Driving forward environmental aims and objectives
A UNISON case study

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Page 4: SMART objectives

Precise objectives are an essential part of a strategy.  Without clear objectives, it is difficult to evaluate what a strategy is trying to do or whether it has been achieved. Using the SMART approach to setting objectives helps to make them:

  • Specific objectives should specify what they want to achieve
  • Measurable an organisation should measure whether they are meeting objectives
  • Achievable - the objectives set must be achievable and attainable
  • Realistic the objectives must be realistic
  • Time the timeframe to achieve the objective must be clear

As UNISON developed its objectives, it added the following requirements, namely that objectives need to be:

  • understandable- so that everyone knows what they are trying to achieve.
  • challenging - so everyone has something to strive for.

UNISON's objectives relate to three key work streams that have specific and measurable activities:

1. UNISON is reviewing its own carbon footprint in order to set an example for other organisations to follow.  Activities include:

  • carrying out an audit by the Carbon Trust, an independent company set up by the government to assist organisations in reducing their carbon emissions. The trust identified how the union uses energy and gave options for being more energy efficient
  • changing the power provider for the union”s HQ and many of its regional offices to green electricity tariffs (electricity produced from natural resources e.g. solar/wind)
  • introducing recycling facilities on site, for example, bottle banks
  • arranging hybrid cars for union officers which will reduce carbon emissions.

2. To help members to make their own workplaces more environmentally friendly, UNISON is:

  • developing supporting materials for its web pages (www.UNISON.org.uk/green) to help members put green issues on the agenda at workplace meetings
  • working with members on pilot projects so that the union can learn by doing
  • supporting environmental campaigns such as Water at Work by providing members with materials that include best practice examples and top tips

3. UNISON is undertaking campaign and policy work with other organisations also focused on environment issues. For example, it is working with the organisation Stop Climate Chaos. This collaboration aims to:

  • increase the target for carbon emissions to an 80% reduction by 2050
  • incorporate aviation and shipping as part of the climate change bill
  • set annual reviews to focus and keep track of the carbon reduction target

UNISON | Driving forward environmental aims and objectives