How the Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge is changing commuting in Scotland

By Jacalyn Laird,
Cyclists at pelican crossing in Edinburgh

©2017, Tony Marsh all rights reserved

Scottish workplace challenge infographic

This year has been the biggest yet for the Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge, with nearly 4,000 people from 300 organisations participating in the challenge.

Together they logged over 55,000 journeys, saving over £62,000 and nearly 60,000kg in CO2 emissions by choosing to travel actively and sustainably for their journeys to, from and for work.

By encouraging people to make small changes to the way they get to work, we hope it will inspire them to make sustainable, long-term changes to the way they travel.

-  Kirsty Rankin, Sustrans Scotland Workplaces Coordinator

Now in its third year, the Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge encourages people to choose more sustainable modes of transport for their commute and business journeys. Workplaces across Scotland compete to clock up the most walking, cycling, public transport and lift-sharing journeys. This year even saw the challenge’s first journeys by kayak!

The challenge is participation-based, meaning the more staff at a workplace logging sustainable journeys, the higher up the leaderboard their organisation moves. This provides a fun incentive for people to leave the car at home and try a different way of travelling for their everyday journeys.

Kirsty Rankin, Sustrans Scotland Workplaces Coordinator, said:

“We know that people who travel actively to work are fitter, healthier, happier and less likely to take sick days. By encouraging people to make small changes to the way they get to work, we hope it will inspire them to make sustainable, long-term changes to the way they travel.”

As well as benefits to the environment, wallet and waistline (over 7 million calories were burned this year – the equivalent of 28,333 doughnuts!), more than £2,000 worth of prizes have been handed out to participants throughout the challenge.

The winning workplaces each received a £100 donation to a charity of their choice, with runners-up receiving a £50 donation. One winning workplace was the Law Society of Scotland, who have chosen to donate to Ovarian Cancer Action.

Lorna Jack, CEO of the Law Society of Scotland said:

“We are all over the moon that we won in our category, it was tremendous that 45% of our colleagues got involved and took part in the challenge. It’s amazing when you see that we logged almost 19,000 miles between us, that’s quite some feat!

“As an organisation we have a number of initiatives to encourage our colleagues to travel more sustainably, and the journey challenge was a great way to get a bit competitive with each other!

“Sustrans Scotland are to be commended for encouraging us all to get more active and to think about how we commute into the office each day. We are delighted to have won £100 which is being donated to our charity partner of the year, Ovarian Cancer Action, for whom we are raising money in memory of our much loved and missed colleague and friend Jeune Robertson. I know she would have loved to have been a part of this.”

Want to take part next year? The Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge will be back in 2019

Are you interested in running a bespoke journey challenge for your organisation, get in touch! 

More blog posts by Jacalyn Laird