You are here: Home The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability Company Performance Performance: Transportation and Logistics P3.3: Business Travel and Commuting
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P3.3: Business Travel and Commuting

Companies will decrease greenhouse gas emissions from business travel and employee commuting by 50% from a baseline of 2005.
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Northeast Utilities created the Eco-Miles program, which allows employees to record in its payroll system the miles they avoided driving during their commute– such as through carpooling, using public transit or telecommuting.  In 2012, the company reached over 2 million Eco-Miles—the equivalent of saving 100,000 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Check out Roadmap in Action for more examples of how companies are implementing the Ceres Roadmap.

Companies should employ better planning to reduce the frequency and number of trips. When possible, companies should discourage business travel by using teleconferencing technologies, saving costs and reducing stress on employees and the environment. Hewlett-Packard and Cisco’s telepresence technologies are allowing businesses to radically reduce business travel, while maintaining the experience of a face-to-face meeting. This not only offers customers more resource efficient options, but actually changes the way that many companies do business. Cisco has rolled these products out across its own business and in 2011 saw a 40 percent drop in air travel emissions compared to 2007.

Where business travel is necessary, companies should choose lower impact modes of transport. Trains, for example, have a lower impact than flights for shorter distances and often take a comparable amount of time from door-to-door. Companies can also support the use of hybrid taxis or mass transit for business journeys within metropolitan areas. Companies should examine their annual employee business travel needs and reward departments that use virtualization and low-carbon travel modes to reduce carbon emissions.

As a last resort, companies can offset business travel emissions by buying carbon offsets. This step often acts as a catalyst for the company to take a hard look at how much employees are traveling and where they can and should cut back. Small changes to travel policies can make a big difference to the company’s overall impact.

Just as with business travel, companies can provide employee programs to encourage sustainable commuting practices, or to enable working from home or other convenient locations. These types of programs are fairly common and growing in their creativity and impact.

Siting facilities near to where the majority of employees live, where biking and walking to work are real possibilities, and locating close to public transport hubs, ensures that employees have the widest possible choice of low or no carbon commuting alternatives. Other incentives include offering public transit vouchers, company shuttles, bicycle parking with shower facilities, preferential parking for hybrid cars, and the coordination of carpooling.

There are opportunities to incentivize low-carbon commuting, too. Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) car insurance covers the car owner on a mileage or usage basis. As these plans become more widely available, companies could encourage adoption of PAYD insurance by means of a subsidy through the benefits package. A study of PAYD insurance estimates that if all drivers in Massachusetts were to switch to pure per mile auto insurance pricing, mileage, accident costs and fuel consumption could be reduced by about 9.5 percent, thus having a significant impact on carbon emissions.



In the The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on The Ceres Roadmap For Sustainability, we evaluated 600 of the largest U.S. companies on their progress towards meeting the expectations laid forth in the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability using data compiled and analyzed by Sustainalytics.

For this first report it was not possible to capture all of the data required to fully assess all of The Ceres Roadmap expectations.  For some Ceres Roadmap expectations, companies are not yet disclosing the information needed to assess their progress and in other cases, we did not have access to the type of data needed to adequately assess corporate progress.

We will be looking at additional indicators in the future to capture the meaning of the expectations more completely and will develop new indicators to capture data as it is more readily disclosed by companies.