Climate Perks isn’t complicated. Still, here’s everything we can think of you might have to ask!
How does Climate Perks work in practice?
+ What’s the minimum number of journey days a Climate Perks employer has to offer?
Climate Perks requires a minimum of two paid journey days for each full time employee each year - enough to enable a single trip. Beyond that, you are free to decide a maximum number.
+ How do you calculate how many journey days an employee is entitled to for a given journey?
Employers can choose different approaches for matching additional journey time to journey days granted, and of course the maximum number of journey days offered.
We suggest that the offer of paid journey days is kept as simple as possible.
Eligible trips would include any rail, coach or sea journeys to continental European destinations (or further...), except for those journeys where no significant, if any, additional time is needed for land or sea travel (i.e. travel from London to direct Eurostar destinations).
Within the British Isles, trips between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, Ireland and British islands (e.g. the Isle of Man, Scilly Isles, Shetland islands, Channel Islands) would also be eligible.
Employers can choose the maximum number of annual journey days to offer, as well as how many can be used for a single trip.
+ How do we work out the increase in journey time?
Employees applying for paid journey days would be expected to demonstrate that their chosen journey meets the basic Climate Perks criteria - and, where any uncertainty arises, that travelling by land or sea takes substantially longer than flying. This can be done simply by using train, coach and flight booking websites to compare journey times.
+ Are part time staff entitled to the same allowance?
Whether or not to extend this scheme to part time employees, or some part time employees, will be a matter for individual employers to decide. It may be that journey days could be offered pro rata, or that an employee needs to work a number of days per week to be entitled to use the scheme.
+ Does the Climate Perks scheme only cover travel to certain destinations? What other exclusions are there?
Ultimately it is for employers to set limitations at their discretion. We suggest keeping Climate Perks as simple as possible, which means excluding trips within mainland Great Britain and those rail trips to continental Europe that are comparative - or faster - than flying there (in practice, direct Eurostar destinations if travelling from London).
Overland or sea journeys that are still relatively high-carbon - such as single-passenger car or van journeys - are excluded, as are holidays that are journeys - such as cruises or long distance cycle rides.
Employers can set an upper limit on annual journey day allowances (above the required floor of two days), and can decide how many days can be used for a single trip (where more than two are offered). Therefore, though there is no specific exclusion of certain destinations, different approaches will set de facto geographical limits on feasible journeys staff could take.
+ What reporting would we be expected do as a Climate Perks employer?
We want Climate Perks to be as simple and low cost as possible for employers to implement, while being able to demonstrate the impact of the scheme in individual organisations and across the whole programme.
As a Climate Perks employer, we will ask you for an annual breakdown of:
- How many employees used the scheme.
- How many journey days were used.
With further optional reporting including:
- Which destinations were travelled to.
- Which modes of transport were substituted for plane travel.
- Demographic characteristics of employees using the scheme.
Using information you provide, Climate Perks will generate organisation-specific reports to demonstrate use and impact of the scheme, as well as reporting on overall impact.
+ Where can staff book low carbon travel?
There are a host of websites and organisations ready to help staff plan and book journeys by land or sea.
- Seat61.com - comprehensive rail travel guide, primarily focused on Europe but with advice on destinations further afield as well
- Loco2.co.uk - easy pan-European rail ticketing website
- Ecopassenger.org - enables comparative estimations of journey length and environmental impact of different travel modes across Europe.
- Rome2Rio.com enables comparison and booking of different travel options.
Is Climate Perks right for my organisation?
+ What benefits are there for Climate Perks employers?
Read about this in more detail on our Why it works page.
+ We already pride ourselves on offering generous employee benefits. Why should we add Climate Perks?
Climate Perks offers an excellent benefit to staff, as well as new and unique opportunities for employers.
Few existing workplace benefits schemes enable employees to make meaningful changes in their own lives to respond to climate change. Reducing flying is one of the most powerful actions employers can help many of their employees to take.
With public climate concern reaching its highest point for a decade - particularly amongst graduates and younger staff - Climate Perks is an opportunity for employers to signal that their values match those of their staff, while enabling them to make a real difference. Our research found that 50% of 18-44 year olds would prefer to work for a organisation that helped them to make clean holiday travel choices.
Corporate sustainability is traditionally restricted to managing the carbon footprint of commercial operations. This scheme recognises the significant power employers have to encourage their staff to make low-carbon choices outside of work via staff policies. By being part of a wider movement of Climate Perks founder members employers will build momentum behind a new initiative responding to a key carbon challenge, and in turn help spark wider social change. Perks founder members can rightly claim to be leaders in the expansion of the positive role employers can play in tackling climate change.
