Climate Perks – Saving the planet one trip at a time

Written by Neisha Glen - October 8, 2019

Over just a few months, the perfect storm of events has forced climate change up the ladder of priorities for people all around the world. From climate activists shutting down parts of London to local councils, cultural institutions and even parliament declaring a climate emergency, concern over climate change has never been higher. More people are looking to take action, and although we already do a lot as a sustainable business, we declared a climate emergency and are committed to taking things to the next level. That’s why we are founding members of Possible‘s brand new initiative Climate perks, aimed at combatting climate change by reducing the amount we fly for personal travel.

The statistics

Flying is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases globally and carries a heavy climate cost: a single return flight to Berlin clocks up the same amount of carbon as eight return trips by train. Yet estimates suggest only 5% of the world’s population have ever flown.

Government data shows that even within the UK, 70% of all flights are taken by just 15% of the population, and that these ‘frequent flyers’ are more likely to be professionals with disposable income.

Helping to shift these travel habits is the quickest and smartest way to keep carbon emissions from planes in check, whilst ensuring those most responsible are empowered to take action. As a business, we already have a policy to not fly and nobody has flown on business for several years. However, many of us in the team do fly for personal travel.

Cue Climate Perks

Climate Perks is a scheme enabling employers to offer paid ‘journey days’ to empower staff to choose low-carbon holiday travel. The perfect solution for those who love to travel the world and protect it too.

10:10 Climate Action commissioned some research, which found:

  • 50% of people are ready to reduce the amount they fly in order to protect the environment
  • Only 3% of people actually reduce the amount that they fly.

It’s no mystery that travelling by train, bus or boat is more time consuming than flying. However, with global warming increasing, the truth is, we don’t have a low carbon plane waiting and therefore must take action and opt for greener travel methods.

Climate Perks works with employers to overcome this barrier and enables climate-conscious employees and employers to act on their values. Joining Climate Perks was an easy decision for us. As a certified B Corporation dedicated to using our business as a force for good, joining was a natural extension of what we already believe and support. Our brand values, “Ambitiously Sustainable. Positively Brave.” are in every facet of our work and manifests itself in the clients we choose to work with.

Climate Perks benefits to our employees

As a Climate Perks employer, our employees can choose cleaner travel without losing out on hard-earned leisure time, by being offered at least two paid ‘journey days’ annually to use for holiday travel without heading to the airport.

Here’s how it works:

An employee applies for a Climate Perks day as they’ve opted for a green method of travel to and from their destination. Let’s use France as an example.

Presuming the employee is travelling from a London base to Nice, France, if they left on a Friday and used the normal approach of taking a flight, Friday would essentially be a day of travel that comes out of their annual leave.

If they opted for a Climate Perks day, and travelled by train or bus, then they’d effectively be saving their annual leave and maximising the time at their destination.

Example travel day:

Friday Departure Using a Climate Perks Day

  • Leave: Depart London on Friday morning at 9:24 am on the Eurostar
  • Arrive: in Nice Friday evening at 8:24 pm

Saturday: holiday time

Sunday: holiday time

Monday Departure Using a Climate Perks Day

  • Leave: Depart from Nice at 10:00 am on the TGV train
  • Arrive: Arrive in London at 7:39 pm on Monday evening

Amount of annual leave used: zero.

Amount of CO2 saved: 214kg

Climate perks benefits to employers

With the workplace so central to modern life, employers can harness the social power of their staff to unlock this new way to cut carbon – pushing beyond more traditional business-focused environmental policies. As action on climate change rises up the agenda, Climate Perks will help climate conscious companies speed up that action, protecting the future prosperity of staff and employers alike.

Let’s talk finances.

The great thing about Climate Perks is there is no need to initially outlay any extra leave or money towards the scheme. The days are applied for and therefore, the company only has to approve the days when someone actually applies. If no one does, then there is no cost.

With the help of 10:10 Climate Action, a draft HR policy is already in place, so there’s no need to outlay a huge amount of time creating a policy, you can simply tweak it to suit your organisation.

As the first founding member to join Climate Perks, we’re part of an innovative and timely employer-led intervention in one of the hardest areas to decarbonise.  All Climate Perks pioneers receive a Climate Perks accredited stamp of recognition, are listed publicly on the Climate Perks website and often benefit from public PR and press coverage. Since joining we’ve been featured in the Guardian and interviewed by the BBC.

If Climate Perks is something that you think your company would be interested in, then head over to the Climate Perks website. If you’d like to learn more about the scheme and gain an employer perspective, do get in touch with us. We’re always happy to have a chat.