The sustainable business travel challenge - six months without using a car!

Many of us travel to business meetings, but do you ever think that you could have taken the train or shared the journey with a colleague instead?

Of course, many find it an inconvenience to liaise with other colleagues’ calendars and the inflexibility of public transport timetables. I sympathise completely – however I hope this insight will change your opinion.

Googling “the environmental impacts of using a car” brings up a whole array of unpleasant facts and figures. Whether you use a car for short or long journeys, you are emitting the same harmful gases which are known to be some of the worst pollutants to affect not only the environment, but our health.

However, it is anticipated that the car will move into a greener light. By 2021, phased in from 2020, the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 95 grams of Co2 per kilometre, down from the 2015 target proposed of 130 grams of Co2 per kilometre. And let's not forget that the cost and convenience of electric cars has also become more acceptable to many – not least at ecosurety with our new BMW i3!

As a business development specialist, it would make sense to travel by car due to having anywhere between one to three meetings in one day; and let’s be honest for my job it is more convenient to drive and not carry heavy luggage around! However, from January this year before our new electric car arrived in our car park, I set myself the challenge to avoid using a car on my own at all, travelling to all my meetings using a more sustainable mode of transport that would lessen my impact and hopefully save time (sitting in traffic!).

3,653 miles of sustainable transport

ecosurety sustainable transport sales team

In total, I clocked up a significant mileage of 3,653 miles between January and April this year alone! This is the equivalent of going to Scotland and back eight times or the same as travelling from one side of America to the other!

I took more than 20 trains, 10 tubes, 16 buses and shared four car journeys with another colleague. Calculating the carbon footprint in comparison to using a car for all these journeys made it all worthwhile. 

For instance, the difference in the carbon footprint of taking public transport or a single occupied car is surprisingly vast. Calculating an average of 3,600 miles split between bus and train can really show the difference.

By car, the carbon footprint is approximately 0.95 tonnes of Co2e, travelling by train and bus results in an approximate carbon footprint of 0.45 tonnes of Co2e.

An incentive to use public transport

Most companies charge an extra levy on each mile an employee drives in a car. This can be seen as an incentive to use public transport. For example, calculating one trip to Milton Keynes via car would cost the company £108, however, for this meeting I took three buses, four trains, and a taxi for a total of only £66.50. Travelling sustainably via train, tube, bus, or even walking to the meeting (if close by!) can save more money in the long run, not to mention the added bonus that you can work on public transport, avoiding lost working hours and a back-log of emails when back in the office. Win-win!

As an environmental compliance scheme and resource efficiency specialist, the staff at ecosurety strive to travel to meetings as sustainably as possible. What some businesses do not consider is the contribution this has to their brand image. This has become very apparent to me when visiting prospective clients. Appreciation of your visit is much greater when they realise that your mode of transport was not via car and instead two buses, one train, and two tubes.

Of course, some journeys from Bristol to locations in the North of England have had to be made via car due to the expense of the train. However, we ensure the journey is never made alone by coordinating other meetings nearby with colleagues.

Have you ditched the car too?

Is your organisation committed to sustainable transport? Have you seen positive results after ditching the car? Or is it proving hard to move away from the convenience of the automobile? Tell us about your experiences here, we’d love to hear how you’re finding it too!

If you have any questions, please do get in touch by calling 0845 094 2228 or email info@ecosurety.com

Alice Flavin

Business development manager

Alice joined the team 2015 after graduating from the University of Reading with a BA in History. Eager to put her keen research and analytical skills to good use, and with valuable experience in retail, sales and finance, she was a very welcome addition to the company. As business development manager Alice works with obligated producers across the packaging, WEEE and batteries regulations to see how they could be making a more meaningful impact with their obligations.

Written by Alice Flavin Published 01/07/2016 Topics Ecosurety

Useful links

New guidance published to maximise textiles reuse and recycling

The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) has published guidance on best practice for those sorting and collecting textile waste, in order to maximise recycling and re-use.


EEE and batteries producers invited to help shape EU legislation surrounding online sales

Working on behalf of the European Commission, Eunomia Consultants are undertaking research into improving Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems, and tackling free-riding within online markets.


CMA put businesses on notice and release new ‘Green Claims Code’

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have released a ‘Green Claims Code’, to help businesses comply with consumer law


Get in touch