+ We do important work - won’t this lower our productivity?
Climate Perks aims to increase staff satisfaction and morale by enabling them to make choices in line with their values - in exchange for a couple of extra days out of the office each year. Of course, both job satisfaction and morale are important factors in overall productivity!
+ My staff aren’t asking for this - why should we consider it?
Climate Perks is an opportunity for employers to get ahead of the curve. As climate concern continues to consolidate, particularly amongst younger demographics, greater demand for action and scrutiny of high-carbon activities and sectors should be expected to increase. The recent movement of plant-based diets into the mainstream is an excellent example of how debates once off the table can rapidly move to the fore of mainstream public debate.
Our research found that despite many people not being fully aware of the environmental impact of aviation already 50% of respondents aged 18-44 would prefer to work for an organisation that helped them make low-carbon travel choices. It is reasonable to expect this to increase in line with growing climate consciousness, and as new graduate intakes join the workforce. Climate Perks allows employers to show they are meeting significant existing demand while thinking ahead to - and helping seed - the next big shifts in environmental behaviour change.
+ Are there other organisations already doing this?
Yes! There are several examples of it working both in the UK and abroad. Please see our Case studies page for more information and insight.
+ How will I know that employees are not taking advantage of the scheme?
It is up to each Climate Perks employer to decide the most appropriate way to ensure paid journey days are not being abused. As, for example, with paid volunteering leave requests, employees will need to show what they are requesting paid journey days for, and how their request meets the basic requirements of the scheme. Employers may want to see evidence of booked train, coach or boat tickets to officially grant paid journey time, or instead rely on a less formal system.
+ Doesn’t Climate Perks mean some employees will be able to access more annual leave than others - and isn’t this unfair?
Because Climate Perks employers offer a limited number of paid journey days - not additional annual leave days - all employees are entitled to the same amount of annual leave, however they travel.
Paid journey days can only be used to enable longer, lower carbon, trips by land or sea. The scheme recognises that it is more time consuming, and often more arduous, to travel over land or sea, and so it offers journey days in exchange. Climate Perks is designed to enable low-carbon travel choices for as many people as possible, rather than act as a reward for certain staff.
Due to the different lifestyles, responsibilities and locations of staff members, it will be easier for some to make use of Climate Perks journey days than others. Staff that are less able to use journey days will have no less access to paid leisure time: they can spend the same amount of time on annual leave, but with less travel time required.
Employers often offer a range of employee perks - from gym memberships to childcare vouchers - that are not applicable or attractive to every employee, with employees choosing benefits that suit them best. Climate Perks is a novel and timely addition to this offer for participating employers.
+ Doesn't this scheme give employees additional leave to simply travel more?
No. Paid journey days are not the same as annual leave days because they can only be used to travel, not for leisure time.
Whether an employee has flown to a destination or taken advantage of Climate Perks to travel over land or sea, they will have exactly the same number of annual leave days remaining after their holiday.
+ Does this mean we have to change our whole annual leave policy?
No. Climate Perks journey days are granted in exchange for choosing longer, lower-carbon travel options. They are not equivalent to annual leave allowances and should be considered separately. It is up to employers to decide how they wish to integrate a Climate Perks policy into their existing workplace policies, and whether annual leave policies are best suited to this.
+ How long is the Climate Perks pilot scheme?
The pilot will last two years. Organisations opting to join the pilot as founder members will be asked to commit for the whole duration in order to help us test, iterate and improve it - for both employees and employer - but will of course be free to leave at any time. We will use the pilot to build a secure foundation for scaling and replicating Climate Perks after it has ended.
+ Are there costs involved for my organisation to join Climate Perks?
There is no fee for organisations to join the Climate Perks pilot.
Climate Perks has been designed to offer a valuable, tailored and forward thinking benefit to employees at a low or neutral cost to employers.
Though employees using Climate Perks will spend slightly fewer days at work each year, this does not require any additional financial outlay.
Like any new employee programme, there will be some set up and administration work. We have designed Climate Perks to be as simple, and adaptable, as possible to run, and will only ask for basic reporting on its use on an annual basis.
Once set up, we would expect administration requirements to be comparable to a volunteering scheme where staff are obliged to provide certain information before being cleared to spend paid time out of the office.
