What is sustainable transport?
It is estimated that every year various forms of transport consume 20%-25% of the world’s energy resources which in turn significantly contribute to the ever increasing levels of greenhouse gases. The global need to cut carbon emissions impels the need for introducing sustainable transport systems.
Sustainable Transport, also known as Green transport, is any form of transport that does not rely on
the dwindling natural resources. Instead it consumes renewable energy and hence, it is known to
have a lesser negative effect on the environment.
The power of a joint vision by employers and employees
“It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.” – Dalai Lama
This makes it necessary to action reformative measures in our immediate environment to effect the
change on a broader scale.
While the government can aim to reorganize public transport to include use of innovative low-
impact, cost effective and user-friendly transportation solutions, it is necessary for employers and
employees also to tune their mindsets for sustainable transport options in their daily commute.
Shifting the daily commute from cars to sustainable transport modes like walking/jogging and
bicycling need a more seamless integration with the infrastructure at the work place.
Secondly, encouraging car-pooling in private vehicles or shared rides are a viable option. Use of sign
up boards in cafeterias or message boards on the intranet for common employee access and
planning will go a long way in inculcating a culture of shared responsibility.
Thirdly, availing efficient company transport. With better routing and planning system, the
employee transport will be more welcoming if it promises safety, shorter travel time and
convenience of pick and drop points.
While incremental investments like adoption of renewable biofuels for fleets and supply chains,
adding an EV charging stations, sourcing from more sustainable suppliers are indispensable, it is
imperative to encourage and influence employees to make smarter choices.
This will require organisations to create a sustainable goal for the organisation with regards to the
employee transportation and a task force to implement and sustain this culture. Innovative ideas like
an active month in the best suited season, walking challenge with a step tracker or competition
between departments will be embraced with optimism and drive positive thought process in this
direction. Further providing employees with flexibility of schedule will help organisation transport in
avoiding the rush hour traffic.
All initiatives must be replicable, scalable and have a clear community focus.
Complex but viable
While companies are often restricted on their budgets to make these visions a reality, it is necessary
that sustainability becomes a part of the corporate strategy in the long term to impact the
environmental footprint as opposed to a short-term plan. Hence, by finding ways to green the
supply chains, incrementally adopt new transportation technologies or simply encourage smart
employee choices, it has become imperative to contribute to the creation of sustainable cities and
The global mandate
Several local governments are accelerating change through policy initiatives such as integrated
transport, congestion charges and low emission zones, sustainable procurement and lifecycle
costing, as well as opening data up to companies and academics. And these city level policies can
drive markets in more sustainable directions. For instance, in London all newly licensed taxis are
required to be zero-emission capable from this year. In Manila the Asian Development Bank is
aiming to roll out 100,000 e-trikes to replace current fossil fuel versions, which is not just good for
the environment and health, but increases take-home pay for drivers by around 15%. In Hangzhou,
China, multi-storey “vending machines” for ultra-compact electric cars are being installed, with a 75
mile range and costing approximately $3 an hour. This is in addition to the battery swapping facilities
for around 500 electric taxis.