Sustainable mobility is active climate protection.
At VAUDE, we’ve been dealing with the challenges of sustainability related to corporate mobility for more than ten years. We’d like to present three examples of practical solutions that have been successful for our employees.
Productive business travel by rail
As a VAUDE sales manager for Germany, Markus Schelkle spends a lot of his time traveling to specialized retailers and trade fairs. For eight years now, he’s been choosing to take the train rather than driving a company car for his business trips – and logging about 20,000 kilometers by rail each year. He appreciates both how comfortable Germany’s trains are as well as the opportunities they afford to make good use of his travel time. “When I travel by train, I arrive at my meetings more relaxed and I’m also productive on the way there. Thanks to WLAN on the train, I can use the trip to prepare for my appointments or get other work done.” Rather than being stuck in traffic jams and driving in circles looking for a parking space, he arrives right in the city center where many retailers are also located. When necessary, Markus rents a bike, takes public transport or uses car sharing to cover the “last mile” from the station to his final destination. Combining several business appointments along one travel route reduces the amount of time spent traveling as well as the total distance covered. Germany’s Bahncard and networked apps make it easy to be flexible on the go. Markus is certain – travelling by train requires no more planning than travelling by car.
Nevertheless, he sometimes has to get somewhere that requires a lot of extra effort to get there by train. For these cases, Markus takes one of the electric cars from the VAUDE fleet.
Whatever the weather – bike commuting
For Bozena Vollmer, biking to work every day comes naturally. “When I don’t manage it, I really feel like I’ve missed something.” Her six-kilometers bike commute helps her get going in the morning and start out the day feeling energized. VAUDE promotes bike commuting with a bike garage, workshop with a tire automat as well as technical riding and bike repair courses. Of course, there are also changing rooms and showers for those who have worked up a sweat. When Bozena occasionally takes the e-bike she shares with her husband, she can easily charge it on site during her normal working hours. But she prefers to her ride without any electric assist. She is convinced that riding in all kinds of weather isn’t just good for the environment, it also makes her immune system stronger. “In fact, for six years I’ve hardly been sick at all because I ride my bike regularly, even in winter. Lucky for me, my employer provides the right clothing and gear.”
Good public transport connections are an important factor for our well-positioned company
Ibrahim Abuhoran relies on a combinationof differ ent means of transport for his daily commute. In winter, he often takes the bus to work, which isn’t something to be taken for granted in such a rural area. The “Bähnlelinie”, a bus line that connects the company headquarters to the public transport network, was just set up in 2013 on VAUDE’s initiative by the Bodensee-Oberschwaben regional transport association. Since 2018, its been running on an hourly schedule during the day. “As an apprentice, I often took the bus and train. At that time, I lived further away. Since the timetable has been rescheduled, it’s much more relaxed.” Especially in summer, the 24-year-old now likes to ride his bike. He only uses his small car in urgent cases and tries to give others a ride when he does. “I don’t see cars as a status symbol. It’s easier for me to experience freedom on two wheels.” In addition to his own bike, Ibrahim also appreciates the opportunity to use one of the company’s own e-bikes, which are available to VAUDE employees free of charge.
VAUDE promotes sustainable mobility
The transportation revolution is a crucial element in the fight against climate change, but progress in Germany has been slow. Politicians are being called upon to take stricter measures toward making genuine progress, but that’s no reason for companies to just sit back and wait. With targeted measures, every company can accelerate its own transportation revolution.
VAUDE considers business travel and its employee’s daily commute to be an important part of the company’s carbon footprint for its Tettnang location. As in all areas of the company, CO2 emissions are also systematically recorded for this site in order to be able to target their elimination or reduction. Where this is not possible, they are compensated for. The in-house mobility concept includes guidelines for business travel and creates incentives to make individual mobility sustainable. And it is working better than expected – the goal of reducing transport-related emissions by ten percent from 2015 to 2020 was already achieved in 2018. We’re now aiming to make a 25 percent reduction in emissions by 2024.
The mobility policy for business travel prioritizes rail travel over carpooling and allows air travel only in well-justified cases. Commuting is a challenge in its own right. On average, employees travel about 14 kilometers to reach their workplace. This adds up to a whopping 1.3 million kilometers per year. The fewer of these that are driven by car, the better. In addition to the critical infrastructure on site, VAUDE offers another incentive to using alternatives to personal vehicles with its Mobility Lottery. Every week, a prize is raffled off among employees who commute to work by bike, e-bike, public transport or carpool.
In the VAUDE sustainability report there are more details on the issues of mobility, business travel and commuting:
Traffic-related emissions at the VAUDE site have been compensated for since 2012.