WWF launch campaign to persuade businesses to cut the number of their flights by a fifth over five years
WWF is aiming to persuade businesses to cut business flights in favour of video conferencing (photo: Cisco)
Fri 24 July 2009 – Environmental NGO WWF has launched its ‘One in Five Challenge’ to encourage businesses to seek greener alternatives to flying, such as train travel and video conferencing. A guided programme aims to help businesses cut 20 percent of their flights by 2014. WWF has already enrolled major UK organizations such as Marks & Spencer, Premiere Global, Vodafone UK, Capgemini and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
“There is a very real appetite among big businesses to reduce the number of flights they take,” said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK. “In a WWF survey, 89% of FTSE 350 companies stated that they expect to cut business flights significantly in the coming decade and today’s launch confirms that the UK’s more forward-thinking companies are already taking steps to turn those good intentions into a reality.”
WWF claims one in four UK companies are now measuring their carbon emissions, and cutting back on non-essential business travel is increasingly viewed as a quick way of making big carbon savings. With more companies producing annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports, and growing pressure from government, it says there is an expectation to see carbon emissions being reduced.
The independently audited scheme sets yearly flight reduction targets and helps companies to get their staff engaged with the project. By providing a clear annual evaluation of the money and carbon saved by taking part in the Challenge, says WWF, the programme also hopes to demonstrate that companies can remain competitive while still cutting their carbon emissions.
Gordon Baker, Chairman, JMP Consultants, auditors of the One in Five Scheme, said: “We have worked with WWF-UK to design a challenge that creates the business case for change. The benefits of changing travel policies and behaviours is not always clear; either from a financial or carbon perspective. The one in five reporting process changes this and helps businesses account for the total cost of travel. Companies succeeding in the challenge will not only demonstrate their carbon credentials to consumers and suppliers, but also show that a reduction in business flights improves business operations and the bottom line. Low carbon travel and alternatives are now a positive proposition for successful business.”
Support for the scheme came from the UK’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Theresa Villiers. “If we are serious about tackling climate change, it is essential that businesses work together to start a dramatic shift to low-carbon travel, including more extensive use of realistic alternatives to flying,” she commented. “That is why I welcome WWF’s ambitious One in Five Challenge, which aims to do just that – challenge and support businesses in reducing the amount of flying they ask their staff to do and cutting their carbon impact on the planet.”
Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said: “The One in Five Challenge is an extremely effective and practical way for organizations round the world to be part of the solution.”