Sustainable mobility drives the newest employee perk

March 15, 2021 by  
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Sustainable mobility drives the newest employee perk Katie Fehrenbacher Mon, 03/15/2021 – 00:05 This article originally appeared in the State of Green Business 2021. You can download the entire report here . San Francisco Bay Area biotech giant Genentech is a world leader in making medicines for diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis; it’s even trialing one of its medicines for helping treat COVID-19. It’s safe to say that the company, a division of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, isn’t officially in the transportation business. But over the past few years, the company has aggressively built out an electric commuter shuttle program for its employees, as well as developed other sustainable mobility offerings such as easy access to carpooling, transit services and ferry lines. The goal: Move the more than 10,000 employees that normally commute to its South San Francisco campus (pre-pandemic) with the lowest carbon footprint possible, and offer its traveling salesforce across the country access to EVs. Why? One big reason — rising in importance at companies across the globe — is employee engagement. “It matters to our employees,” said Andy Jefferson, Genentech’s director of transportation, at the VERGE 20 conference in October. Retaining the best talent is crucial to Genentech’s ability to stay ahead with biotech innovation. Enabling employees to make sustainable choices about their commutes and transportation is the latest perk it can offer to an elite workforce. And Genentech isn’t the only one. Enabling employees to make sustainable choices about their commutes and transportation is the latest perk a company can offer to an elite workforce. Companies around the world, from Sweden’s Inkga Group (the holding company for the IKEA retail chain) to Clif Bar (with operations in the Bay Area and Twin Falls, Idaho) are developing sustainable mobility offerings for employees. These programs can include an array of services, from on-campus EV chargers, access to carpooling programs, financial incentives for buying bikes, e-bikes and EVs, and — for the lucky few — rides to and from work in electric buses. For most companies, tackling the carbon emissions associated with employee travel is a big part of the decision to offer these perks. For Inkga Group, 15 percent of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, a combination of employee and customer travel as well as goods delivery. IKEA is developing plans to halve its emissions from customer and employee travel, and is piloting a program to better help its 160,000 coworkers carpool together.  But attracting and retaining employees remains a solid byproduct of overarching corporate sustainability goals. “A significant part of our employees are under 25, and we want to attract the best talent on the market. So we need to figure out how to get people to us,” said IKEA Head of Sustainability Angela Hultberg at VERGE 20. Nonprofits such as The Climate Group are increasingly working with these companies to help set goals around EVs. Genentech, Inka Group and Clif Bar are all members of the EV100, a group of companies that have pledged to deploy EV chargers on campuses and, when possible, convert vehicle fleets to electric. So far, 92 companies have joined the EV100, representing major growth from the program’s launch three years ago. Another driving force behind the growth in corporate sustainable mobility programs is evolving consumer and political sentiment. Most Americans agree that global warming is happening, and the Biden administration is touting the most ambitious climate agenda in American history. Transportation emissions are the single largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States, and American cities, and some states such as California, are making big moves, including phasing out or banning fossil-fuel vehicles altogether.  Companies with many employees commuting to their campuses also have learned that it’s smart to work closely with cities on the most sustainable ways to move hoards of workers to campuses. Their quality of life rises and the air gets cleaner. In communities when fewer single-occupancy vehicles are on the roads, there’s less traffic and shorter commute times. Then there’s the advancing technology of electric vehicles, one of the leading solutions for slashing transportation emissions. The costs of the batteries that power EVs continue to drop, making electric vehicles cheaper, and global automakers including Volkswagen, General Motors and Daimler are investing billions of dollars into electrifying vehicle lines. Years ago, an electric commuter bus would be far too expensive for a company such as Genentech to invest in, let alone own and operate dozens of them. But as battery prices plummet, electric buses actually can save companies money on fuel and maintenance costs over time. The ubiquity of mobile computing, social networks and big data is also playing a role in new sustainable mobility services. Carpooling startup Scoop has developed an app that offers companies a way to help employees strategically carpool with coworkers and neighbors and even provide back-up rides with ride-hailing ones from Lyft. Scoop says it is America’s largest carpooling app and works with 15 percent of the Fortune 100, including LinkedIn, Samsung and Rakuten. Rakuten HR Business Partner Elva Huang provides a testimonial for the app: “Building community and offering unique programs is the best way to attract and retain great talent. Scoop helps us provide our employees with an organic and genuine way to connect with one another on a shared experience.” Of course, like much in 2020, COVID-19 has upended how employees travel to work. Many are working from home for the foreseeable future, transportation emissions unexpectedly have dropped and public transit, in particular, has seen a disturbing decline in ridership. A silver lining of the shift to remote work has been an increasing reliance and interest in telecommuting. Expect some key aspects of this trend to remain in place after employees return to offices, including significantly reduced business air travel and an increase in video conference calls. In 2021, companies will continue to leverage the sustainability and efficiency boosts of working from home, at least much more than pre-COVID.  Some policymakers are even looking to codify such COVID-era sustainable transport trends into new mandates and goals. The San Francisco region’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently proposed developing sustainable commute targets for companies that have more than 50 employees. But eventually, as vaccines are widely deployed, employees across the globe will return to workplaces in greater numbers. It’s now the role of forward-looking companies — and their transportation leaders — to lean into sustainable mobility offerings for employees to enable their transition back in the greenest way possible. Pull Quote Enabling employees to make sustainable choices about their commutes and transportation is the latest perk a company can offer to an elite workforce. Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Electric Bus Electric Vehicles Ride Hailing Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off One of Genentech’s electric commuter buses. Courtesy of Genentech Close Authorship

