Italy has recently approved measures aimed at reducing the environmental impact of workers to and from work. Other European Union countries may also decide to take steps in the same direction, so it could be the start of a new trend in the future of sustainable work-related mobility.
The adoption of the “European Green Deal” has led to the approval of regulations by the various Member States aimed at reducing emissions in their territory. The drivers behind this trend include Italy, which, by adopting Royal Decree Law No. 34/2020 and Decrees No. 179 of May 12, 2021 and No. 209 of August 4, 2021 has established the obligation for businesses to implement a plan aimed at reducing the environmental impact of employees on their way to and from work. This measure has been praised on numerous occasions and has become popular in the EU, so it is possible that other Member States, including Spain, may follow suit in the future. However, what does this measure actually consist of?
The Italians have gone for a progressive implementation, establishing obligations that businesses need to meet little by little, as the designated deadline draws near. They have also chosen a variable application, whereby businesses are subject to different standards according to their organic composition and location. The star measure, with which workplaces with over 100 employees situated in municipalities of more than 50,000 inhabitants must comply, includes the designation of a mobility manager and the implementation of a home-work travel plan.
Mobility managers have been given duties related to designing, implementing and supervising the mobility plan. In particular, mobility managers are in charge of preparing the plan and ensuring that all the other employees in the company get involved. These managers must also supervise said implementation and assess how employees respond. Finally, they are also responsible for identifying critical points, such as possible improvements with respect to the original version of the plan.
The plan must also have a dual dimension, operation and training, and should be aimed at reducing the use of individual transport by employees, encouraging them to prioritize the use of sustainable forms of mobility.
Said regulation, carrying on the international tradition of environmental treaties, does not lay down sanctions or establish strong-arm tactics. However, at this delicate time in society’s relationship with the environment, a breach of these measures by businesses could have a severe adverse impact on their image and reputation.
In short, over the last few years we have been witnessing a change of paradigm when it comes to corporate responsibility for environmental matters, and this new measure, adopted in the area of labor law, is a new symptom. In times to come we will see whether the role of mobility manager takes off and if this trend, which could change the future of work-related travel, takes hold.