Here in Guernsey the States of Deliberation have just approved its Climate Change Action Plan. The government will now legislate for a target of net zero emissions (GHG) to the atmosphere by 2050. There will be an interim target of reducing these emissions by 57% on 1990 levels by 2030. Legislation is helpful, but it is actions that will help us to address climate change. Governments cannot achieve this on their own. We need to act as communities, businesses and individuals if we are to be successful.
So what does this mean for businesses and what part can they play?
First of all they need to see the response to climate change as an opportunity, not a threat. For example, as part of their contribution to the reduction of GHG emissions, businesses can start with a Travel Plan for their office and staff.
A workplace Travel Plan is a long-term management strategy to promote more sustainable transport amongst staff, visitors and deliveries to a site. It would usually address a variety of different travel types to and from a site, namely:
- Commuter journeys
- Business travel undertaken by staff
- Fleet vehicles
- Delivery and contractors.
For Guernsey, as an island jurisdiction with extensive international trade, it is appropriate to extend Travel Plans to include off-island travel.
The benefits of a travel plan to the business
Travel Plans bring benefits to the business, its people and the local community by:
- realising financial savings on the cost of providing and maintaining parking spaces;
- improving staff health and reducing absenteeism thereby increasing productivity;
- improving the business’s corporate social responsibility reputation, by contributing towards achieving national environmental targets and reducing emissions;
- supporting the States’ policy objectives with respect to Transport Strategy, Energy Policy, Climate Change Policy & Revive & Thrive and reducing GHG emissions;
- demonstrating the business’s commitment to ESG. This is particularly relevant through alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also assists with the preparation needed for applying for the ESI Monitor Environmental Award;
- reducing expenditure on mileage claims and other business travel costs;
- improving the business’s image with both customers, suppliers and neighbours;
- reducing staff downtime spent travelling on business;
- helping recruit and keep staff by making journeys to work easier and cheaper. This improves the company’s image as a responsible employer; and
- reducing delivery and customer access problems caused by traffic congestion on and around your site.
How staff benefit
Employees also benefit from the introduction of travel plans for a number of reasons. In the first instance they should benefit from the reduction in the cost of travel to work. In some cases it may even remove the need for them to own a car. By moving up the travel hierarchy by changing commuting habits provides staff with opportunities to build healthy exercise into their daily lives. Travel plans can help staff complete the required 150 minutes of physical activity each week. They can also reduce staff journey times to work. It is possible to encourage a better work-life balance through flexible working and reducing the need to travel on business.
Collectively these outcomes all contribute towards improving the mental health and well being of staff with then feeds through to the bottom line of the organization’s financial performance.
Specialist support can help
People experience loss aversion when something they are used to, such as a parking space at work, is taken away from them. It is often helpful to use an outside adviser to help with the development of a travel plan as they can provide independent facilitation to diffuse negativity and anger associated with change. I can provide a dedicated resource to focus on the preparation of the travel plan when internal resources are already busy. It is not unusual to find a travel plan often sits on the “to do” list as a nice to have rather than essential. As legislation comes forward and Guernsey starts to address the Climate Emergency that time is over.
So what do you do now?
If you are serious about ESG and want a proportionate, cost effective travel plan then let’s talk. Together we can take your first steps and address Climate Change now.