How can we cycle towards a greener future? James Palser, Cycling UK

Cycling in itself is a very green option, but the industry still causes plenty of carbon footprint, be it from events, packaging or factory running. BikeBiz reached out to the industry to investigate what more we can be doing to protect our planet.

Today, we hear from James Palser, CFE-UK project manager, Cycling UK.

Helping more people to take up and continue cycling is the business we’re all in, whether you’re a charity like Cycling UK, manufacturer, service provider or retailer.

We all know the arguments about the benefits cycling has from the mental and physical wellbeing aspects. We know more cycling will reduce our environmental impact compared to other transport modes, while also reducing congestion, we can have fun at the same time.

It’s pretty much an established fact: if more people choose cycling, the world would be a better place.

As a sector, we recognise this, and the work we do, the products we produce and sell and services we provide are all designed to make this a reality.

However, how much are we actually doing to make the cycling lives of our own employees better and more convenient? As we’re in the business of getting more people cycling, we should be holding ourselves to higher account than the non-cycling sectors.

That’s where the Cycle Friendly Employer (CFE) Accreditation can help. This scheme was developed within the EU project ‘Bike2Work’ and operates in 15 countries across Europe, with the purpose of providing a template for companies to work to in order to become more cycle-friendly.

In the UK, charity Cycling UK is the recognised provider for the scheme, which to date remains the only international standard for workplace cycling, so it’s a handy scheme to enrol in if you’re a multinational looking for a universal standard across all your sites.

Accreditation is judged across three standards: gold, silver and bronze. Organisations can meet a range of measures to demonstrate how cycle-friendly they are. These include communications, training and incentives for staff as well as physical facilities such as secure cycle parking, showers and changing rooms.

The chances are high that if you’re in the cycling sector, you’re probably already doing a fair bit – it sort of goes with the territory. But where CFE can help is in providing a checklist of what you’re already doing and then a route map to what else you could do.

One sign up to CFE already from the sector appropriately enough is Cyclescheme. As one of the UK’s providers for the Cycle to Work scheme that’s all about getting people to commute by bike it was important for them to stand out to their customers.

Product manager Laurence Boon is a fan of the CFE for a number of reasons, but chiefly for the environmental impact: “With what’s going on with global climate change, every business needs to have a plan and be accountable for CO2 they and their employees create.

“Getting staff on bikes is one of the easiest things an employer can do to be environmentally minded,” he said. “The Cycle Friendly Employer Accreditation is a fantastic way, first of all, to get a baseline to understand where you’re at, and then make a plan for the future.”

Unsurprisingly, with pool bikes, showers, lockers, individualised cycle parking and even a washing and drying machine, Cyclescheme has taken gold.

It’s time the cycling sector began to practice what it preaches and set the standard for cycle-friendly employers across the UK. It’s a simple process and begins by heading to www.cyclinguk.org/cyclefriendlyemployer.

And oh, just in case you’re wondering, yes, Cycling UK is a gold CFE accredited organisation – but we still believe there’s still room for improvement!

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