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As a young and innovative SaaS business, many of employees falling into the millennial category. We take sustainability seriously as a business and are currently developing our approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG), aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. But we're still trialling and testing options to be more sustainable. The latest is the ‘Great sustainable travel test: Oslo to Stockholm’.
Like Amazon Prime’s ‘The Grand Tour’, but with less Clarkson, our Founder and CEO, Erling Linde and Astrid Stensrud our COO, both needed to travel from Oslo toStockholm for important face to face meetings, but one took to the air and the other took to the rails to develop a comparison in terms of cost, time, quality of journey and carbon spent.
Erling took to the air. His airfare was €150, but he also had to pay €50 for 24hrs parking at the Oslo Gardermoen Airport and €40 for the Arlanda Express from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Stockholm Central Station, where he was able to walk to the CV Partner office. Astrid took the train. She was able to get her local metro service to Oslo CentralStation at a cost of €10, to catch her train direct to Stockholm CentralStation, which cost her €110, where she also then walked to the office.
Rail wins the cost test by a significant €120.
Astrid’s rail journey from home to office took 5.5hrs with no delays during the entire journey. While Erling’s journey had a few issues. It was difficult to find parking, which added 15 minutes to the journey and the flight was delayed by1hr. While the flight was only 1hr, with security, the wait in departures and boarding, the journey took 4hrs.
Air wins the time test by 1.5hrs.
Quality of Journey
As outlined above, Erling’s journey had a few issues. Because of the many different stages of his journey, he didn’t get a chance to work for any significant period of time. He was frustrated by the delay and had to call our customer to delay their meeting. However, the facilities at both airports was good with toilets, plug points, tables, wifi and many restaurants and shops.
In comparison, Astrid’s time on the train was well spent. She pre-booked a seat with a table, plug point and wifi (although she experienced some dropping out of the wifi on the journey). Also, toilet facilities, food and drink were available in the next carriage. Most importantly because of the long period on the train, Astrid was able to work throughout. While she couldn’t take calls or meetings (neither could Erling) otherwise it was like a day at the office, although she did note that as it was a warm day, the carriage was also very warm, but cooled off after they set off.
Rail wins the quality of journey by a significant margin.
A reasonable estimation missions for Erling’s 1hr flight is 139.5kg (including travel to and from the airport). By comparison the estimated emissions for the whole train journey is 7.6kg, a staggering ~95% less. (ecopassenger.org)
Rail wins again by a significant margin.
Considering the information above, during this journey, it was a clear win for rail. Erling took the flight option because of important and time sensitive face to face meetings which meant that flying should have given him more time, but the delays during this journey prevented this. On another day the flights might run to time and train may have been delayed. But any delays, after boarding, can be used more productively than during delayed flights because of the many different stages of the journey (security, finding the gate, boarding, etc).
However, the obvious question is why travel at all? The Covid pandemic has taught us that practically all meetings could betaken virtually from home (when we were locked down). Although, it can be argued that forming relationships, undertaking workshops, or engaging in negotiations face to face will always be more productive than in a virtual meeting.
For developing approach to ESG, CV Partner feels it’s important we consider i) what is most cost and ii) time effective, iii)the quality of the journey, and iv) carbon will we emit, to make a reasoned decision. We still need all options open to us to operate our business, but we should start with the option of no travel, then train (or other public transport), road and finally air travel.
In support of this, CV partner has provided €2.5k sponsorship to the development of a new high-speed train between Oslo andStockholm in less than 3hrs, which would then mean that rail would win on time and all other aspects of our test. For more information, please see www.oslo-sthlm.no