For most of us, cars and work go hand in hand. We might have a company car, or perhaps expenses for our own cars paid by our employers. Or we might simply use our cars to commute to and from our places of work. However they come together, cars and work are inextricably linked, and the result is clogging up our roads and adding to our national carbon footprint.
We can do something about it, but it does require us to rethink our priorities and have our lives made a little less convenient. It’s worth remembering that just a few decades ago the vast majority of the population didn’t have cars, relying instead on public transportation, and we survived perfectly well (indeed, many of the ideas that help us cut our carbon footprint seem to have us living the kind of life many lived in the 1950s and 1960s, proving perhaps that progress hasn’t always been what it’s cracked up to be!) – indeed, we were in a period of massive growth.
The Work Vehicle
For most of us a company car is a perk we aspire to have. They’re often better cars than we might own otherwise, and most of us can have them for our own use, too. Granted, those who are in sales, which require them to travel all over, can have need of company cars, but in many cases they’re simply little more than a perk or a status symbol.
Where a car really is necessary, instead of the Mondeo Man stereotype with an engine of two litres or larger, wouldn’t it make sense for your company to invest in a hybrid, like a Prius? It consumes much less petrol – always a boon as prices continue to rise – and is much cleaner, emitting far less CO2.
Besides doing something positive to reduce emissions, using hybrids as company cars also helps establish a very green, cutting edge company image, no bad thing in such eco-conscious times.
Where the company uses vans or lorries, they should be those that give the lowest emissions, and if it’s possibly to convert them to run on biofuel, that’s even better, since it does lower carbon emissions. It costs more initially, but the long term effects (and savings) can offset that.
Instead of clogging up the roads with people alone in cars on their way to and from work, there are some eco-friendly alternatives that can do a lot to reduce your carbon footprint.
Carpools mean a car full of people all going in the same direction. Yes, it’s a car still on the road, but because of that, another three or four aren’t, offering a significant savings on petrol and CO2. It takes time and effort to organise (and would generally be set up within a large company or perhaps through an industrial estate), but the payoff in lowering a carbon footprint is significant.
There’s always public transport, too. To be fair, where industrial estates lie on the edge of town it might not make for an easy commute, and in many instances there might not be bus service there (which is something to take up with the bus company, if enough of you will use it). But the more people who use public transport, the fewer cars on the road, which is the real aim of the exercise. It lowers your stress (you don’t have to deal with other drivers) and gives you more free time, not to mention the very positive environmental impact.