ABN AMRO joins initiative to halve carbon emissions from business travel

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More than forty major Dutch companies, including ABN AMRO, have agreed to target a 50% reduction in their emissions from business travel by 2030. At a meeting on Thursday morning, the companies' CEOs asked the Climate Agreement negotiators to adopt their ideas.

The companies, which have a combined workforce of almost 300,000 employees, have united in a coalition called Anders Reizen, or 'alternative travel'. That coalition will share knowledge and experiences about reducing carbon emissions from business travel, which currently exceed 13 million tonnes per year. This is the equivalent of the carbon emissions from the natural gas consumption of more than 4.5 million households.

Measures

In recent years the companies have gained experience with encouraging more sustainable travel. For example, ABN AMRO gives all its new hires a public transport travel pass.

ABN AMRO's Director of Employee Experience Frank van den Brink explains, "Sustainable mobility is very important to us. That's why we're investing in sustainable mobility solutions that help create the best possible employee experience. For example, new hires are sent a travel pass even before they start working, rather than claiming back their travel expenses, and we've adopted Amber's shared electric car concept. We also have a strong bicycle scheme, which many of our people have used to purchase bikes. These are some of the various ways in which we try to make it easier for our people to travel sustainably."

PwC is switching to train travel instead of air travel, wherever possible, for distances of less than 500 kilometres. Eneco is replacing its entire fleet of company cars with electric cars, and Arcadis has relocated to a site with good public transport connections - a move that VodafoneZiggo will copy.

Research

Research and consultancy firm CE Delft has reviewed the measures that the companies have introduced or are planning to introduce and calculated the carbon reduction and impact. The study shows that a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from business mobility by 2030 is a feasible ambition. However, this will require help from the government: the measures require major increases in public transport capacity and a more extensive bicycle infrastructure.

According to the study, the most effective measures are switching to electricity for company cars, encouraging use of public transport and minimising air travel. The researchers believe that the effects of the various measures can be amplified by using smart combinations, conduct-changing campaigns and continual reminders of the importance of sustainability.

Anders reizen

The Anders Reizen coalition came about from a 2015 initiative by environmental organisation Natuur & Milieu, industry and employers' confederation VNO-NCW, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment and Dutch railway operator NS. The initiative took place in the build-up to the Paris Climate Change Conference. Since then, over forty major companies have joined the coalition. Their ambition is to make sustainable travel an increasingly common and easy alternative in the Netherlands.

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