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Organizational Change
M&S Launches Companywide Campaign to Engage Employees in 'Making Energy Matter'

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a new employee engagement campaign to help the company cut energy use by 50 percent across its UK operations by 2020.

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a new employee engagement campaign to help the company cut energy use by 50 percent across its UK operations by 2020.

According to a recent blog post by Energy Program Coordinator Kate Neale, employee participation is key to M&S reaching the 'ambitious targets' laid out in its latest Plan A report — a 50 percent cut in energy and 35 percent cut in water use by 2020. So Neale says the Making Energy Matter campaign will communicate tips and targets to employees “in a multitude of different formats: from presentations to posters, displays to desk-drops, web banners to booklets, emails to in-house magazines."

"People are visual," she said in the post. "Long gone are the days when communicating meant a general announcement on Monday morning, then sticking a sheet of A4 on the company noticeboard. We believe that the more information we give people, about the impact and effect of wasted energy and water, the more likely they are to do something about preventing it. In short, knowledge is the key to unlocking people power."

Launched in 2007, M&S' Plan A sustainability program has already put the company on track to achieving a 35 percent resources-reduction target by 2015 against a 2006/7 benchmark, with the retailer enacting energy-saving Initiatives including the installation of Europe’s largest commercial rooftop solar array, LED retrofitting and a super-efficient eco-store. But as Neale points out, the biggest energy savings come from a combination of technology and internal behavior change.

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A 2014 study by Opower said behavior change could save UK businesses up to £500m a year. M&S competitor Sainsbury’s recently claimed recently that a 'simple employee engagement plan' had cut company-wide energy use by 3 percent.

"Part of the behaviour-change challenge with energy communications will also be to help crunch some numbers — making it count, in every sense,” Neale said. “In business, the old adage used to be that to ‘manage’ something first you had to ‘measure’ it. Now, I would add that you also have to ‘message’ it.”

In October, UK charity Business in the Community brought together representatives from Government and companies including Virgin Money, Osram, B&Q, Thames Water, and Housing Association AmicusHorizon for the Be Energy Aware campaign, which not only helped residents tackle energy efficiency in the home, it showed them just how much money they could save by doing so.