringing the company’s vision to life. By starting with a carbon footprint calculator at the beginning of the week, colleagues could then learn throughout the week how to reduce their footprint in different ways e.g. energy efficiency or recycling, and make a commitment to this on the last day.  Using innovative learning opportunities such as the bring and buy sale for preloved items and hiding energy efficiency tips across the office has helped build curiosity about different ways of being sustainable. To win the bingo, participants had to engage with the activities and information presented during the week encouraging colleagues to be curious in a fun and game-like way.

To align the week’s promotional activities with the sustainability theme and with carbon footprints in mind it was decided to make communications mainly online and through word of mouth. When paper based promotions were used, such as the teaser poster, these were made of recycled paper.

A special Learning at Work Week promotional sign was made out of used paper, plastic bottles and plant pots to show colleagues how to get creative and repurposed items. The team created a special collaboration space for LAW Week where all the activities took place and key information was posted. A LAW Week website promoted activities, took bookings and featured a daily blog to update colleagues on events. A hashtag for the week #SustainableFutures promoted the week through the company’s internal social media platform and on the website. Face to face promotion included colleague briefings hosted by the Managing Director and team meetings by the LAW Week Colleague Project team.

The week was evaluated using data from a survey, the answers to the Sustainable Futures Quiz and the pledges made by colleagues to reduce their carbon footprint. The team could see how much information colleagues had retained and their engagement in sustainability matters.

Colleagues appreciated the different formats for the sessions and found the week enlightening. They were encouraged to find out more and in some cases make changes to their home and work lives in relation to sustainability.

Overall, colleagues have engaged and become energised about sustainability. This benefits the company as it feels more confident that colleagues understand what the vision means and the importance of sustainability to the business and the city. The week has helped colleagues be more curious, a key value, and this will be supported by further lunch and learns on the vision and wider values of the business.