To deliver technical expertise to projects all around the world, we balance the benefits of deploying the right person to the job with air travel’s environmental impacts. We continually question whether we can get the same degree of success using remote methods of collaboration, such as videoconferencing and virtual meetings. In that spirit, our CEO and executives set the example by conducting quarterly meetings globally via video conferencing.
We also promote responsible choices through communications, policies and tools that promote awareness about carbon impacts, and we select travel suppliers that employ sustainable business practices. By the end of 2016, our Global Travel Program covered North America, Europe, MENAI and Latin America. The firm’s Asia-Pacific region will join in 2017.
We annually track all miles flown, whether for overhead operations or client projects. Reservations booked through our travel vendors encompass more than 90 percent of tickets for U.S. and Canadian employees. In 2016, we realized a decrease in total air travel of 10 percent. We began collecting data on rental car travel in 2011, and in 2016, we cut ground travel associated with rental cars by 1.2 percent compared to the prior year.
All U.S. employees have access to alternative transportation assistance programs, enabling them to use pretax dollars or vouchers to pay for public transit passes or commuter biking equipment or repairs.
In 2016, our Europe operations reported a 24 percent increase in total air miles, partially associated with expanded operations in Krakow that required additional support from staff in the U.K. This in turn resulted in a 17 percent increase in business travel carbon emissions, while rental car miles remained steady in 2016 compared with 2015.
While most of our employees in the UK commute by single-occupancy vehicles, top alternative forms of transportation are train/underground, carpooling and bicycling. The Glasgow office achieved the “Cycle Friendly Employer of the Year” award in 2016 from Cycling Scotland. The award recognized initiatives such as a dedicated undercover bicycle parking area and extra showers. We also provided cycling health checks for all staff.
We offer employees the chance to lease a bike or purchase safety equipment on attractive pretax terms through the UK government’s Cycle to Work scheme. We had a 14 percent increase in use of the scheme over the previous year and in 2016 we enrolled 91 employees.