World Vision

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Taking Transport Seriously

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation, dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. It is a charity funded by the UK Government, European Union, charitable trusts, corporate support and individuals.

The charity has about 250 staff at its Milton Keynes headquarters and is a member of the global World Vision Partnership. Staff travel all over the world. In fact, travel and subsistence amounted to 3% of total costs of operational costs in the UK in 2006. The organisation has 32,000 people employed globally in 100 countries, so the UK office’s action on sustainable travel could also become the template for other countries.

World Vision has established a strong working relationship with the Green Business Network, using the Network’s business support programmes for environmental management systems, resource efficiency, carbon footprinting, corporate social responsibility, and transport planning to initiate a number of programmes within the business.

Under the MK Green Alert programme, GBN was able to provide a travel planning specialist to help World Vision identify areas in which it could improve its performance, both in terms of staff travelling to and from work; to meetings and to other countries. The objective was to build upon and breathe new life into a policy that had originally been set up in 2003 but had not progressed very far.

A travel planning specialist identified the need to provide support for staff by providing season ticket and bike loans to encourage staff to take public transport or cycle to work. He also identified a Plusbus scheme, whereby bus travel can be added to train tickets, which could usefully be promoted to staff. World Vision is about to improve on-site facilities for cyclists by increasing the security of bike sheds and building more of them.

The consultant suggested offering a mileage allowance to cyclists. Business travel, including overseas, costs the company about £300,000 million a year. He identified that encouraging home working, audio and video conferencing combined with other measures could provide a 10% reduction in business travel and subsistence worth around £45,000 to the charity.

Travel Plans can cost money or save money, but GBN found several areas where World Vision could save/raise money, including:

  • Less car parking space means less maintenance. A national DfT rule of thumb is that maintenance costs an average of £500 per space per year.
  • Land no longer used for car parking could be developed/let.
  • The cost of buying overspill parking at the nearby hotel could be saved.
  • Less business travel would save money, e.g. a 10% reduction in travel and subsistence expenses would save about £45,000 a year.

Other suggestions that the charity could consider implementing to reduce carbon emissions through transport included providing showers, changing rooms, lockers, drying rooms, maps and umbrellas for walkers and cyclists; offering interest free loans for bicycles and accessories; providing generous mileage allowances and insurance cover for cyclists; negotiating discounts at local cycle dealers, or providing a new bicycle to staff giving up car parking spaces. To encourage greater use of public transport, World Vision was advised to provide as much information as possible on timetables and routes, offer interest-free loans, and negotiate with transport providers to gain better services to sites.

Where car use is the only feasible option for people, World Vision was advised to provide pool cars; look at providing driving tips information and training; setting fuel reduction and staff mileage targets, and encouraging staff to buy, lease or rent hybrid vehicles.

Ian Turvey

“We’ve certainly got plenty to think about and work on. Now it’s up to us to ensure that we make the best use of this information as we strive to improve our Environmental Performance.”

To encourage teleworking and other flexible working schemes, David Hurdle suggested the following measures could be taken: allow flexible working regimes, such as 9 day fortnights; allow home working, when appropriate; providing video conferencing facilities; providing a pool of laptops for home use; and encourage telephone conferencing.

Ian Turvey is delighted with the suggestions not only about measures World Vision can take to reduce its transport impacts, but also with the sound advice given on how travel plans can be implemented and maintained.