Eco-Friendly Businesses in Cities: Is It Possible?

If you’ve ever been stuck in rush hour traffic, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the number of vehicles on UK roads are contributing to dangerously high levels of pollution in the air. PM Teresa May acknowledged the health issues associated with air pollution and described it as the fourth biggest public health risk, after obesity, cancer and heart disease.
With the problem particularly prevalent in cities due to congestion, construction and built up areas allowing pollutants into the atmosphere, we wondered how much this had to do with the number of businesses located in city centres. Do their fleets of company cars and employees travelling to work by car contribute to the poor air quality?

Air Pollution in Cities

Recent studies using World Health Organisation and regional Public Health data revealed that Leeds was the worst regional hotspot for air pollution, costing the city’s local health economy a staggering $480m! So, why is Leeds singled out as the worst performer when it comes to poor air quality?
Well, it might be something to do with its status as the UK’s fastest growing city. Leeds has a workforce of 1.37 million and it is home to over 38,000 businesses and SMEs, which is significantly above the national average.
The link between air pollution and businesses has been long-established – London became known as the ‘Big Smoke’ following the pollution caused by the Industrial Revolution in the late nineteenth century. Now, it’s the exhaust fumes from vehicles and trucks tainting the air. That’s perhaps why the construction industry has taken some of the blame, with its large fleets of diggers and excavators.
But we mustn’t forget about the hordes of commuters and business travellers who travel in and out of cities each day, causing emissions. So, what can be done?

How Can Businesses Address Air Quality?

Local governments around the UK have introduced schemes to help businesses ensure cleaner air. For example, the Clean Air Leeds campaign encourages businesses to pledge their support to better air quality in the city.
Two of the main areas businesses can target to reduce their emissions include transport choices from employees and emissions associated with deliveries.
Here are a few tips for businesses who want to reduce their impact on the environment:
  • Provide incentives for employees who walk or cycle into work
  • Reduce supply chain deliveries to the office to improve vehicle emissions
  • Make sure your business fleet is as environmentally-friendly and low-emission as possible. You can receive advice from experts like Cap HPI to get data on your vehicle efficiency and emissions and general spec check
  • Implement a ‘no engine idling’ policy

With businesses and air pollution connected, you may want to follow our top tips to reduce your emissions and pledge your support to the fight for clean air. Primarily, you may want to consider the impact that transport has on the environment and how your business can help tackle this. Your employees driving to work, your business fleet causing emissions and your use of delivery vehicles – it all adds up, so this should be the first area you look at when promoting better air quality.

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