At VAUDE, business trips to our production countries in Asia are responsible for a significant part of our emissions , but they also come from our company fleet, rail travel and hotel accommodation.
The VAUDE travel policy is a voluntary commitment of the company for all VAUDE employees. As a general rule, reducing travel not only reduces emissions, but also saves on costs and time. With the help of web conferencing and video conferencing, some travel can be eliminated these days.
We are, unfortunately, far away from our 2015 goal of reducing emissions from business travel by 20% compared to 2011 . On the contrary, emissions increased by 1%. Our need for action is high, our options for action are limited.
With the growth of the company, more employees, more products, more production, more customers, etc., the reduction of business travel is truly difficult. Furthermore, for the connection (which continues to be “frugal”) from Tettnang-Obereisenbach and most VAUDE employee homes to public transport and our (otherwise beautiful) peripheral location within Germany finding the right mix of ecology, time expenditure and costs for business travel remains a special challenge.
As a general rule, we prefer rail travel to air travel at VAUDE – especially within Germany and on many European routes. We have defined a “pain threshold” to which we find rail travel reasonable – although the cost is often higher and we have to endure bad connection or delays:
Rail travel is our first choice for distances up to 600 km (second choice: carpooling.) For stretches over 600 km and an increase in time of at least 30%, flying is allowed.
Theoretically, this is a reasonable requirement. In practice, however, we still very often have to make compromises: from Tettnang to a conference in Berlin by train, for example, means either an additional night in a hotel or a stretch by air travel.
Since 2011, the entire VAUDE vehicle fleet has been converted to low-emission vehicles. Despite this, we couldn’t reduce our fuel consumption per 100 km – more at Fuel Consumption in Comparison
Our goal remains to reduce emissions from business travel significantly. A rethinking is not only required at VAUDE – away from car travel and towards public transport. We all are called for here: each one of us (Why not enjoy a business trip by rail instead of standing in a traffic jam?), the company (Why not create incentives for executives to forego their company cars?) and politics, such as the expansion of railway lines or in tax incentives for environmentally friendly mobility.
»Environmentally friendly mobility challenges all of us: each one of us, companies, and at a political level.«
Hilke Patzwall, VAUDE CSR Manager