Embracing the Green Commute
The municipal government of Kristiansand is encouraging companies to put in place measures that inspire employees to rely on the ‘green commute’ – biking or walking to get to and from work. This is just one way in which Kristiansand aligns with Norway’s national strategy to reduce CO2 emissions.
Nikkelverk first took action by carrying out an employee survey to identify commuting habits. The study showed that relatively few employees used buses for their workplace commute and, surprisingly, far fewer used bicycles. The potential for change was huge as was the opportunity to build upon their reputation as a dedicated civic partner. With both financial and logistical support from the municipal government, the next course of action was to construct lanes to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian traffic to and from the site.
Kristiansand was named Norway’s number one cycling city only a few years prior thanks, in part, to its expansive and numerous bike routes around the city. As such, the newly constructed lanes, which extend more than 10 kilometres in both directions from the site, connect to Kristiansand’s already-established bike route system. Safety, as always, comes first, so the site set a 25 kilometre per-hour speed limit on their lanes. Furthermore, to better the commuting option for cyclists, Nikkelverk constructed storage facilities capable of housing 200 bicycles. This enables employees to store their bikes (and charge them if they are electric) without the worry of inclement weather, which is often a reality in Kristiansand. Simultaneously, to help entice the green commute to employees, a local dealer offered Nikkelverk employees a discount on the purchase of electric bicycles.
Today, the storage facility often overflows with bikes, meaning more than 200 employees are using bicycles to commute to and from work on any given day.
Nikkelverk’s employees work hard to improve safety, lower energy consumption and minimize the site’s impact on the environment. This initiative asked them to take this mindset into their personal lives by changing their commuting habits and embrace a green commute. It had the additional benefit of promoting their personal health and well-being.
Clearly, employees were up to the challenge.