Developing Public Policy to Promote Sustainable Telework Peter Arnfalk, Lund University International Workshop on Telework – Lillehammer August 29 - 31, 2007
National Strategy for ICT and Sustainable Development • September 2006 • IT Policy Strategy Group – advisory group to the Ministry for Industry and Trade • Telework policy recommendations
Topics for discussion • Can telework be justified as a means for environmental improvements? • The long policy journey towards a telework strategy • The challenge of bridging the gap between research and policy making
Why Telework to Support Sustainable Development? • Potential: less need for passenger transport & office space reduced environmental impact • Positive ”Triple-Bottom-Line” effect • Environmental, Economic, Social Impacts • Good Mobility Management options needed • Low public cost initiative • Greatest impact during peak traffic hours
Traditional Telework and Impact on Travel Telework transport Impact - Positive on balance through avoidance of congested periods and less travel - but reductions in commuting travel were partially offset by additional journeys. Source: SUSTEL project (2004)
Travel Implications - why so different outcomes? • Crucial variables that differ: • How is telework defined? • How is the transport impact measured? • 2nd or 3rd order effects (indirect or system level) • Micro or macro level impacts • What country? • Long vs short distance? • One organization or many? • Private or public workplaces? • Longitudinal ? Who’s paying?
Environmental Indicators • Life-cycle impact or ecological rucksack • Transport, infrastucture, equipment, housing, office space, life style (food, clothes, leisure travel etc) • Studies showing TWs environmental profile could lead to a slightly higher energy consumption, CO2 emissions as compared to non-TWs. • The overall result (energy, CO2), so much depending on arrangements • Days per month, single/double equipment, flexible office arrangements, etc. Promote more sustainable TW arrangements
Official reports identifying the transport potential of TW • IT-kommissionen (1996). IT och miljön - en samling goda exempel. • Swedish EPA (1998). IT: plus eller minus för miljön. • EPA (1999). IT-tillämpningar med en positiv miljöpotential. Megabyte - IT för en bättre miljö?
Distansarbetesutredningen SOU 1998:115 • Ministry of Employment • 395 pages, emphasis on labour legislation • Transport: net reducing impact of TW on pass. Transport • Suggestions: • state agencies should facilitate TW • Study impacts of TW, gain more knowledge • Remove legal obstacles (vacation) • Provide information about TW to organisations • Two laws altered
IT & Environment Forum • Environmental Ministry 2002 – 2004 • Workshops in Rosenbad 2003 • Suggesting soft measures for TW: • Assessment of current economic policy framework • Assessing initiatives already conducted in state agencies • More telework research • Routines for reporting telework impacts • Environmental adaptation of Telework through dialogue & cooperation • Dissemination of Information
Government bill 2004-05:175 • Government’s own IT-policy proposal • Proposed action: • Conduct an investigation mapping the development of TW in state agencies, with an emphasis on environmental implications. • Suggestions of routines and indicators for further follow-ups.
National Strategy for ICT and Sustainable Development • 2005 - 2006 • IT Policy Strategy Group – advisory group to the Ministry for Industry and Trade • Multi - stakeholder working group on ICT & Sustainable Development • Workshop in Rosenbad June 2006
National Strategy for ICT and Sustainable Development – cont. • Three focus areas: • Transport and travel, • Housing and buildings and • The life cycle impact of ICT equipment • TW recommendations: • State act as forerunner • Establish a TW policy 2007 • Spill-over to the private sphere
The national strategy’s Summary Report • ” … [the focus on] travel and mobility must shift towards accessibility … hence, we recommend the Government to… implement Telework (or Flexible Workforms) and virtual meetings in the Government Offices and State Agencies.
And the outcome of it all…? • Major labour policy obstacles have been removed • No support for transport, energy and/or CO2 saving effects • Limited implementation of the suggested TW-related measures given in the form of information service, suggested by the • Forum IT & Miljö, and (2004) • the IT Policy Strategy Group (2006)
Why not policy intervention ? • Complex, uncertain impact • Business integrity • Fear of negative social impacts: isolation, overwork, less visible • Soft, indirect measure • Reducing transport - conflicting interests
Bridging the Gap • The challenge of bridging the gap between reserach & policy making • Difference in rationales, reference framework • Certainty • Complexity
Make employers increasingly take on the environmental and economic responsibility for the traveling they do while commuting Promote the establishment of policies and agreements for efficient telework; first in public bodies, then support a spill-over effect to the private businesses Encourage employers to set up telework arrangements in ways that enable and encourage teleworking so as to reduce commuting and the use of office space; do not duplicate equipment; encourage resource efficient management of working documents. Facilitate ICT based mobile telework in trains and long-distance public transport Promote development of affordable and reliable broadband access; Reduce or removing subsidies for commute travel by car. Suggested measures for eco-efficient design of telework
Questions, comments, ideas? Then contact me: email@example.com + 46 46 2220245 or + 46 705 222133 (mobile) Skype: Arnfalk