Group-wide environmental strategy aims to empower staff to make small changes that will add up to significant improvements in green performance

 

destinationgreenStaff are being urged to make their own green commitment

 

Arriva launched its Destination Green environmental strategy in December last year. It’s an initiative that sets out the group’s green ambitions as well as informing employees about how they can reduce their environmental impact with simple and achievable pledges.

“We all know the importance of public transport in reducing emissions, congestion and overall car use; so it is already embedded in our culture,” says Kevin O’Connor, managing director of Arriva’s UK bus division.”With Destination Green we are building upon this by harnessing the passion and expertise of our employees to continually strive to improve. It also offers an accessible and engaging way to draw on the considerable best practice from across the group.”

Backing up this sentiment is the launch of Destination Green with its four key themes; fuel, energy, water and waste. Arriva is aiming to improve its performance in each of these areas and is challenging its businesses and individual employees to be part of the journey.

“As a business we’ve done a lot on the environment,” adds Andrew Clark, Arriva’s group environment manager. “We’ve always had projects which deliver environmental benefits in Arriva. But we didn’t have a group level strategy which brought them all together. That’s what we now have with Destination Green.”

Clark notes that customers now expect businesses to provide evidence that they’re committed to the environment. Meanwhile, the government, alongside Deutsche Bahn, Arriva’s parent company, are also pushing this agenda. “However, what’s clear is that this sort of wide strategy has huge benefits for the business as a whole, especially when it comes to engagement with staff,” Clark adds. “It’s a strategy that we can point to.”

Destination Green has set some tough aspirations to meet. As part of its commitment to use as little fuel as possible, Arriva plans to continue to invest in its fleet of vehicles in a bid to reduce emissions. The group already operates electric and hybrid buses in the UK and it is now actively examining new technologies that will play a part in reducing this issue even further.

Meanwhile, other pledges cover reducing building energy consumption; water consumption; increasing the proportion of renewable electricity; and reducing waste (see panel below).

Each of the pledges is matched with practical steps that the group and its employees must take in order for them to be realised by 2020. Employees are also invited to make a personal fuel, energy, water or waste pledge. For example looking out for water leaks, placing waste in the correct bins, or making sure equipment is switched off to ensure Arriva maximises its Destination Green achievements.

“As a public transport operator, we already have a huge advantage,” notes Clark. “Public transport reduces the overall impacts of travel so is good for the environment. By its nature it’s a positive thing as it plays a big part in tackling climate change.

“We also have great people within the business, I’m a firm believer that our employees are all experts in their own field, so will know best how to apply Destination Green to their day jobs.” In effect it’s a lens to look through at our business to develop ideas and an approach that will work practically.”

Clark adds that the strategy gives Arriva employees a language that they can use for improvements across the four thematic areas of Destination Green. He says that every single group employee has some input into at least one of the four thematic areas and so they can develop their own strategies for influencing improvements.

“We’re painting a road map where everyone in the group has a unique role to play in driving improvements,” Clark says. “There’s a lot of passion for the way in which people do their jobs and play a part in the collective whole. I think we can harness that. If we can, then part of the battle is already won.”

Cynics may see this sort of strategy as ‘box-ticking’, but Clark is at pains to point out that there is unanimous support for Destination Green from across Arriva’s senior management, all of whom have made their own pledges towards the goals of the green strategy.

“We’ve provided tools and resources,” he adds. “Now it’s about adopting the strategy at each Arriva business and each Arriva location. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach either, this is about flexibility to make sure that we get the best possible result. We’re more likely to achieve the targets with local input. We want to empower people to change.”

Clark points to the group’s business in Italy where these resources have been taken and then adapted to the local environment (“under their own steam too,” he says, obviously impressed by their enthusiasm). Meanwhile, Arriva’s bus operation in the north west of England has seen its leadership team make a series of pledges (see case study). “We’ve outlined the key themes,” notes Clark. “We’ve pointed to the action points of energy; water; waste and fuel, but different businesses will have different opportunities. Like I say, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

It is still very early days for this strategy, but Clark says that staff reaction to Destination Green has been excellent so far.

“You just have to look at the reaction by the team in Italy, and then close to home in the north west,” he adds proudly. “That just shows how engaged and committed our teams can be. Each of the approaches is different, but I think if we can harness that enthusiasm, then the battle will be won.”

 

Destination Green themes

  • Fuel: aiming is to use as little fuel as possible;
  • Energy:aiming to be efficient with the energy Arriva uses in its buildings and facilities;
  • Water: aiming to conserve water, using as little as possible;
  •  Waste: creating less waste and to recycle as much as possible

CASE STUDY: Arriva North West and Wales

Arriva’s regional bus business in the north west of England and Wales has thrown itself behind the Destination Green campaign with an environmental pledge made by the directors of the company to save water.

Staff are firmly behind the plans. Regional health, safety and environmental manager Eddie Rogers said: “We’re working with industry specialists, other Arriva companies and staff to identify best practice and reduce our impact on the environment.”

It has resulted in the Arriva North West & Wales business making a joint pledge to cut at least 10% of the business’s water usage, by raising awareness at all locations and by identifying and rectifying leaks quickly.

Meanwhile, the company has also committed itself to a number of other Destination Green measures, including:

Investigating and trialling low and zero-emission vehicles in order to play a part in reducing carbon emissions from its fleet;

Replacing conventional, energy intensive lighting systems with very economical low energy LED lighting units; and

Installing energy-saving equipment at the operation’s new depot development in Rhyl. This will include equipment such as solar panels, an ultra efficient VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume) heating and cooling system throughout all office and training accommodation and a bus wash water recycling unit.

Rogers added: “The journey to Destination Green is good for Arriva; we will improve our position as a sustainable business.”

 

The full story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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