Breaking the mould at Bournemouth University

The south coast institution has reduced plastic use on campus after rolling out a Green Rewards behaviour change programme to all staff

Bournemouth University (BU) has seen improvements to sustainability and wellbeing after introducing a Green Rewards behaviour change programme to all staff.

The programme was rolled out to all staff in January this year, after a successful six month pilot in 2017 which engaged a third of its target audience.

Since commencing, the programme has helped further raise the profile of sustainability and wellbeing at the university and tackle important environmental initiatives, such as reducing plastic use. With over 40% of staff signed up and participating in activities, BU has saved over 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions and seen over 515kg of disposable cup waste avoided. Staff have also taken significant steps to improve their wellbeing, including taking part in nearly 10,000 hours of exercise and travelling over 130,000 miles, sustainably, to and from the university.

The programme has also helped BU to embed the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, with staff able to earn rewards for taking part in activities that support them; they are also rewarded for signing the Sustainable Development Goal Accord.

The programme is operated by employee engagement specialists, Green Rewards, and is bespoke to BU, with activities tailored toward the university’s strategic plan, called BU2025. Using leader boards, gamification and team and individual prizes, staff can report and track their positive behaviours, like walking to work and using reusable coffee cups.

“Over two thirds felt they had improved their sustainable behaviours at work, showing that the programme has made a real, long-lasting impact.”

Winning teams and individuals can choose from a range of prizes, to benefit both the environment and their local community. The overall team prize after six months was won by the Finance and Performance team, who chose to support Bournemouth Foodbank with £100 worth of food donations.

Dr Neil Smith, Sustainability Manager at BU, said, “Right from the start, the Green Rewards programme has allowed us to achieve fantastic levels of engagement from staff and has been excellent in supporting our university sustainability and wellbeing initiatives. It’s great to see so many staff getting involved and receiving prizes for their positive actions.

“A survey of participants found that the majority thought Green Rewards supports the university in reducing its environmental impacts, and over two thirds felt they had improved their sustainable behaviours at work, showing that the programme has made a real, long-lasting impact.

“We’re looking forward to seeing some exciting redevelopments of the programme and new activities for staff to take part in, in September.”