- Environmental Compliance
- Environmental Management
- Water Use
- Water Preservation
- Paper Consumption
As our business expands, so does our travel footprint. CH2M employees commute to work and they travel to conduct both client and internal business—by personal vehicle, fleet and project vehicle, rental car, airplane, bus, ferry, rail, bicycle, and on foot. For an organization like CH2M, which seeks to bring technical experts to projects all over the world, travel is a difficult metric to shift. Travel that brings our best minds to global projects might actually produce a greater benefit to sustainability megatrends by developing new, more innovative sustainable solutions arising from direct collaboration. Travel is an imperative and essential part of our business, but we continually question whether we can get the same collaborative and innovative work done in a different way.
By offering a suite of videoconferencing and virtual meeting tools, we have sought to reduce travel, find ways to build effective teams while controlling travel costs, and improve work-life balance by allowing employees to travel less. CEO and Chair Jacqueline Hinman and other executives offer quarterly updates using video conferencing.
Employee commute modes vary significantly in different countries around the world and in different communities within the same country. At a global level, we sponsor a 1‑week awareness campaign, “Try It Week,” every year, on alternative transportation modes, along with a bike-to-work day. Additional, region-specific measures are described in the remainder of this section. CH2M’s efforts to minimize business travel fall into two main categories: air and ground business travel and employee commuting, which includes teleworking.
Air and Ground Business Travel
As we bring technical expertise to projects all over the world, we need to balance the benefits of bringing the right person to the job with the reality of the footprint from corporate air travel. The North America and Europe EMS programs track business travel, and the EMS teams work to raise awareness of when travel is appropriate and when virtual meeting technologies could be applied effectively.
The CH2M Travel Department continues to promote awareness and responsible choices through program communication, company policies, and integration of suppliers that employ sustainable business practices. By the end of 2015, our consolidated Global Travel Program consisted of North America, Europe, MENAI, and Latin America. In 2016, we plan to complete the implementation of Asia Pacific Region. When our global program is complete, we will be able to exchange information that could improve current practices.
The CH2M Corporate Travel Department tracks both indirect (overhead) and direct (client-billable) miles flown for annual reporting. Flight data are collected from all reservations booked through our designated travel management companies; these encompass more than 90 percent of tickets issued to U.S. and Canadian employees. Travel by employees includes U.S., Canadian, and international destinations.
In 2015, we realized a decrease in total air travel of 8 percent. Indirect travel, which consists of trips selected by the company rather than dictated by client project needs, totaled 33.25 million miles (53.51 million kilometers), a decrease of 1.9 million miles (3.06 million kilometers), or 5 percent, over the previous year. Direct travel, dictated by client projects, decreased by 10 percent from 55.46 million miles (89.25 million kilometers) to 49.91 million miles (80.32 million kilometers).
In 2011, CH2M began collecting data on U.S. employee rental car travel. Rental data cannot be identified by indirect and direct travel purposes, so both are included. Business ground travel by North American employees for 2015 totaled 12.6 million miles (20.3 million kilometers). Business ground travel mileage decreased by 1.4 million miles (2.25 million kilometers), or 10 percent, over the previous year. We attribute the decrease to the reduction in indirect travel.
In 2015, we continued tracking carbon emissions related to business travel across Europe. We continued to report carbon emissions associated with employee business travel, recording air and rental car miles. In Europe, we saw a less than 1 percent decrease in total air miles. Total air miles decreased from 9.96 million miles (16.03 million kilometers) to 9.94 million miles (16.00 million kilometers).
In the United Kingdom, we saw a reduction in business travel carbon emissions of 8 percent between 2013 and 2014, as a result of less client-related and office-to-office business travel. Total car miles decreased by 20 percent from 2014 to 2015.
