More Dutch businesses offering greener employment conditions
More businesses in the Netherlands are looking at making their employment conditions reward sustainability. They offer things like an extra vacation day to people who go on holiday by train instead of taking a plane or higher travel compensation for people who commute by bike instead of a car, NOS reports based on a survey by employers’ organization AWVN.
The AWVN stressed that the survey isn’t representative - only half of its members responded, and then especially companies that want to reward green behavior. But it confirms the AWVN’s suspicion that many large companies are making their terms of employment greener or wish to do so.
According to the AWVN, so far, companies have mainly focused on a sustainable mobility policy. That usually involves offering an electric car or an attractive bicycle mileage allowance. But there are also other examples. Consultancy firm Arcadis deliberately built its offices next to intercity stations and gave employees public transport cards they could use for private purposes. It also increased the work-from-home allowance because “not traveling is the most sustainable.”
Some companies offer an extra vacation day to compensate for travel time when employees go on vacation by train instead of by car or plane. De Roos Advocaten gives two extra vacation days per year for train holidays, and those who travel sustainably for a year get 8.2 instead of 8 percent holiday pay. “Green behavior is awarded,” director Joni Uhlenbeck told NOS.
Insurance company Achmea gave its 12,000 permanent employees access to a climate budget of 2,500 euros to make their homes more sustainable. Employees can use it to purchase solar panels or insulation. Because not everyone owns a home, they can also use it to buy electric bicycles or more economical appliances. Achmea spent 42 million euros on this, the company told the broadcaster.
Lawyer Savannah Koomen, the creator of The Green Employment Agreement, supports companies in the process. According to her, “young idealistic employees” are the main driving force behind greener working conditions. “Or it is companies that want their own social vision to seep into their terms of employment.”