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GM’s electric delivery foray, plus other mobility trends headlining CES

January 13, 2021 by  
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GM’s electric delivery foray, plus other mobility trends headlining CES Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 01/13/2021 – 01:30 For the first time in its 54-year history, the world’s largest tech show — the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — kicked off this week as an all-virtual event, cramming a week of keynotes, press conferences and over 1,000 exhibitor booths onto the screens of our laptops and from the comfort of our homes.  As a recovering tech reporter, who for years traversed the football field-sized ballrooms in Las Vegas to check out the latest and weirdest gadgets, I, for one, am glad not to be stuck in the scene of long taxi lines, awkward parties and rampant consumerism.  But virtual or not, CES continues to highlight what some of the biggest tech and retail companies in the world are prioritizing and building. And in recent years it has emerged as a place for automotive and mobility companies to make announcements, launch products and get attention. 2021 was no different in that respect.  Here are five mobility tech themes from the show to keep an eye on this year: Electric delivery:  The biggest mobility newsmaker from the show was General Motors , whose CEO, Mary Barra, delivered an hour-long keynote (check out our list of 20 C-suite sustainability champions such as Barra). GM announced it’s launching a new business unit called BrightDrop that will seek to electrify the goods delivery market. GM showed off images of an electric delivery vehicle called the EV600, as well as a pallet system called the EP1. FedEx Express announced it will be the first customer of BrightDrop. It will be the first company to receive the EV600s, which will have a 250-mile range, can carry 200 pounds of payload and will have 23 cubic feet of cargo space. GM’s logistics news comes amidst a massive growth in e-commerce during the pandemic. A couple of months ago, Ford, too, announced it plans to launch an electric delivery vehicle called the e-Transit, based on its popular Transit commercial vehicle.  GM is making a huge $27 billion push to electrify its product lines. GM also showed off a new electric Cadillac luxury vehicle and more details about its next-gen battery technology.  Of course, GM wasn’t the only automotive player that emphasized the electric transition at CES. Panasonic touted a new battery containing less than 5 percent cobalt that it’s working on, while LG and auto parts maker Magna provided more details of their joint venture to sell electric vehicle power trains. Mercedes-Benz showed off a sleek curved vehicle screen that will debut in one of its luxury electric vehicles.  The state of autonomous:  Due to the ever-present hype cycle and over-ambitious promises, autonomous vehicles have under-delivered on expectations. But make no mistake, they’re just around the corner. The CEO of Mobileye (owned by Intel), Amnon Shashua, did a long-ranging interview about the state of AVs, predicting robotaxis will be the first commercial application for true AVs, followed by consumer vehicles in 2025.  The commercial sector is already tapping into autonomous tech for business. Caterpillar highlighted at CES how it’s using autonomous vehicles in its mining vehicles on a mining site to save customers’ money and time.  Decarbonizing systems:  Sustainability doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with a huge convention hawking the latest ephemeral gadgets. But auto parts company Bosch used the digital CES to tout that the company has gone carbon-neutral this year, and now plans to go carbon-neutral across its supply chain, a particularly more difficult task. GM, likewise, emphasized the climate aspect of its electrification commitments. Data-driven user experience design: CES has long been the place for companies to emphasize their design and data-driven work on consumer experience and personalized experiences, whether that’s in-vehicle systems, gaming headsets or mobile screens. Of particular interest to Transport Weekly readers will be that a handful of companies such as Mercedes-Benz , Panasonic Automotive , mapping company HERE and Bosch also highlighted how data and design can be used to make the electric vehicle driving and charging experience better. 5G for connected cities:  The telcos always use CES to try to create buzz around their latest network investments. And a digital 2021 CES was no different. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg delivered a keynote that listed a series of new applications and experiences that 5G could help deliver. One of the most interesting was increased connectivity in cities that could lead to things such as reduced traffic. Meanwhile, UPS and Verizon announced that the companies are collaborating on testing drone delivery using 5G to a retirement community in Florida.  Beyond mobility trends, CES touted two major things you’d expect in a pandemic. First, technologies that make being stuck in your home easier, more fun and more comfortable. Think bigger screens, home robots, faster WiFi. Second: tools that can protect your health, such as over-engineered connected masks and air purifiers.  Sign up for Katie Fehrenbacher’s newsletter, Transport Weekly, at this link . Follow her on Twitter. Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Autonomous Vehicles Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off General Motors has created a new commercial business unit, called BrightDrop, with new electric vehicles to help businesses deliver goods efficiently. Courtesy of General Motors Close Authorship

