Healthy and eco-friendly travel to work (Gesund und umweltfreundlich zur Arbeit)
In 1998 the certification process for ISO 14001 revealed the following: with the car used to get to work in 65% of cases within the year, travel to work accounted for about 50% of the company’s total annual energy consumption. A mobility management programme enabled the use of the car to travel to work to be reduced to about 45% on the annual average. As a result, energy consumption and CO2 emissions were reduced to about one third of the company total. It has been possible to do justice to both our employees’ mobility needs and our responsibility for the environment and to society.
INFICON AG in Balzers (215 employees) is mainly active in the development and manufacture of vacuum tools and gas analysis systems for a wide variety of industrial applications. The company is an affiliate of the global INFICON Holding AG (740 employees) with its operative headquarters in Syracuse in the USA, another development and production facility in Cologne, and sales and service points in Asia, Europe and the USA. Since July 2000 INFICON has been listed as an independent company on the SWX Swiss Exchange.
The process involves the employees of INFICON AG and UCP Processing AG in Balzers. It is managed by a multifunctional working group called Environment & Mobility (Umwelt & Mobilität). As a part of our quality assurance effort, the QA manager is in the chair; he is responsible for the effort at Executive Board level. In negotiations with the public transport operators, the Balzers companies pull together, represented by the biggest employer in the area, namely Unaxis Balzers AG.
One of the ecological objectives defined in 2000 was a reduction in energy consumption for employees’ travel to work. The goal was defined as a modal split of 40% private motor vehicles (approx. 95% cars), 40% collective travel (90% public transport, 5% car-sharing, 5% Unaxis works bus), 20% on foot or by bike. For that reason the new facility opened in 2002 was designed with parking for only 40% of the workforce (max. 300 employees). The mobility management programme was not to be allowed to jeopardise the high level of employee satisfaction nor to create problems for the company with regard to recruitment. In this context it should be borne in mind that in Liechtenstein the car is used to get to work in 75% of all cases. Financially, the mobility management programme was to be neutral in terms of costs – although that view does not take account of the improvements to the health of many employees resulting from increased physical exercise.
A Mobility Club was created as the platform for the project. Membership is free for employees, but they have to undertake not to travel alone in the car to get to work more than 24 times (Top) or 96 times (Plus) per year. The Mobility Club operates with incentives: annual mobility grant of CHF 330, free parking during the day, free membership in Mobility CarSharing Schweiz, free use of a Mobility Car, reduced season tickets on the Swiss Railways (SBB), plus special offers for Top members (raffles for money prizes, award presentations at company events). The amount of the car park charge (CHF 360 or 720 p.a.) depends only on criteria relating to the route to work. The same applies to the allocation of parking places when demand exceeds availability. The system gives priority to car-sharing groups. All employees benefit from a bicycle repair day and a bicycle crash helmet campaign. They also take part in an annual mobility lottery (lasting 4 weeks, CHF 50 top be won every day, participation limited to employees who have not come to work alone in a car or on a motorbike).
The application of management principles to employees’ choices for travel to work has not just provided a solution for the company but has helped shape employees’ general mobility habits. We attach great importance to their health and satisfaction with the workplace. Accessibility of the plant has been improved. For many employees travel to work now costs less; a second car in the family is no longer needed. Many employees feel an improvement in terms of health and less stress thanks to the use of alternative modes of transport. Mobility management is a cost-effective solution for the company. Our mobility management programme also reduces the number of cars on the roads and the resulting environmental impacts in the way of air-borne pollutants, particulate matter and noise. In addition, the company now has an innovative image, not just for its products, but also as an employer. In November 2003 travel to work by private motor vehicle was down to 46%, with energy consumption and CO2 emissions down to about one third of the company total. Health and the choice of mode of transport are now very much on the agenda.