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Ericsson, a Swedish communications company that provides software, equipment and services, is incorporating employee commutes into their sustainability practice. We interviewed Kiesha Rogers, Facilities Manager, who also serves as the Connector for Perimeter Connects here in Atlanta.
Q: How long has Ericsson been promoting commute options?
A: By 2020, 90% of the world’s population will be covered by mobile broadband networks (quoted from Ericsson’s website). Ericsson recognizes the unique opportunity to operate business responsibly when our industry touches so much of the world. The Sustainability Squad started at Ericsson three years ago. Our team is tasked with developing sustainable initiatives at the regional level looking at water conservation, energy use, and employee commutes among others. A subset of the Sustainability Squad is the Transportation Team.
Q: Do you have support from upper management and how is that conveyed to employees?
A: I believe the top-down support for sustainable business practices including commuting is attractive to employees who want to incorporate sustainable practices into their work and personal life. A lot of employees are looking at ways to be more sustainable in their daily lives and the commute is another way for us all to reduce our impact. (Should we keep this question because she didn’t really answer it…it’s saying top-down support is attractive to employees? That doesn’t say anything about actual top-down support though).
Q: What challenges is your organization facing to get more people to stop driving alone?
A: Awareness of commute options is a great challenge. Our organization maintains operations during weather incidents and other environmental disruptions by teleworking, but we are also looking at the daily commutes of our employees and the opportunities to carpool, ride transit, and bike to work. Specifically in Atlanta, there are so many resources to help employees change how they get to work. We want to be strategic in giving employees access to the right information.
Q: What is Ericsson doing to make commute options more attractive to employees?
A: I suggested a Car Free Day promotion to the Transportation Team as a way to encourage employees to NOT be car dependent during their commute. We worked with Perimeter Connects to create an online pledge allowing employees to agree to be Car Free on March 23rd. Employees reported their mode use other than driving alone and were rewarded with breakfast. Team members across North & Latin America were excited by this idea and Car Free Day was implemented across many worksites for Ericsson.
Q: Will you continue promoting Car Free Day?
A: Ericsson is looking at this promotion to occur annually. It was a low-risk event involving a couple emails, a flyer created by Perimeter Connects, breakfast for participants, and a growing awareness of MARTA, Xpress, Concourse shuttle, the carpool database, and the regional incentive programs available to employees by Georgia Commute Options.