Driving sustainable business
There is mounting evidence that pursuing a carbon-reduction programme is not only good for the planet, it is also good for business – encouraging innovation and opening up new opportunities, motivating and retaining employees, engaging suppliers and capturing the imagination and support of local communities.
The Insight team caught up with Motion Transport Planner and member of the company’s Climate Change Group, Andrew Nock, to discuss his new role in reducing the business’ carbon footprint and why sustainability is a win-win-win strategy.
Is climate change really happening?
AN: Yes, I believe so. The body of evidence is growing fast and the arguments becoming increasingly incontrovertible. Climate change is not something we can put to one side – there has been a palpable difference even within the space of a few years. It is something we need to tackle now to improve the planet for future generations. We have nothing to lose by making sustainable choices but everything to gain. In my view there is no downside.
Why should the business community bother?
AN: All businesses need to stay relevant for the times in which we live. It is also important for everyone to take ownership of their actions and not put the responsibility onto others. Our response to climate change will only work with a combination of top-down measures such as legislation, and bottom-up behavioural changes in business and society. There are also money-saving benefits to companies that pursue a sustainable agenda.
How does Motion’s experience help with the climate emergency challenge?
AN: Motion’s track record in transport, travel and infrastructure advice and design means the company is well placed to adapt to broader environmental challenges, in both the advice it offers clients and how it reduces its own carbon emissions. There is a wealth of talent within the business – geographers, planners and civil engineers can all help develop and drive the solutions.
What changes has the company experienced?
AN: Over the years our advice has evolved and nowadays a big focus is on electric vehicle charging provision in carparks and new residential, industrial and commercial developments, so we are very proactive in discussions with local authorities about what is realistic and feasible. We are also advising property developers and landowners about water neutrality and sustainable drainage strategies.
Our transport planning and construction traffic management services for solar farm installers and battery storage operators highlight how carbon reduction runs through everything we do. We’ve also partnered with energy innovators to help deliver energy, mobility and community hubs for new residential developments. The hubs will save energy bills, reduce developer costs for grid connections, and provide communities with enhanced mobility services.
Tell us more about Motion’s Climate Change group.
AN: The group comprises people who bring diverse experience and skills covering the full range of transport planning, infrastructure design and operations management capabilities. We also have a range of ages represented which is important for capturing the broadest possible spectrum of perspectives.
Our short-term aim is to use a range of metrics to measure and record our carbon footprint. These will be monitored and reported regularly. We’re being as transparent as possible and intend to cover all three emissions scopes to achieve the most accurate baseline.
Working closely with Ecologi, our medium-term plan is to plant one tree for each client project instruction as part of a regular initiative. This will make a positive difference to the country’s tree ecology and biodiversity. We also plan to offset emissions by supporting carbon avoidance projects.
In the longer term, we will be continuing to investigate ways to limit greenhouse gases, such as reducing reliance on car use for business travel. Each employee will also have the chance to volunteer for a couple of days every year to help their local community!
How are staff involved on a day-to-day basis?
AN: Following extensive consultations, the reception so far has been very positive. Employees have been genuinely enthusiastic about offering their views and getting involved. It’s been reassuring to see the willingness of staff to volunteer time and ideas.
Regular updates will be shared about progress made towards our goals. Green champions in each Motion office will help to ensure best practice on the ground and encourage switches in behaviour. It’s the small nudges that will help embed change for the good. The great news is that most of these do not impact much on our daily lives!
Image credit: © Eakarat Buanoi