Although it’s taken longer than we would’ve liked, corporations are now seeing the value in reducing their carbon footprint. Companies such as Swiss Re, LG Electronics and Sprint, have all made greenhouse gas reduction a cornerstone of their sustainability policies. But while many corporations have successfully focused on either their Scope 1 (emissions they are directly responsible for) and Scope 2 (resulting from purchased electricity, heat or steam), most have been unable to measure, let alone reduce, their Scope 3 emissions.
Scope 3 emissions, also known as indirect emissions, include greenhouse gas emissions generated by employees as they commute or travel. Since these emissions usually result from employee behavior outside of the office setting, most companies have either ignored them because they fear addressing the problem is too difficult, or are at a loss as to how they tackle the problem. And even if they could influence employee behavior outside of the office, how could employers measure the effects of their efforts?
The truth is, indirect emissions represent one of the most significant opportunities employers have to reduce their overall carbon footprint. For some companies, such as Kraft, Scope 3 emissions can account for 90% of total emissions. And reducing the carbon intensity of employee commuting is a particularly significant part of Scope 3 emissions reductions.
Fortunately, companies now have several tools to encourage ridesharing among their employees. Websites such as Amovens help companies build carpooling networks within their existing websites. Moving carpooling online allows commuters to search for the most convenient ridesharing partners by route, rate and review each other. It also lets companies keep track of emissions saved through employee carpooling. Other tools, such as iPhone apps, allow users to quickly and easily find a new ride when their plans change or when they’re away from their computers.
Implementing a corporate ridesharing platform need not be expensive. In fact, a carpooling solution can actually save your company money by reducing the need to construct and maintain new parking spaces. With US companies paying an average of $1,776 in amortized construction and maintenance costs per year per parking space, the potential cost savings generated by carpooling can quickly add up for an employer.
In the case of one client, a European bank, Amovens was able to register approximately 420 users, generating savings of €41,270 (approximately $55,000) for employees and 38,913 metric tons of Scope 3 CO2 for the organization. With 87 recorded recurring carpools created, the bank reduced its on-site parking needs by approximately 43 spaces, representing an additional $64,500 in potential annual savings.
With relatively little investment, companies can leverage the emerging technologies in online carpooling to make a significant (and measurable) reduction in their Scope 3 emissions, while limiting parking construction costs and offering employees an additional transportation option.
Although Scope 3 emissions have typically been the most difficult to address, new solutions are giving us the tools to confront one of the most pernicious sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chains.