‘How can companies help their employees travel sustainably’? We are so proud at Fronteer to have launched our Sustainable Travel Policy. Here we share transparently our policy, as we hope that more companies will adopt a similar one.
Why a sustainable travel policy?
Not flying is the single most impactful action we can take as individuals. We believe that not only should we limit corporate flying, we should also encourage our employees to travel over land during their own holidays. Travel over land takes longer than flying, which is one of the biggest obstacles for employees not to take the train/car/bus. With only 25 holiday days, we want to motivate employees to choose the sustainable option over the fastest/easiest for their personal holiday.
What is the policy?
Replacing air-travel, by giving employees 4 travel-days per year for sustainable modes of transportation. This means:
Only for international travel (because people don’t fly within the Netherlands)
Only for holiday/leisure (because for business you don’t need a holiday day)
For sustainable modes of transportation: Train, Ferry & Bus
For travel that takes 8+ hours (return) (because this equals a lost holiday day)
A maximum of 4 holiday days (32 hours) per year (equals two flights, which is about the average amount of flights people with a mid to higher income take)
Travel time only applies for work hours (9am-5pm)
It is obviously not allowed to fly during the trip (e.g. take the train to Munich to fly, take the train to Scotland and take a helicopter, or fly to India and take a train locally)
The policy is for everyone in the company, including interns
The intention is primarily to promote train travel. Therefore, we offer as a symbolic gesture also two free hot drinks when choosing the train
How about travel by car?
This was a tricky question as we wanted to keep the policy inclusive (and not favour those who can afford an electric car), and because travel by car isn’t always more sustainable than flying. Thereby, we want to encourage new sustainable behaviour, and lots of our colleagues already take the car to their holiday destinations. We decided that car travel counts if …
The trip is longer than 16h return, in a petrol or electric car (no diesel). We assume that trips that take less than 8h one-way (e.g. North-of-France) are not new forms of sustainable behaviour, and are hence not included. Thereby, if one does travel by electric car we assume given all the stops to charge, it will take more than 8+ one-way.
AND you are not travelling alone (travel by car with one person is often more polluting than flying);
OR your trip is longer than 8h return, but you’ve used a car-sharing through a platform (e.g. Blabla car)
Is the policy ‘inclusive’?
We want to keep the policy as inclusive as possible. We didn’t want to disadvantage people who stay in the Netherlands for their holidays (and don’t need a travel day. Therefore:
It’s a travel day, not a holiday: We don’t want to “give an extra holiday” to those who have chosen to travel abroad. Therefore, under the policy, we state that it’s a travel day where the intention is to work. So any time that can be used to work in the train or to take phone calls in the car, should be used.
Excluding ‘elitist travel’: We have not made any exceptions for people owning an electric car. Also sailing and motorcycling is not included in the policy
We have launched our policy on the 1st of March 2023, and our first colleagues are already making use of their sustainable travel days. Our colleague Britt took the opportunity to take the train all the way through the Scottish landscape, as you can see on the picture above!
As we go along, we will learn and perfect the policy. For now, we hope we can make some significant impact and inspire other companies to follow our lead. For those who want to read the full policy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.