Travel

How we travel has a big impact on our environment and for small organisations can account for the biggest source of carbon emissions.

Steps you can take

Reduce your commuting and business mileage

Talk to your team - staff, volunteers, trustees and others about ways to reduce car mileage and emissions and then implement them. Set yourself a target or challenge to reduce by 10% in six months or something similar and then set a new target.

Some ideas to get you going:

  • encourage greater use of public transport
  • encourage staff and volunteers to car share on their commute, and to meetings and events
  • meet virtually rather than in person
  • join a car club and use their electric or hybrid vehicles for business journeys

Also share information with your team about how to drive better to reduce air pollution and emissions.

Support hybrid working

During the pandemic your staff may have had to work from home and just because everything has opened again doesn't mean that you all have to go back to the office.

One of the benefits of people working from home is the reduction of carbon emissions through people no longer having to travel to work.

Depending on the delivery of your services, you might be able to have a working policy where there are some elements of work which don't require people to be in the office they could work from home for some days during the week. This would reduce your carbon emissions through travelling.

Encourage staff to use public transport

Talk to your team about what might encourage and help them to use public transport more.

A couple of ideas:

  • Paying upfront costs for public transport season tickets for your employees. Paying for the ticket upfront makes it cheaper overall and it prevents employees from having to pay a lump sum as you can take it out of their wages on a monthly basis. You could even do this for volunteers but would have to come up with some arrangement as to how they would repay the loan.
  • Introduce and encourage more flexible start and finish times so team members  can use public transport at the time that's most suitable for them.  Including flexi-time in the deal makes life a lot easier as people can then avoid rush hours and ensure they're getting transport at sensible times, making it easier for them to go green.

Hold virtual meetings and events

One of the things we can thank the pandemic for is saving time travelling to and from meetings since they all became virtual. Not only does it save time for you but it also reduces carbon emissions as people don't need to use transport to attend meetings.

So before you decide to hold an in person meeting, have a think about whether anything extra is gained from having it in person and how far people will need to travel.

You might decide that it can be held virtually or in some instances have a hybrid meeting where some people attend in person and others join virtually to save on carbon emissions.

If the meeting or event really needs to go ahead in person, encourage people to get public transport by holding the meeting in a venue with good public transport links and provide public transport information or encourage car sharing.

Introduce a cycle to work scheme

A cycle to work scheme means that your staff can purchase a brand new bike to ride to work and the accessories to go with it, with no upfront cost. They pay for the bike tax-free, through payments taken from their salary.

It’s a great way to improve staff wellbeing, reduce emissions, increase loyalty, and save money too!

Electrify your travel

If you have any organisational vehicles - cars or vans - consider going electric when it comes to replacing them. Make the case to funders for the environmental reasons for doing so.

Another possibility is to join an electric/ hybrid car club as a corporate member. Many car clubs such as Co-Wheels and Enterprise Car Club offer business memberships, low fees and costs and most offer electric or hybrid cars as standard. The number of locations and vehicles is growing all the time and will continue to increase the more businesses and individuals who sign up to these schemes.

Do some research and see what might be available in your area and if there isn't a car club scheme, perhaps encourage your council to establish one.

Actions from the North East

We have a mix of home working and online meetings where possible. This has made our working hours more efficient and reduced our carbon footprint
Jo Holmes
Genee
1-9 employees
Gateshead
We have installed a bike shed and changing facilities on our workspace site to encourage cycling.
Tracey Moore
Project North East (PNE)
10-49 employees
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
We've taken corporate membership to Co-Wheels car club (electric/ hybrid vehicles) for staff to use for travel to meetings etc
Carol Botten
VONNE
10-49 employees
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
We've changed to fully flexible and remote working without an office which significantly reduces our staff mileage and carbon footprint.
Kate Jeffels
Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland
1-9 employees
Middlesbrough

Have you taken action?

If you're a VCSE based in the North East and you've done something about the climate crisis, please share your action with us. We'd love to share it on this website, to inspire others.

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