Workplaces In Tncs: Can Green Practices Be Transported Across The Home-Workplace Border?

Friday, July 18, 2014: 12:00 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
David UZZELL , School of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom
Just under 50% of the world’s GHG emissions in 2004 were attributable to energy supplies and industrial production (IPCC, 2007). The demand for manufactured goods is expected to rise by at least 100% by 2050 (from 2006 levels), with a consequence that industrial emissions, if unarrested will lead to a 90% increase in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2007. Following new EU regulations, national governments have created policy instruments designed to reduce or compensate the level of emissions of specific organizations. However, these regulations have not proved to be effective, neither in terms of production nor consumption. The research project: Low Carbon at Work, attempts to understand the drivers for and barriers to environmentally sustainable practices at work and at home, and recognises not only the crucial contribution of industrial production to GHG emissions, but also that consumption is an inseparable driver of production. Investigating two TNCs (vehicle production and oil industry) in Sweden and the UK, we have asked under what conditions workers and managers are encouraged to transfer “green practices” from work to home and/or vice versa. We have also investigated how relationships between managers, employees and trade unions might encourage or prevent the adoption of ‘greener’ production processes. Both case studies include informational and life-history interviews to understand changes at different times of their life course. Our findings explain why workers are often unable and unwilling to carry practices between home and work, why they draw borders between those areas and under which conditions they become permeable and “green practices” are carried from home to work and vice versa. We have found how limited communication between hierarchical levels within companies as well as inflexible management practices discourage workers to suggest and implement environmentally valuable changes.