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First digital tool to help reduce commuter carbon emissions

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Fri 11 Mar 2022

New Zealand transportation planning company Abley has developed the first digital tool to help reduce carbon emissions generated by commuters.

To help cut carbon from the daily commute, Abley has launched CarbonWise, designed to help local companies measure carbon emissions generated by their commuting staff.

"Lots of businesses have put measuring the impact of their employees' commuter travel in the too hard basket, and are simply not reporting these emissions," says Abley sustainability specialist, Benjamin Walch. 

"We realised this was because there was no available tool to set up, run, and process commuter survey data. So, we came up with CarbonWise, an easy way to measure emissions generated by the daily commute, using a simple survey of employees' travel choices."

He says survey participants get instant feedback on their carbon emissions, and employers can monitor data collected to compare results against sustainability targets.

"Once you have that data, you can come up with personal or workplace strategies to reduce the commuter carbon footprint. During trials of CarbonWise, employees said they were shocked at their commuting emissions and asked what they could do about it. That's exactly the type of conversation we want to spark," Walch says.

He says CarbonWise is ideal for large organisations with teams in multiple locations. It automates the survey and data analysis process, enabling the comparison of travel patterns and emissions at different sites. 

"It's also a valuable tool for informing investment decisions such as installing electric vehicle charging stations," he adds.

CarbonWise lets companies include their staffs commuter emissions in their carbon inventories. The tool can also be used to challenge and reward staff for reducing their contribution to global emissions.

CarbonWise will soon be able to calculate emissions from Australian workplaces, and Abley plans to add more countries.

Why commuting emissions matter:

  • Commuting is a significant contributor to global warming, but most New Zealanders still rely on cars to travel to work.
  • New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions rose 26% between 1990 and 2019. Transport was the biggest contributor to this rise, with emissions from road transport growing 93% within the same timeframe, and cars contributing 54% of those emissions.
  • Reducing commuting by private car can make a dent in many organisations' emissions, while changing general travel behaviour throughout society. Therefore, managing emissions from commuting is one of the key levers for meeting the country's emissions reduction targets.
  • Changing the way New Zealander's commute can also cut congestion and air pollution and improve the public health quality of life.

Abley will be holding a webinar on Tuesday, March 22. Sustainability specialist Benjamin Walch will explain how CarbonWise works for organisations and demonstrate the software. 

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