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FM 'one of the least eco-friendly industries'

12 December 2019

Facilities management is the second-worst industry when it comes to negatively impacting the environment, according to new research from Metro Rod

A study conducted by the commercial drainage expert asked more than 2,000 UK-based workers which environmental practices they partake in while in the workplace. The results determined which industries are having the most detrimental impact on the environment.

When workers were asked how easy their company makes it to be environmentally friendly, social housing came out on top, with 73 per cent of people saying their employer made it easy or very easy to be environmentally friendly in the workplace. This compares to only 36 per cent of people who work in travel and tourism.

Sales, media and marketing were the worst for environmental effects, followed by FM, travel and tourism and manufacturing. 

The full list, which ranks sectors from best to worst in terms of their eco-friendliness, is:

1 Social housing

2 HR

3 Legal

4 Healthcare

5 Education

6 Architecture

7 Local authority

8 IT and telecommunications

9 Retail, catering and leisure

10 Finance

11 Arts & culture

12 Manufacturing

13 Travel & tourism

14 Facilities management

15 Sales, media & marketing

The list took into account a range of environmental practices, including recycling, limiting paper use, and switching off appliances that are not in use.

The research also looked at which sectors are most likely to use plastic cups and cutlery – finding that local authority employees and those working in education using the least. HR workers, meanwhile, were found to use the most – 62 per cent admitted using single-use plastics in the workplace. A fifth of people also admitted putting grease, fat, food and wet wipes down drains while at work –something that can cause huge problems for the UK’s drainage network.

Looking at who was responsible for ensuring that workplaces remain environmentally friendly, all sectors across the board said they believe it is up to senior management, with almost half of respondents (46 per cent) stating that the management and owners of companies should take ownership of best environmental practice.

Peter Molloy, managing director at Metro Rod, said: “In general, we spend over 40 hours per week in the workplace, which is a considerable portion of our time. This means that there is significant potential that our collective activity at work has been impacting the environment more than we ever previously realised. And this is becoming a major part of a much wider problem.

“From using excessive amounts of paper to putting wet wipes in our drains, it is clear that the eco-friendly practices that have been adopted in our personal lives have not quite been translated to the workplace and this can cause serious problems for our environment.

“We’re making a serious call for organisations to reinforce the collective responsibility we all have to protect the environment from a business point of view, to ensure our UK workforces are playing their part in future-proofing our local and national eco-systems for many years to come.”

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