CH2M’s fourth annual employee commuting survey was conducted in 2013 in 295 offices globally (a large increase from 41 offices in 2012). Even with the survey expansion to more offices, during the 4 survey years, we observed that commuting habits and preferences had not changed significantly. The survey results showed that the top three alternative forms of transportation are public transit, teleworking, and carpooling. We have learned that commuting choices vary significantly, depending on local availability of transit options and facilities, as well as family obligations (such as caring for children or elders), both of which contribute to highly individual choices. Therefore, we decided we would perform the survey every 5 years (the next survey will take place in 2018). As we make plans for program revisions in 2016, we will evaluate additional opportunities to partner with local organizations that can offer benefits, such as vanpooling and guaranteed rides home for emergencies.
We will also look at integrating more strongly with our employee wellness programs. In addition, we will determine the appropriate frequency and methodology for employee commuting surveys.
Offices around the world are encouraged to use creative ways to promote employee commuting. In Campana, Argentina, for example, we provide a minibus to transport 55 employees from the county to the office and back home.
While more than 60 percent of employees surveyed in the United States commute by single-occupancy vehicle, 35 percent of employees chose to commute using the top three alternative forms of transportation: teleworking, public transit, and carpooling. All U.S. employees have access to an alternative transportation assistance program to use pretax dollars to pay for transit passes. Employees who commute via bicycle also have access to a bicycle benefits program, which allows enrolled U.S. employees to receive a voucher for US$10 to $20 per month for bicycle-related equipment or repairs.
In 2015, our North America Alternative Commuting team supported volunteer employee transportation coordinators working on office alternative commuting programs, to see which types of programs are most effective before setting goals and targets. Several of our larger offices already have volunteer employee transportation coordinators who work with local transportation management associations to provide commuter information and benefits, such as a guaranteed-ride-home program if employees have an emergency or unplanned change in their commute home on a day in which they commute using an alternative to single-occupancy vehicles.
Sun, fun, and cycling
Bike to Work Day was a huge success in San Diego, California. The CH2M office in San Diego was not only psyched to cycle, but also teamed up with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce to host a pit stop to support cycling commuters citywide!
The popular pit stop had 216 riders stop by to chat and pick up information, free event items, and extra fuel with snacks and water, along with some positive energy and encouragement. CH2M offered Bike to Work Day t-shirts, CLIF bars, bicycle lights, bicycle maps, handouts on alternative commuting options, information on bicycle and road safety, coconut water and regular water, grocery bag holders, and hand sanitizer. Former Mayor of San Diego Jerry Sanders and San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts also stopped by. The CH2M pit stop team was filmed and interviewed for the local morning news.
Way to cycle, San Diego!
While the majority of employees in the United Kingdom commute by single-occupancy vehicle, the top three alternative forms of transportation are using the train/underground, carpooling, and bicycling. Several employees use a more sustainable commuting alternative, with our London office topping the list because of the wide variety of mass transit options available in that urban location. A large number of employees in our Swindon office also choose more sustainable forms of commuting, despite its rural location. The top forms of sustainable commuting for employees in Glasgow are train, carpooling, or bus. Employees in Worcester choose to bicycle, walk, or carpool to commute to the office.
During 2015, the Glasgow office’s Green Travel Group provided subsidies for eligible employees to obtain discounted bus and rail tickets, affirming our commitment to promoting public transport, which reduces our overall carbon footprint. In addition, the Glasgow office installed an electric vehicle charging point for drivers of electric or hybrid electric vehicles.
We offer all employees the chance to lease a bike (of a value up to £1,000 including value-added tax) on attractive terms through the UK government’s Cycle to Work scheme. This allows employees to pay for the leases from their pre-tax salaries and benefit from reduced tax and National Insurance charges (a UK Social Security tax). If they do not need new bikes, they can use the arrangement to purchase safety equipment. In 2015, we enrolled 80 employees; the scheme will continue to be offered to employees in 2016.
Employees’ bicycle commuting efforts avoid 3,000 car journeys and save almost 5 tonnes (6 tons) of CO2 each month, based on empirical evidence supplied by the scheme vendor.
CH2M’s teleworking program helps reduce our environmental impact. In 2015, 198 new teleworkers were added, reducing our leased footprint and saving energy. CH2M also offers flexible work schedules, allowing employees to work full-time hours in fewer days, and reduce the amount of commuting.