The future of the environment

Research by our academics at Birmingham Business School contributes to the development of sustainable solutions, as well as leading relationships between industry, society, the economy, and climate change. We support businesses to develop policies and practice that lessens their carbon footprint and contribution to climate change.

What’s changing?

Future changes in working patterns offer sustainable travel pathways to effectively tackle carbon emissions, such as remote working reducing travel by car and a transition to electric vehicles. Sustainable travel policy measures are practical in reducing road transport emissions from driving petrol and diesel vehicles and improving our natural environment, likewise the air we breathe.

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The future of the environment and work

In the UK, electric vehicle growth is set to accelerate, by 2030, accounting for 69% of passenger car sales and 57% of light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales’.

KPMG Mobility 2030 analysis

What can businesses do to prepare?

Tackling climate change via reducing greenhouse gas emissions will take a massive, global transition to cleaner energy technologies, such as electric vehicles, renewables like wind and solar power, and more efficient energy storage. Here’s how businesses can help:

  • Encourage use of the governments' salary sacrifice agreement scheme between employers and employees, e.g. in the UK
  • Ensure there is an adequate number of charging stations for electric vehicles
  • Support flexible working practices to decrease the number of cars on the road at peak times
  • Encourage business practice that doesn’t negatively impact on the environment or local communities
  • Reduce water consumption for business and make use of renewable energy
  • Embed a sustainability strategy for everyday business operations
  • Appoint a sustainability lead (or team)
  • Take up electric vehicles across their fleets, setting the new 'green standard' for business motoring via the Go Ultra Low Company initiative

Transition to Electric Vehicles: Stimulating Local Authorities to address charging infrastructure challenges

An efficient and sustainable charging infrastructure network across the UK is vital and yet there are currently significant challenges. Research from the University of Birmingham has explored electric vehicle infrastructure network challenges and best practices to improve Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle uptake.

Read the report

Why should businesses support change?

Reducing carbon emission benefits businesses, employees, and communities by improving the air we breathe and carbon footprints. Taking measures, such as increasing the uptake of electric vehicles, can positively impact businesses measures accounting for carbon emissions and improve outputs for communities.

A move to flexible or remote working is not only helpful for achieving a work-life balance, it also means companies can harness the advantages in net-zero emissions, and communities benefit from lower levels of air pollution. For those unable to work remotely or from home, encouraging uptake of electric vehicles via government schemes will ensure all employees have the opportunity to support improving the environment.

Why the government is morally obliged to help low-income people buy electric vehicles

Dr Nana Osei Bonsu

Read the article

However, with more home-working, the number of internet users will increase too. Every action taken on the internet has a carbon footprint, with even a typical email having a carbon footprint of about 4g of CO2 emissions, while one with a large attachment might be responsible for ten times that.

Overall, supporting the environment will always have positive outcomes, improving quality of life for current generations and those in the future. Future workforces are set to be more environmentally-conscious, and businesses should adapt to these cultural changes to continue attracting future employees.

Why lockdown life has sent our digital carbon footprint spiralling

Dr Caroline Moraes, Dr Solon Magrizos & Dr Grigorios Lamprinakos

Read the article