Category 7 Employee Commuting – The best calculation guidance

Category 7 Employee Commuting

Category description – Category 7 Employee Commuting includes emissions from the transportation of employees1 in this category, as well as consultants, contractors, and other individuals who are not employees of the company, but commute to facilities owned and operated by the company) between their homes and their worksites.

Emissions from employee commuting may arise from:

  • Automobile travelCategory 7 Employee Commuting
  • Bus travel
  • Rail travel
  • Air travel
  • Other modes of transportation (e.g., subway, bicycling, walking).

Companies may include emissions from teleworking (i.e., employees working remotely) in this category.

A reporting company’s scope 3 emissions from employee commuting include the scope 1 and scope 2 emissions of employees and third-party transportation providers.

Overview – Category 7 Employee Commuting

Reporting for Category 7 Employee Commuting involves documenting and disclosing information related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from employees’ travel to and from their workplace. This reporting process is typically conducted as part of broader sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting efforts aimed at transparency, accountability, and performance tracking. Here’s a comprehensive overview of reporting for Category 7 Employee Commuting:

Purpose of Reporting:

  1. Transparency: Reporting on employee commuting emissions provides stakeholders, including employees, investors, customers, and communities, with transparent information about the environmental impact of the organization’s operations.
  2. Accountability: By disclosing commuting-related emissions data, organizations demonstrate accountability for their environmental footprint and commitment to addressing climate change and sustainable transportation.
  3. Performance Tracking: Reporting allows organizations to track trends, set targets, and measure progress over time in reducing commuting-related emissions, supporting continuous improvement and goal achievement.

Components of Reporting:

  1. Emissions Inventory: Organizations quantify and document GHG emissions associated with employee commuting, including emissions from different transportation modes (e.g., personal vehicles, public transit, walking, cycling) and indirect emissions from energy consumption and infrastructure.
  2. Data Collection and Analysis: Data collection methods may include employee surveys, transportation logs, fuel consumption records, public transit ridership data, and vehicle fleet tracking systems. Analysis of collected data identifies commuting patterns, emission hotspots, and opportunities for emissions reduction.
  3. Metrics and Indicators: Reporting may include various metrics and indicators to communicate commuting-related emissions data effectively, such as total emissions (in metric tons of CO2e), emissions per employee, emissions per mode of transportation, and emission intensity per unit of distance traveled.
  4. Trends and Comparisons: Reporting may involve analyzing trends in commuting-related emissions over time, comparing emissions data across different geographic locations, business units, or employee demographics, and benchmarking performance against industry peers or best practices.

Reporting Guidelines and Standards:

  1. Global Reporting Initiative (GRI): GRI standards provide guidelines for reporting on sustainability issues, including transportation-related emissions, in corporate sustainability reports. GRI Indicator 305-3 specifically addresses emissions from commuting.
  2. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP): CDP collects data from companies on their environmental performance, including emissions from employee commuting, and provides a platform for disclosure and benchmarking.
  3. ISO 14064: ISO 14064 is an international standard for greenhouse gas accounting and reporting, providing guidelines and principles for quantifying and reporting GHG emissions, including those from employee commuting.

Stakeholder Engagement:

  1. Internal Stakeholders: Engaging employees in the reporting process, such as through surveys, focus groups, or sustainability committees, fosters awareness, participation, and ownership of commuting-related emissions reduction initiatives.
  2. External Stakeholders: Communicating commuting-related emissions data to external stakeholders, such as investors, customers, regulators, and community organizations, demonstrates transparency, builds trust, and supports informed decision-making.

Continuous Improvement and Goal Setting:

  1. Target Setting: Organizations may set targets and goals for reducing commuting-related emissions, such as reducing emissions per employee, increasing the use of sustainable transportation modes, or implementing telecommuting policies.
  2. Implementation of Initiatives: Reporting informs the development and implementation of initiatives and programs aimed at reducing commuting-related emissions, such as promoting public transit use, incentivizing carpooling, providing bicycle infrastructure, and supporting telecommuting arrangements.
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation: Regular monitoring and evaluation of commuting-related emissions data enable organizations to assess the effectiveness of implemented initiatives, identify areas for improvement, and adjust strategies as needed to achieve emission reduction targets.

Conclusion:

Reporting for Category 7 Employee Commuting is a vital component of sustainability and CSR reporting efforts, providing stakeholders with transparent information about an organization’s environmental impact and commitment to sustainable transportation practices. By quantifying and disclosing commuting-related emissions data, organizations can track performance, set targets, engage stakeholders, and implement initiatives to reduce emissions and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future.

Practical examples

Here are some practical examples of how organizations can address and report on Category 7 Employee Commuting:

1. Commuting Surveys:

Conducting regular commuting surveys among employees to gather data on commuting patterns, preferences, and transportation modes used. The collected information can be analyzed to identify the most common commuting modes, distances traveled, and emission hotspots.

2. Emissions Calculation Tools:

Implementing emissions calculation tools or carbon footprint calculators that allow employees to estimate the carbon emissions associated with their commute based on factors such as distance traveled, vehicle type, fuel efficiency, and public transit usage. This data can be aggregated to provide an overall picture of commuting-related emissions.

