Sustainability engagement and behaviour change at West Lothian Council

The Brief

West Lothian Council has both efficiency targets and climate change/carbon reduction targets, of which behaviour change is an integral part. Change Agents UK helped to recruit a dedicated Sustainable Behaviour Assistant to lead on their behaviour change programme, using the NUS Green Impact framework in twelve buildings identified as high-impact: the eleven local secondary schools and the Civic Centre –a partnership centre housing a number of council and Community Planning Partner services. The target for the behaviour change component of the overall project was to deliver £30,000 in energy savings as well as increasing awareness and engagement with resource efficiency and sustainability overall.

The Partnership

The Sustainable Behaviour Assistant worked closely with the council’s Climate Change Policy Officer. She worked with key stakeholders to develop and deliver two targeted workbooks of sustainability actions. This was supported and reinforced by the development of a host of materials, resources and activities, including an online information hub and specific campaigns (e.g. Everest Challenge, Earth Hour, Active Travel Planning).

Opportunity of the placement

Sustainable Behaviour Assistant, Georgina says: “This has been a great opportunity to hone my project development and mangement skills, as well as my communication and engagement skills, whilst learning to navigate the local authority world. It has also been a great opporunity to discover and make connections in the local sustainability landscape both through my work and through conferences and events attended in relation to my work.”

The Results

  • In the first 8 months of the project, 25 teams signed up across the two Green Impact workbooks, completing a total of 315 actions to improve sustainability performance. 
  • Increased staff engagement, through streamlining and improving the reach of the council’s sustainability initiatives and related communications processes.
  • Development of a monitoring and evaluation framework to help capture and demonstrate the long-term impact of the project.

There has been a lot of learning in this first year in terms of what works and what doesn’t. A lot of important groundwork has been laid and, going forward, activities will be better defined, better developed and better targeted, focusing more around measurable and demonstrable impact.

 

Published May 2015. 

Georgina has been a valuable resource for the council, creating a much-needed framework for behaviour change with creativity and dedication.
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