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Tea monitors to spy in offices

February 19, 2009 at 1:19 am

Envirowise has called on bosses to appoint an office tea monitor to make sure that workers are not over-filling the kettle when making their tea. Is this one step too far in a quasi-Orwellian world where Big Brother dictates yet another aspect of our daily life or is it a sensible move to help save the environment?

The DEFRA sponsored quango estimates that 30 billion cups of water are boiled needlessly each year in offices and wants to see a return to the traditional tea urn or, at the very least, the tea pot. Its advice should not only help cut greenhouse gas emissions but may also save businesses money. However, it has been criticised in various quarters.

A spokeswoman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Susie Squires, has accused the “quangocrats” of wasting taxpayers’ money whilst the Conservative spokesman for the environment, Peter Ainsworth, is appalled at the government fretting about tea monitors at a time when the country is facing recession.

Envirowise is given £10 million a year of taxpayers’ money to advise businesses, both in industry and commerce, on how to become more green. It publishes case studies of businesses who have managed to cut costs and improve their green credentials and shows how it has been done. In certain sectors it will also allow businesses to compare their environmental performance with that of their rivals. Industry specific advice is provided for the textiles, engineering, and food and drink sectors.

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