July 15, 2024

Carbon footprint study has ‘eye opening’ results

The carbon footprint of an organisation’s ground transportation could be higher than its air travel and hotel stays, according to a new case study by The Miles Consultancy.

Its case study of a Fortune 500 global corporation with around 100,000 employees found ground transportation, including commuting and mileage reimbursement, accounted for over a third (38%) of the organisation’s total emissions for 2021/2022.

When car rental emissions were included, the figure rose to 47%.

This was higher than the footprint of the company’s air travel (25%) and hotel stays (28%).

However, The Miles Consultancy acknowledged this could be partly due to the timing of the study, which was during a period when the organisation had reduced flying and hotel stays in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

But it added: “A large majority of people would have been working exclusively from home at the same time so, whilst we expect the 2022/2023 result to increase for air travel and hotel, we also expect all aspects of the ground transportation to rise in parallel as people return to office working.”

The case study notes: “The results are especially surprising to us, as the ‘poster child’ for everything that is bad when it comes to carbon emissions is typically air travel. On reflection, it’s somewhat not surprising, given the fact that people are moving across ground every day compared to flying and staying in hotels, which you would expect to be more infrequent. Nevertheless, to see ground transportation coming out highest from our research is eye opening.”

The study formed part of research and development for Mobility iQ, the mobility “super app” being created by The Miles Consultancy.

Stuart Donnelly, President Mobility, is setting up an advisory group of buyers, TMCs and other professionals to help test the subscription app before it is widely rolled out.

Donnelly said: “Our research project clearly demonstrates that ground transportation is a huge contributor of carbon emissions and requires real attention, both in order to measure and report on this data but also to create actionable steps to reduce it in support of reaching our net zero targets.”

He said the findings also align with the recent GBTA and FreeNow survey, which showed up that 73% of organisations do not measure or currently estimate carbon emissions from ground transportation, mainly due to the complexity of capturing the data in the first place.

As part of the Mobility iQ solution, The Miles Consultancy has built Carbon iQ, a digital carbon calculator that can intelligently detect both the mode of travel and distance travelled automatically via the mobile app to calculate the carbon emissions.

This allows businesses to more accurately report their Scope 3 emissions, meeting the new legislation, and provides the platform to baseline and develop strategy to reduce emissions to support net zero goals.