Corporate sustainability goals have been adopted by virtually all organizations and the imperative to change has made its way firmly onto mobility’s agenda. Given the rapid development of these new requirements, the mobility industry has had to react quickly to adapt -- and often without any clear norms or guidelines to follow. 

However, three pillars of good practice are emerging:

  • Adapt mobility policies to offer sustainable support
  • Offer employees information or choices that encourage sustainable practices
  • Encourage vendors/partners to offer sustainable options and adopt sustainable practices

The sustainability agenda is coming at a good time for mobility. Shifts in mobility patterns and the offering of more creative solutions is making a pivot to more sustainable practices easier. Flights and shipments are the two biggest carbon-intensive aspects of an assignment: alternatives to these are becoming more pragmatic.

Long-term assignments (LTAs) have gotten shorter. Once lasting up to five years in length, LTAs now average two, maybe three years. Previously, it was assumed that an employee would sell their house and ship the entire contents to the host location. But now we can turn our assumptions upside down and radically redesign our programs. Do we really need to relocate an entire household for an LTA? Consider pivoting to a furnished housing assumption or eliminating shipping in favor of providing a furnished flat or furniture rental.
Similarly, do we still need a week-long look-see trip in well-developed locations? An international assignment or transfer is not as “foreign” as it once was. Defaulting to a virtual look see trip can eliminate extra flights from the program and speed up the deployment of talent.

And it is not just LTAs where sustainability can be introduced. Domestic and international transfer programs can benefit from discard and donate programs, thereby reducing shipment size. Credits for transfers or assignments can also be introduced to incentivize employees to select more sustainable options. 
These are just some examples of sustainable changes that can be made. Get creative and consider how you might change your program to reduce your carbon footprint. 

My colleague, Mike Wincott, shared his thoughts on this same topic in his paper, Revolutionize Your Mobility Program


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