For many forward-thinking business leaders, sustainability has been steadily building momentum for decades. It’s only recently, however, that sustainability has gained visibility and traction as a foundational, strategic initiative for organizations of all sizes. These leaders are pioneering across environmentalism, corporate social responsibility, and taking the first step toward a fully circular economy.
A circular economy is a system that allows us to create products and services that promote restoration and reusability. By participating in the circular economy, innovative businesses gain the ability to impact their employees’ lives, their surrounding communities, and the environment at large. One area that is taking off within circularity, in particular, is the need for shared, sustainable transit that reduces various types of waste and emissions.
Let’s dive into the ways transportation is affecting the climate today, and how shared mobility solutions provide companies with the ability to scale impact throughout the circularity value chain.
The current environmental state of transportation
As it stands, our current transportation models are contributing to large sums of waste and emissions that are damaging the environment. Estimates by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that motor gasoline and diesel fuel consumption in the transportation sector resulted in the emission of 1,559 million metric tons of CO2.
Their analysis further showed that the sum of pollutants from transportation made up 30% of the United States’ total energy-related emissions in 2018. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that 75% of Americans commute in their cars alone, increasing emission rates by not sharing the road or taking alternative forms of transit.
Many recent innovations aren’t fixing this problem, either. In fact, some could be worsening it. Studies have shown that ride-hailing companies are contributing to the increased congestion within cities by placing even more cars on our roads. Ride-hailing drivers are also shown to take 12 times the number of trips than traditional taxis, showcasing the increasing trip volume created by on-demand transit. Even autonomous vehicles, which many predict could be the future of transportation, can further exacerbate the issue by causing vehicles with no passengers to begin clogging up highways.
And while electric vehicles show promise towards reducing carbon emissions caused by fossil fuels, there must also be a shared component in order to further scale change by ultimately removing single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs).
How carpooling improves the circularity impact chain
In order to significantly decrease transportation-related emissions and waste, there must be a strategic shift from predominantly SOV commuter behavior to more shared, sustainable modes. Carpooling is shown to be able to decrease the number of SOVs while also tackling the high-rates of emissions caused by transportation. Having fewer cars on the road also leads to multiple other forms of waste reduction, such as the decreased production of mechanical parts needed for repairs, or a decrease in the overall wear and tear on infrastructure.
Not only does carpooling have far-reaching environmental benefits, but it is also shown to improve the quality of life for individual commuters. It improves mental health by reducing stress, creates community by providing space for socialization, and even boosts job satisfaction.
To incentivize and spur this beneficial behavior change, employers are in a unique position to be able to shift commuting dynamics—and must take action. By prioritizing shared commuting for their workforce, employers can begin to function as a component of circularity and cascade impact from within their organization on the individual level to communities and systems beyond the office.
There are technologies that are helping businesses organize shared mobility for their workforce. Interested in learning how to bring sustainable commuting to your company? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.