Please see our Case studies page for examples of organisations already operating paid journey day schemes.
As part of our pilot, we will engage founder members on what an appropriate accreditation and support fee could be in future in order to build a sustainable financial model for growth after the pilot.
Any other questions?
+ Is flying really that bad?
When it comes to taking personal action to cut carbon there is no single thing you - as someone who travels - can do that’s more effective than cutting down on flying. For example, avoiding a return transatlantic flight saves more carbon than the average Briton choosing to live car-free for an entire year.
An enormous amount of energy is needed to battle gravity, stay in the sky and whizz along at 500 miles an hour. This means that other modes of travel like the train or coach have a much lighter footprint. For example, it would take eight return trips from London to Berlin on the train to clock up the carbon associated with just one return flight to the German capital. Worse still, because emissions from planes are released high in the atmosphere, they do more damage than carbon released from ground level.
At a global level, aviation is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions - and this goes for the EU too. Astonishingly, on current trends aviation will account for a quarter of the UK’s entire carbon emissions by 2050. Ultimately, those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are most likely to be those who have never - or very rarely - flown.
And here’s the clincher, while we can swap solar panels for power stations and electric vehicles for dirty diesels, there’s just no such thing as a fossil-fuel free aeroplane. And there isn’t going to be for the foreseeable future.
That’s why it’s so important we develop innovative ways to bring our travel choices down to earth.
+ One organisation isn’t going to make a difference - so what’s the point?
The more people choosing grounded travel, the quicker we’ll reach the low carbon destination we all want.
Research shows that if our peers have reduced flying for environmental reasons, we are more likely to make the same change ourselves. We’re also more willing to support action by government to fairly manage overall demand for flying, in line with climate science.
Climate Perks has been designed to begin a cultural conversation around high-carbon travel, and inspire wider, and much needed, behaviour change. In turn, that has the exciting potential to unlock positive change at a national (or even international) scale.
+ We already give employees relatively generous holiday allowance, meaning they could already take the train if they chose. Why would this make any difference?
While land and sea routes are usually available for European trips, there is a tension between using limited leave for travel time versus actual leisure time. Our research shows that amongst employees additional time to travel was the most popular policy to encourage clean travel.
Because they are only available for travel time, paid journey days granted under Climate Perks are not equivalent to additional days of annual leave. This means there’s no trade off between an extra day on the beach and taking the low-carbon option, making it much more likely staff will clean travel options.
+ Does joining the scheme have any implications for our flights taken by staff for business reasons?
In order to become a Climate Perks employer, employers simply need to offer paid journey days to staff, as well as satisfying the other basic criteria.
However, clearly there is a thematic link between the signals sent to staff about leisure flying and any policy on business flights. We would encourage all Climate Perks employers to ensure that they have a business flights policy, and that they seek to reduce to a minimum any flights staff would be expected or allowed to take for work.
The power of Climate Perks to encourage positive behaviour change - and therefore wider positive social change - will be increased where all workplace flying policies are aligned.
+ I’m interested - what does my organisation need to do to become a Climate Perks employer?
Head to our For employers page for details on what is needed to become a Climate Perks employer.
Then register your interest - whether staff member or part of a management team - to get the ball rolling with us.
+ What’s wrong with just offsetting flights?
Unfortunately, ‘offsetting’ is not a solution to climate change. Offsetting involves paying for an action or service elsewhere that, in theory, removes the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere as is released from an activity, such as a flight.
There are many practical issues involved that make it very hard to say whether carbon has truly been removed from the atmosphere - and in what timeframe - as a result of the offsetting payment.
Most importantly, however, global carbon emissions need to start falling rapidly to avoid climate breakdown. Offsetting, by definition, does not reduce emissions. To reduce emissions we need both technological and behavioural change. But offsetting works against behavioural change by allowing existing, high carbon, behaviours to prevail - along with the industries that enable them.
+ Who runs Climate Perks?
Climate Perks is run by climate change charity 10:10 Climate Action.
We’re on a mission to speed up action on climate change. Our work cuts carbon, but because we work on a cultural level as well as technical ones, we build projects infectious projects which get people talking.
It is always more than just a solar panel here, or an LED there - it’s groups of people working with tech to change the world.
Whether it’s our world-leading Solar Schools campaign, developing solar powered railways, fighting the ban on onshore wind, tree planting or urban heat pumps, everything we do is about inspiring more people to take more action on climate change.
Our charity number is 1157 363 and you can find out more about our work here.