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Remote working could help with firms’ carbon reduction efforts

Image credit: Dreamstime

Businesses in London believe a continuation of some form of remote working will play a key role in their carbon reduction efforts, according to new research.

Almost four out of five of 1,000 firms surveyed in the capital said they are currently taking action to reduce their environmental impact. Remote working is one of the most common ways firms plan to cut the impact of their business on the environment.

The study by the London Chamber of Commerce also found that more than four out five London business leaders are less confident about the economy than they were a year ago.

Two out of five said they expect to recruit staff over the next year, while almost half believe they will have more than two-fifths of their staff still regularly working remotely in 12 months’ time. Only 8 per cent of London businesses employ apprentices, according to the survey.

London Chamber of Commerce chief executive Richard Burge said: “It’s pleasing to see the appetite for the recovery to be an environmentally sustainable one. The large majority of firms have carbon reduction plans under way and it’s interesting to see how many employers believe that a continuation of some form of remote working each week will play a key part in their carbon reduction efforts.

“The likes of flexible rail season tickets could help to support that and a footfall recovery in London’s many high streets. It’s clear that London will come out of this pandemic with a different economy and ways of working than when it went into it.”

Separate research conducted recently by a consulting firm indicated that the number of remote working roles advertised within the UK has trebled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect everyday operations in the world in unexpected ways. Earlier this month, Royal Mail listed 28 areas of the UK that will not receive post on time due to a combination of staff sickness, the need for extra precautions to protect from the virus, and higher than usual volumes of post.

Despite the global reduction in commuting traffic, as millions of people switched from offices to working from home, it has transpired that urban air pollution levels reduced by less than was initially expected.

On an holistic level, the climate pledges of whole nations have been negatively affected by the pandemic, with the majority of countries unable to stick to their pledges as laid out in the Paris Agreement, with the pandemic labelled a “huge disruption” to the ongoing efforts.

One small glimmer of positivity in the throes of lockdown has been the revelation that with a reduction in noise pollution, due to significantly lower traffic volumes, watching birds and listening to birdsong has helped people cope with the stresses of lockdowns.

According to the RSPB – whose annual 'Big Garden Birdwatch' culminates this weekend – more than half (51 per cent) of the 2,071 adults interviewed said the coronavirus pandemic had made them more aware of the nature around them, with two-fifths (41 per cent) saying they had spotted wildlife in their local area they had not noticed before.

The survey, conducted by YouGov for the RSPB, revealed that nearly two-thirds of those polled (63 per cent) felt watching birds and hearing birdsong had added to their enjoyment of life, especially in the last 12 months.

Over a third of those polled (36 per cent) said they had learned something new about the wildlife in their local area since the pandemic began, with more than half (53 per cent) beginning to feed garden birds in the last 12 months.

The RSPB's annual survey of garden birds has been running for 42 years. This year, the charity is encouraging people to take part to help “lift spirits” in the latest lockdown.

Beccy Speight, chief executive, RSPB, said: “Lockdowns have brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people.

“Nature is soul food to us humans. The results of this survey indicate we may emerge from this pandemic a new generation of nature lovers."

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