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GM’s electric delivery foray, plus other mobility trends headlining CES

The startup disrupting Unilever

September 26, 2019 by  
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Algramo was one of more than 60 startups delivering finalist pitches for the latest series of challenges issued as part of MIT Solve.

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The startup disrupting Unilever

Forestry sector cultivates SDG action plan

July 29, 2019 by  
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Roadmap is the latest in a series coordinated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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Forestry sector cultivates SDG action plan

‘Banking’ water surges in communities facing water stress

June 14, 2019 by  
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Groundwater recharge is the latest wave in water security.

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‘Banking’ water surges in communities facing water stress

Improving food cold chains for farmers and citizens in India

June 14, 2019 by  
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New research shows that temperature-controlling supply chains can cut food waste and boost public health in the country.

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Improving food cold chains for farmers and citizens in India

Utilities energy storage growing like gangbusters

June 14, 2019 by  
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Commercial and industrial behind-the-meter storage just had its best quarter yet.

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Utilities energy storage growing like gangbusters

Making living products is second nature at our Glasgow plant

June 14, 2019 by  
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Sponsored: With the recent Petal Certification of an entire commercial carpet platform, Mohawk Group demonstrates how sustainability is their second nature.

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Making living products is second nature at our Glasgow plant

Report Report: Banking, blind spots, carbon capture and climate risk

May 1, 2019 by  
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A new BlackRock report on assessing climate-related risks is among the standouts in the latest research.

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Report Report: Banking, blind spots, carbon capture and climate risk

Report Report: Banking, blind spots, carbon capture and climate risk

May 1, 2019 by  
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A new BlackRock report on assessing climate-related risks is among the standouts in the latest research.

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Report Report: Banking, blind spots, carbon capture and climate risk

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