3. Telecommuting Policies:

Developing and promoting telecommuting policies that allow employees to work remotely from home or other locations, reducing the need for daily commuting and associated emissions. Organizations can track the number of telecommuting days or hours logged by employees as part of their reporting efforts.

4. Sustainable Transportation Incentives:

Offering incentives and rewards for employees who use sustainable transportation modes for their commute, such as public transit subsidies, bike purchase discounts, carpooling rewards, or flexible work hours to accommodate alternative commuting schedules.

5. Transportation Demand Management Programs:

Implementing transportation demand management (TDM) programs aimed at reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips and promoting alternative transportation modes. This can include providing shuttle services, carpool matching services, designated carpool parking spots, and installing bike racks or bicycle storage facilities.

6. Commuter Benefits Programs:

Participating in commuter benefits programs that allow employees to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible commuting expenses, such as public transit passes, vanpool expenses, and bicycle commuting costs. Organizations can track participation rates and cost savings achieved through these programs.

7. Employee Engagement and Education:

Engaging employees through education and awareness campaigns on the environmental impact of commuting and the benefits of using sustainable transportation modes. Providing resources, such as commuting guides, alternative transportation maps, and sustainability tips, can help employees make informed choices about their commute.

8. Reporting and Benchmarking:

Regularly reporting on commuting-related emissions data, including total emissions, emissions per employee, and emissions per mode of transportation, as part of the organization’s sustainability or CSR reporting efforts. Benchmarking performance against industry peers or best practices can help identify areas for improvement and set realistic emission reduction targets.

By implementing these practical examples and incorporating them into their reporting processes, organizations can effectively address Category 7 Employee Commuting and demonstrate their commitment to reducing emissions and promoting sustainable transportation practices.

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Calculating emissions from Category 7 employee commuting

Figure 7.1 offers a decision tree for selecting a calculation method for scope 3 emissions from employee commuting.

Companies may use one of the following methods:

  • Fuel-based method, which involves determining the amount of fuel consumed during commuting and applying the appropriate emission factor for that fuel
  • Distance-based method, which involves collecting data from employees on commuting patterns (e.g., distance travelled and mode used for commuting) and applying appropriate emission factors for the modes used
  • Average-data method, which involves estimating emissions from employee commuting based on average (e.g., national) data on commuting patterns

Category 7 Employee Commuting

Fuel-based method

If data is available on the quantity or amount spent on fuel by employees for commuting, companies may apply the fuel-based method. The calculation methodology for the fuel-based method is the same as the fuel-based method in category 4 (Upstream transport and distribution). For guidance on calculating emissions using this method, refer to the guidance for category 4 (Upstream transport and distribution). If the fuel-based method is used to calculate emissions from commuting on public transport, then emissions need to be allocated to the employee(s). For more information on allocation, see chapter 8 of the Scope 3 Standard.

Distance-based method

Activity data needed

Companies should collect data on the following:

  • Total distance travelled by employees over the reporting period (e.g., passenger-kilometers travelled)
  • Mode of transport used for commuting (e.g., train, subway, bus, car, bicycle)

Emission factors needed

Companies should collect:

  • Emission factors for each mode of transport (usually expressed in units of greenhouse gas (CO2 , CH4 , N2 O, or CO2 e) emitted per passenger-kilometers travelled).
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Note: For air travel emission factors, multipliers or other corrections to account for radiative forcing may be applied to the GWP of emissions arising from aircraft transport. Where used, companies should disclose the specific factor used.

Data collection guidance

Companies should collect data on employee commuting habits, for example through a survey. Companies should survey their employees annually to obtain information on average commuting habits. Types of data to collect include:

  • Distance travelled by employees per day, or location of residence and office
  • The number of days per week that employees use different vehicle types (all categories of subway, car, bus, train, bicycle, etc.)
  • Number of commuting days per week and number of weeks worked per year • If the company is multinational: employees’ region of residence/work (since transportation emission factors vary by region)
  • Whether there is a significant car-pooling scheme in operation, the proportion of employees using the scheme and the average occupancy per vehicle
  • If applicable, the amount of energy used from teleworking (e.g., kWh of gas, electricity consumed).

Collecting commuting data from all employees through a survey may not be feasible. Companies may extrapolate from a representative sample of employees to represent the total commuting patterns of all employees. For example, a company with 4,000 employees, who each have different commuting profiles, may extrapolate from a representative sample of, for example, 1,000 employees to approximate the total commuting of all employees. See Appendix A for more information on sampling.

