In 2007, KPMG was the first professional services company in Ireland to go Carbon Neutral. The decision to go Carbon Neutral was to act as a catalyst for the whole firm to get behind our environment efforts, one of the key strands of our Carbon Neutral goals was to encourage more people to travel by sustainable methods and implement a travel plan. Our travel plan and associated Sustainable Travel website, was launched in June 2009 to encourage all staff to use sustainable travel methods for commuting to work and travelling for business purposes.
28.4% of KPMG Ireland's carbon footprint is due to travel so this is a key area where we can reduce our environmental impact.
KPMG conducted an employee survey on commuting habits. The survey results helped with the development of a Travel Plan which aims to shift travel behaviour from single occupancy car use to more sustainable travel alternatives, with particular reference to walking and cycling, the most energy-neutral modes of transport.
There is total senior management support from the Managing Partner down through the organisation. KPMG Ireland worked with external mobility consultants Vipre on the staff survey and Travel Plan. We also actively engage with the Dublin Transport Office (DTO) on their ‘One Small Step' campaign.
The travel plan sets a specific target of 10% reduction in single car-occupant trips for commuting by 2011, which represents a 1% drop overall; the key target group for reduction will be drivers living within walking or cycling distance of the KPMG offices. The overall target for sustainable business travel is a 25% reduction in business trips by car by 2011; the key target trips are those made by car (or taxi) within the canal, and trips to other cities which could be made by train or bus.
The objectives of the KPMG Travel Plan are:
- To integrate sustainable transport into KPMG's overall policies and strategies regarding the CSR and Environmental Agenda, reduction of the carbon footprint, and managing Business Travel.
- To reduce the overall number of single occupant vehicle trips for journeys to work and business travel.
- To especially further encourage the use of cycling for commuting which is particularly low.
- To further encourage the use of alternative modes of transport for business travel, including walking and cycling.
- To provide information and have resources readily available to increase awareness and continue education on sustainable modes of travel for both staff and the community.
We need to continue to reinforce the message that sustainable travel is good for our employee's wellbeing, is good for the firm's reputation and will positively benefit the environment. This is an ongoing challenge especially given that it is difficult to sway people away from habits of taking the ‘easy option' and driving/taxi short distances.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that we are continuing to improve and the demand for more sustainable methods of travel is increasing but we need to keep measuring things like:
- Staff travel (rail, road, air);
- Take up of tax saver tickets for trains/public transport;
- Take up of car parking permit requests;
- Numbers claiming walking/cycling mileage allowance;
- Numbers purchasing bikes through the Cycle to work scheme.
We plan on doing a follow up survey in 2011 to see how much we have improved our sustainable travel rates.
This initiative is focused on our Dublin offices but we need to look at rolling it out to our regional offices in Cork, Galway and Belfast who all have totally different travel patterns, challenges and opportunities.
- KPMG has reduced its carbon footprint by 10% in the last two years and the Travel Plan introduced in 2009 should help drive the footprint down even further.
- KPMG are seen as a leader in the area of Sustainable Travel and our environmental efforts show that only 11% of our staff drive to work, compared to the Greater Dublin area regional peak period average of approx 60% (DTO statistics from 2002).
- By promoting sustainable travel we are improving the health of our employees by encouraging them to walk/cycle.
- We launched the Cycle to Work programme in tandem with the Travel Plan and that has resulted in 110 new people taking up cycling to work in the last six months.
There are two major innovations within the KPMG approach:
1) We incentivise people not to take a carpark space by offering them a cash alternative, this is an innovate way of getting people not to drive.
2) As part of our Travel Plan we have introduced an allowance per km for people who either walk or cycle to work instead of drive. This is 39 cent per mile and KPMG will pay any Benefit in Kind tax incurred by the employee as this would be seen as a benefit.