Businesses need to take more responsibility for reducing their employees’ transport emissions, says the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
In a new report produced with KPMG, the membership organisation emphasises that decarbonising the journeys of commuters is vital if the UK is to hit its net zero targets – before the COVID-19 pandemic saw a shift to working-from-home, commuter journeys accounted for a fifth of all travel in the UK, generating 18 billion kilogrammes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
The report states that businesses must incentivise public transport use, promote active travel options such as cycling and walking and make electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure more available.
The CBI warns: ”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.”
It says the government will need to “revamp” public transport networks and introduce revised ticketing models to match new working patterns, as well as accelerating the rollout of low-emission vehicles with a raft of new investment.
Matthew Fell, CBI 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.
“This will be critical, not only for meeting the UK’s net-zero commitment, but for society’s health, wellbeing and productivity both in the short-term as the economy reopens, and in the decades to come.”