Big businesses commit to cutting flights

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Capgemini joins a group of major international businesses today announcing a firm commitment to cutting their flights by one-fifth, over the next five years.

A group of major international businesses today announced a firm commitment to cutting their flights by one-fifth, over the next five years.

Founder members of WWF’s ‘One in Five Challenge’, which launched today, include Marks & Spencer, Premiere Global, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Vodafone and Capgemini. The guided programme aims to help businesses cut twenty percent of their flights by 2014.

Watch WWF's David Nussbaum and Capgemini's Christine Hodgson on YouTube introducing the One in Five Challenge 

“There is a very real appetite among big businesses to reduce the number of flights they take,” said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK. “In a WWF survey, 89 per cent of FTSE 350 companies stated that they expect to cut business flights significantly in the coming decade and today’s launch confirms that the UK’s more forward-thinking companies are already taking the first steps to turn those good intentions into a reality.”

The independently audited scheme encourages businesses to seek greener alternatives to flying, from video conferencing to train travel, sets yearly flight reduction targets and helps companies to get their staff engaged with the project. And by providing a clear annual evaluation of the money and carbon saved by taking part in the One in Five Challenge, the programme also hopes to demonstrate that companies can remain competitive while cutting their carbon emissions.

Theresa Villiers, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, who spoke at the launch said: “If we are serious about tackling climate change, it is essential that businesses work together to start a dramatic shift to low-carbon travel, including more extensive use of realistic alternatives to flying. That is why I welcome WWF’s ambitious One in Five Challenge, which aims to do just that - challenge and support businesses in reducing the amount of flying they ask their staff to do and cutting their carbon impact on the planet.”

Editor’s Notes

James Robey, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Capgemini UK: “Capgemini is delighted to be a founding member of the WWF 1 in 5 Challenge. The Challenge perfectly complements our target to reduce carbon from business travel by 30% by 2014, and also provides a powerful way of engaging with our people and our customers.”

Campbell Gemmell, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “What I like about the WWF challenge is its ambition. By signing up we want to show that not only are we aware of our environmental footprint, we are actively seeking to reduce it.”

“I’m delighted that we have signed up to the WWF 1 in 5 Challenge. As Scotland’s environmental watchdog we must and want to set a good example, but it’s not always easy! Our offices have a wide geographic spread across Scotland and we only own a few of them. Our staff also needs to travel, often to inaccessible places to do their jobs - inspecting sites, visiting customers, monitoring the environment. We have already made big reductions in our air travel within mainland Britain using quite simple measures like making more use of trains and of phone and video conferencing. We will continue to embrace new ideas and technologies that enable us (and others) to reduce climate damaging CO2 emissions.”

Nicki Woodhead, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Vodafone UK said: “We are pleased to be a Founder Member of WWF’s One in Five Challenge. Vodafone UK is getting involved today because there is a real opportunity for everyone, including employees of small and large companies to reduce their impact on the environment through mobile working. We have a range of solutions including mobile internet and mobile broadband which have major social, environmental and financial benefits for individuals and businesses.”

Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer said: “One of our key commitments under Plan A is to reduce the carbon footprint of our business travel. We are pleased to be associated with WWF as part of our broader partnership as we believe that the One in Five campaign enables us to set targets within our business that will not only reduce our footprint, but will help us to save money.”

John Stone, Managing Director, Europe – Premiere Global Services: “Premiere Global Services are delighted to have joined the WWF’s One in Five Challenge as one of its founding members. The primary objective of WWF’s One in Five Challenge is to work with companies to help reduce their business flights and in turn reduce their carbon footprint.”

“This aligns with Premiere Global’s objective of providing our customers with alternative solutions – such as audio and web conferencing – to otherwise costly and environmentally harmful business travel. This objective also supports the WWF’s message that flying less doesn’t have to impact business productivity and our technology ensures companies can still connect, collaborate and do business globally, even if they are not traveling to do so.”

Gordon Baker, Chairman, JMP Consultants Ltd, auditors of the One in Five Scheme, said: “We have worked with WWF-UK to design a challenge that creates the business case for change. The benefits of changing travel policies and behaviors is not always clear; either from a financial or carbon perspective. The one in five reporting process changes this and helps Businesses account for the total cost of travel.”

“Companies succeeding in the challenge will not only demonstrate their carbon credentials to consumers and suppliers, but also show that a reduction in business flights improves business operations and the bottom line. Low carbon travel and alternatives are now a positive proposition for successful business”

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Press Contact

Jo Sargent,
Senior Press Officer, WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 375,
Mob: 07867 697 519,
Email: jsargent@wwf.org.uk