Calculation formula [7.1] Distance-based method

CO2e emissions from employee travel =

first, sum across all employees to determine total distance travelled using each vehicle type:

total distance travelled by vehicle type (vehicle-km or passenger-km)

= ∑ (daily one-way distance between home and work (km) × 2 × number of commuting days per year)

then, sum across vehicle types to determine total emissions:

kg CO2e from employee commuting

= ∑ (total distance travelled by vehicle type (vehicle-km or passenger-km) × vehicle specific emission factor (kg CO2e/vehicle-km or kg CO2e/passenger-km))

+

(optionally) for each energy source used in teleworking:

∑ (quantities of energy consumed (kWh) × emission factor for energy source (kg CO2e/kWh))

Companies should convert daily commuting distance into annual commuting distance by multiplying the daily distance by the number of times the trip occurs during the reporting period. For example, if a company collects distance data on one-way journeys, the company should multiply the distance by the number of working days in the reporting year, and then multiply by two to account for daily return journeys.

Distance-travelled data by transport mode should be summed across all employees to obtain total annual kilometers or passenger-kilometers travelled by each mode of transport.

Companies may optionally calculate the emissions of teleworking from home. To calculate these emissions, a baseline emissions scenario should first be established. Baseline emissions occur regardless of whether or not the employee was at home (e.g., energy consumed by the refrigerator). The reporting company should only account for the additional emissions resulting from working from home, for example the electricity usage as a result of running the air conditioner to stay cool.

Example [7.1] Calculating emissions from employee travel using the distance-based method.

Company A is a small advertising services company, with three employees working 48 weeks per year. To calculate emissions from employee commuting, it creates an “employee commuting profile” for each employee. Each employee completes a questionnaire the results of which are summarized in the following table:

Category 7 Employee Commuting

the total distance travelled by rail (km) is calculated as:

∑ (daily one way distance between home and work (km) × 2 × 5 × number of commuting weeks per year)

= (10 × 2 × 5 × 48) + (10 × 2 × 4 × 48) = 8,640 km

the total distance travelled by car (km) is calculated as:

∑ (daily one way distance between home and work (km) × 2 × 5 × number of commuting weeks per year)

= (15 × 2 × 1 × 48) + (20 × 2 × 5 × 48) = 11,040 km

total emissions from employee commuting for the reporting year is calculated as:

∑ (total distance travelled by vehicle type (vehicle-km or passenger-km) × vehicle specific emission factor (kg CO2e/vehicle-km or kg CO2e/passenger-km))

= (8,640 × 0.1) + (11,040 × 0.2) = 3,072 kg CO2e

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Average-data method

If company specific data is unavailable, companies may use average secondary activity data to estimate distance travelled and mode of transport. This may include using:

  • Average daily commuting distances of typical employees
  • Average modes of transport of typical employees
  • Average number of commuting days per week and average number of weeks worked per year.

Such estimation requires making several simplifying assumptions, which add uncertainty to the emissions estimates.

Activity data needed

Companies should collect data on:

  • Number of employees
  • Average distance travelled by an average employee per day
  • Average breakdown of transport modes used by employees
  • Average number working days per year.

Emission factors needed

  • Companies should collect:
  • Emission factors for each mode of transport (usually expressed as kilograms of GHG emitted per passenger per kilometer travelled).

Data collection guidance

Company may collect average secondary data from sources such as national transportation departments, ministries or agencies, national statistics publications, and/or industry associations.

For example, the UK Office for National Statistics publishes average commuting patterns and distances (http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/Info.do?page=analysisandguidance/commutingstatistics/commuting#statistics.htm).

Calculation resources include:

Calculation formula [7.2] Average-data method

CO2e emissions from employee commuting =

sum across each transport mode:

(total number of employees × % of employees using mode of transport × one way commuting distance (vehicle-km or passenger-km) × 2 × working days per year × emission factor of transport mode (kg CO2e/vehicle-km or kg CO2e/passenger-km)

Companies should convert average daily commuting distance into annual average commuting distance by multiplying the one-way distance by two for the daily return trip and by the average number of days worked per year (i.e., excluding weekends and days spent on business travel, vacation, or working from home)).

Example [7.2] Calculating emissions from employee travel using the average data method

Company A is a manufacturer in the United Kingdom with over 10,000 employees. To determine the distance and mode of transport of employee travel, it refers to the UK Department of Transport’s information regarding average commute choices and distances of commuters. National statistics show that UK workers work on average 235 days a year. The example assumes that employees do not share rides. The results of the study are shown below:

Calculating emissions from employee travel using the average data method

CO2e emissions by mode of transport can be calculated as follows:

emissions from employee commuting = ∑ (total number of employees

× % of employees using mode of transport

× one way commuting distance (vehicle-km or passenger-km) × 2 × working days per year

× emission factor of transport mode (kg CO2e/vehicle-km or kg CO2e/passenger-km))

rail commuters:

(10,000 × 50% × 10 × 2 × 235 × 0.1) = 2,350,000 kg CO2e

car commuters:

(10,000 × 30% × 15 × 2 × 235 × 0.2) = 4,230,000 kg CO2e

foot commuters:

(10,000 × 15% × 1 × 2 × 235 × 0) = 0 kg CO2e

bus commuters:

(10,000 × 5% × 5 × 2 × 235 × 0.1) = 117,500 kg CO2e

total CO2e of employee travel can be calculated as follows:

= 2,350,000 + 4,230,000 + 0 + 117,500 = 6,697,500kg CO2e

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Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting

Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting Category 7 Employee Commuting

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