Mobilityways Commuter Census survey reveals 26.2% of workers plan to remain working from home post-pandemic, whereas only 4.4% were WFH pre-COVID
UK firms can look forward to a green dividend, as over a quarter (26%) of their staff look set to remain working from home post-pandemic, if companies allow staff who express the desire to remain working from home are allowed to do so.
This green dividend amounts to a substantial reduction in CO2e emissions, equivalent to 4.5m commuters switching from Diesel to Electric Vehicles or 1.7m homes converting to zero emission heating before the end of this year.
This finding comes out of a Commuter Census survey which the zero carbon commuting specialist Mobilityways circulated to some 350,000 of its free mobile app users earlier this month.
ACEL benchmarks Commuter Emissions for first time
Mobilityways provides a service which is able to calculate the Average Commuter Emissions Level (ACEL) of workforces by collecting real-time ‘travel to work’ data from workers via its mobile app. It can then help employers to stimulate staff to explore greener commuter options such as car sharing, walking, cycling, or using public transport. As staff make new choices, Mobilityways is then able to report on ACEL improvements to sustainability chiefs to support their Scope 3 audits.
Mobilityways uses existing government emissions averages for different modes of transport published by Defra and multiplies these by the number of employees using each mode of transport and by the DfT’s up-to-date average commute distance figures, to create its ACEL score which can then be benchmarked against ACEL averages by sector. Mobilityways then works with those responsible to work out a plan for reducing commute emissions to ensure declared corporate Net Zero targets can be met.
Public transport usage set to drop by over a third
Mobilityways’ census also uncovered implications for public transport bodies as demand for public transport is set to fall by 36.5%. Before the pandemic 17% of workers used public transport for the longest part of their commute to work but post-pandemic only 10.8% said they would return to public transport for their longest part of their journey to and from the office.
Strong appetite for sustainable commuting
More encouragingly for companies trying to persuade their workers to choose greener commute alternatives, over a third (35.2%) are prepared to explore commuting ‘in a more sustainable way’ and 28.6% claim to already be sustainable commuters.
Reinforcing the interest in sustainable commuting, 37% are considering a switch to an electric vehicle, with 30.3% open to walking or running to work and 41.6% to cycling to the office. 71.1% would share a car as part of their commute, either as a driver or passenger.
EV adoption intentions strong
Good news too for car manufacturers bringing new Electric Vehicle (EV) models to market this year, and local authorities approving the creation of more EV charging stations, as 37.4% of consumers are already considering a switch to an EV and 5.2% claim to already have access to one, the Mobilityways study found.
Cycling and walking investment not delivering yet
Less encouragingly, only 6.6% planned to commute on foot or bicycle post-pandemic, down from 10.7% pre-pandemic. And a quarter (25%) feel that there aren’t any sustainable options for their trip to work, again pointing to a need for wider change. That’s despite a £250 million investment by government over the last year in cycling and walking infrastructure.
Businesses need to prepare now for the future of commuting – and to make it easier for their staff to embrace more sustainable options, according to the founder of Mobilityways, Ali Clabburn:
“While more staff want to work from home for at least some of the week, the majority will still be commuting at least a day or two a week. The encouraging news is that post-lockdown, commuters want to be more sustainable, provided that they don’t sacrifice time and convenience while doing so. This is where forward-looking businesses can step in – providing help and reducing their own carbon footprint at the same time.”
Scope 3 reporting gaining ground
Scope 3 emissions reporting requires collection of businesses’ overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions impacts from activities outside their places of work – including from their employees’ commutes to the office. The Scope 3 Standard is the only internationally-accepted method for companies to account for these types of value chain emissions.
Reducing GHG emissions and increasing sustainability is becoming a key business imperative as the UK aims to meet its challenging Net Zero Carbon emissions target by 2050. As part of this the UK Government has just announced that it is bringing forward the target of reducing GHG emissions by 78% (from 1990 levels) to 2035.
“The pandemic has forced everyone to rethink how they live and work and this will dramatically reshape commuting. Coupled with tightening emissions regulations, the end of lockdown provides a clear opportunity to make commuting greener and more sustainable – benefiting the environment, individuals and businesses alike,” added Clabburn.