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Slashing commute time could save 214 million tons of CO2 by 2030

An increase in flexible working will reduce levels of carbon dioxide by 214 million tonnes per year by 2030, according to a new study by Regus, the leading global workspace provider.

The economic study, carried out by independent researchers, found that if the growth in flexible workspace continues to increase, people around the world would save over 3.53 billion hours commuting every year by 2030. The amount of carbon dioxide saved by this reduction is equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by 5.5 billion trees over ten years.

The United Kingdom is set to save 7.8 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030, based on commuters saving 115 million hours from a turn to flexible working. Meanwhile, the nation which would see the largest annual carbon emission saving by 2030 is the United States. It is predicted to save nearly 960 million hours in commuting time, and with US commuters relying heavily on cars, this time saved translates to over 100 million tonnes of CO2.

According to knoema, the CO2 emissions per capita for UAE was 23.6 metric tonnes in 2016. CO2 emissions per capita of UAE fell gradually from 31.07 metric tonnes in 1997 to 23.6 metric tons in 2016. As per the UAE National strategy 2021, the country is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 15% by 2021.

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The Regus economic study estimated the growth of flexible workspace between now and 2030. The study looked at 16 countries around the world and predicted that a rise in flexible working in these countries would contribute over $10 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Christos Misailidis, CEO of Asia Pacific and Middle East at IWG, the parent company of Regus says, “Simply changing the dominant culture of commuting to a central office for work could contribute towards climate change goals – according to the UN Environment Program, the world needs to slash its annual greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 12 billion-14 billion metric tons by 2030 to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. By allowing workers to set up at a location closer to home, and cut down on commuting, millions of tonnes of carbon could be saved each year. With an environment in crisis, offering flexible working isn’t just a business or personal imperative, but one that also benefits the planet.”

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The Regus study analyzed the socio-economic impact of flexible working in 16 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. The study found that:

-Flexible working will contribute $10.04 trillion to the economies of the 16 countries by 2030 – more than the current GDP of Japan and Germany combined.

. By 2030, the US could see an economic boost of as much as $4.5 trillion annually from flexible working – more than 20% of its current GDP and more than the entire current GDP of Germany.

. The proportion of people working flexibly in China will remain relatively small, but it will see the greatest associated gain in economic output – as much as 193% in 2030 compared to 2017. This could equate to a huge overall boost of $1.4 trillion.

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-Flexible working could save more than 3.5 billion hours of commuting time across the 16 economies by 2030.

. If more people in the US work flexibly, almost 960 million hours could be saved. That is the equivalent of nearly an entire extra day of holiday for each working person in the US.

. China sees the greatest potential gain in time saved, with as much as 1.4 billion commuting hours claimed back via flexible working.

-The commuting hours and carbon saving have been calculated using a scenario of ‘accelerated growth’ in flexible working uptake. There was also a ‘growth as usual’ scenario, which does not appear in this alert.