CBI: Businesses must help reduce emissions by decarbonising commuters’ journeys

Businesses are being urged to take more responsibility for cutting their emissions by ensuring their workers adopt greener travel habits.  

Decarbonising commuters’ journeys will be vital if the country is to hit net-zero targets, the CBI said this morning. At a time when many firms are reconsidering their future working models, the business group is encouraging firms to incorporate staff commuting into their net-zero strategies.

It suggests this can be achieved in a number of ways, from incentivising public transport use and promoting active travel options, to supporting the delivery of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

The CBI said government must lay the foundations for business to act by revamping public transport networks to reflect shifting working patterns and demand for different ticketing models, while accelerating the roll-out of low-emission vehicles.

Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, said:  “If the UK is to meet its obligations to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, decarbonisation of commuting will be vital. However, this will require not only significant public and private investment in infrastructure and technology, but also a shift in business and employee behaviours to match.  

“A key change will be for businesses to now take greater responsibility for their employees’ commutes. They should factor these emissions into their net-zero strategies and set out tangible steps to help their teams make greener journeys.

“Collaboration between business and government can be a catalyst for achieving this. This summer, as more and more businesses nationwide begin to look beyond the challenges of COVID and plan a return to on-site work, firms have an unprecedented opportunity to work with government at all levels to provide their staff with a menu of low emissions travel options."

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, commuter journeys accounted for 15% of all trips and 20% of total travel distance in the UK – totalling 18bn kg of CO2 emissions a year. Even with travel patterns evolving in the wake of the pandemic, commuting emissions will need to be radically reduced for the UK to achieve its environmental ambitions. 

Image courtesy TfL

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