In a complete carbon audit you will have to include the emissions that are generated by your staff / members travelling for your organisation, which includes their commute. By creating a sustainable transport plan you can help them find less carbon intense and healthier ways to travel. This will benefit your environmental impact and their health.
Steps you should consider for creating your sustainable travel plan:
Create a team
The more inclusive you make the process of drawing up your plan, the more likely your staff and members will engage with it. One or two people should be selected to lead the efforts. If you’re looking after a big organisation you might want to look for professional help from a consultant.
Smart Journeys is a Cambridge based consultancy that helps employers and other institutions.
You will have to review and improve your provision for sustainable travel. Are there showers and safe bike storage for cyclists? Can you offer a notice board or digital forum for staff to arrange car pools? Do you provide enough charging points for electric cars? At the same time (or later in the process) you might also want to tune down your parking provision for cars. For some provisions, like footpaths, public transport or cycling lanes, it might be worth contacting your local councillors for support.
Encouraging staff to ditch emission intense and adopt more sustainable modes of transport can be done in a variety of ways. The most direct is to offer financial support towards bus passes, new bikes or electric cars.
There are currently two schemes that help employees finance new bikes:
You can also grant staff more time for business trips to allow them to go by train rather than plane. Competitions and other awareness campaigns can raise the profile and engagement among your staff / members: Who cycles the furthest distance or produces the least carbon per mile on their business trip?
Flexible and agile work
The last months have forces many businesses and organisations to introduce more flexible ways of working, whether they wanted or not. Many office workers have a mobile device like a laptop with which they can work from home. Many have set up proper home offices. Organisations had to improve their digital infrastructure to enable more video conferencing and other agile ways of working. Although having staff and members on location has it’s benefits, most can now work just as effectively from home. Use your sustainable travel plan to review how much your colleagues actually need to be in the office in future. Another benefit apart from reducing commuting costs and emissions, is that you will need to cater for less people in your space.
One obvious point is of course decarbonising your organisation’s own vehicle fleet. As soon as the next car or van needs to be replaced or added, you should opt for an electric vehicle. They are definitely on the way in and the government is providing more and more incentives to help businesses and individuals to buy electric vehicles.
More information on switching to electric vehicles is available on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
Energy Saving Trust has some useful resources around sustainable transport for businesses and organisations.