11 October 2010

Carbon Trust: Don't Ride a Bicycle

London Cycle Chic 05
London cyclists. Who clearly shouldn't apply for jobs at Carbon Trust.

There's something called Carbon Trust in the UK. They describe themselves thus on their website:

The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy. We provide specialist support to help business and the public sector cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies. By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.

Sounds great. Innovative. Progressive. N'est pas? One senses that this is an organisation that would, whether directly or indirectly, support transportation like... oh I don't know... bicycles. An organisation that places weight on science and rationality and common sense.

So here's the funny thing. Well... not really Joe Pesci haha funny... just quite sad funny. Thanks to a reader I've recieved an email which was sent round to Carbon Trust's employees. Have a read:

"For those of you who choose to cycle to work (or for work), you are reminded that you are responsible for ensuring your own safety.

As a reminder, the use of appropriate cycling helmets, lights and hi-visibility equipment are considered essential, particularly with the nights drawing in.

In addition, if you do not consider yourself a competent cyclist, who has taken appropriate provision for your own safety, we advise against you cycling to and from work and for work related meetings and events and from using the London cycle scheme.

The reason:
If you choose to cycle FOR work (e.g. attending an external meeting) again your safety is your responsibility. However, the Carbon Trust has a duty of care for all of us, and for this reason, the company does not advocate cycling to and from meetings on company business and an alternative method of travel should always be considered.

Expense claims for hiring Boris bikes will not be reimbursed by the company. The reason for this is that the company cannot assess the quality or safety of any Boris bike and it is impractical for it to undertake risk assessments for each individual journey and to provide training and equipment."


I was sitting here toying with ideas as to how to criticize or even ridicule Carbon Trust but I realised that just pasting their text into this blogpost and letting you read it was quite enough. I hope the CTC gives them a right good talking to.

26 comments:

ian... said...

The Carbon Trust...cough...w*****'s!!!

Jez Higgins said...

Remarkable. Do they assess the quality and safety of taxis or busses? Of their employees' cars? Of their employees' driving? Somehow I doubt it.

Tim Lennon said...

Wouldn't mind asking the Carbon Trust about this one: do you have a source, link, etc. you can share?

Thanks,

Tim.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

Oh, wow! The reasoning almost sounds American.

Mikael said...

Ian... this is a Danish-based blog. You're allowed to write Wankers if you want. We don't have that kind of censorship... :-)

SteveL from Bristol Traffic said...

regardless of what the carbon trust says, you can claim back 20p mile for business trips done by bike (other than the commute),

You can do this by filling in the P87 form with an end of year tax return. Even mixed journeys (like one involving train and bike to oxford), I get cash back on the 12 miles of bike work. Now, if I'd cycled the whole hundred miles and back, I'd be 40 pounds richer. And fitter.

Anonymous said...

As pure satire it could scarcely be improved upon. I have lived (and cycled to work) in the UK for many years and the underlying attitude is sadly all too familiar. Car drivers get a generous petrol allowance while cyclists don't even get a bike shed.

Anonymous said...

Misguided article, I fear. Sure the Carbon Trust has nothing against bikes in principle. They just realise, like many HR departments, that if an employee is killed or injured whilst riding an unlicensed bike on company business, this leaves them perilously exposed from a legal perspective. I'm a passionate cyclist but I can't criticise them for knowing their legal responsibilities.

Jim Gleeson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
djangosChef said...

"Legal responsibilities"!? They need to strap on a pair and review their mission statement -- some slight reduction in liability risk is no excuse for compromising their stated core mission.

Edward said...

What an embarrassment. This seems to be something typical to English speaking countries - knee-jerk reactions based on prejudices and false assumptions.

Over here in Australia, politicians not long ago started talking about "evidence based policy" as if that were a new thing. You wonder what was going on beforehand.

Anonymous said...

I know where the carbon trust offices are because I work near there. It's a particularly busy part of London traffic-wise,and before the boris bikes, beset with idiot bike riders cycling the wrong way down one way streets. With the Boris bikes, these have been joined by twats cycling on the pavements.I think insisting that your employees know how to ride a bike before getting on one, is very sensible.

Anthony Robson said...

Very true 'Anonymous', insisting employees know how to ride is necessary - so how about the Carbon Trust, rather than simply saying people should cycle, actually OFFERS that training?

Anthony Robson said...

Naturally that should have been "shouldn't cyce" - clearly it's still too early in the morning.

Anthony Robson said...

I give up...

wav3ydave said...

"It's a particularly busy part of London traffic-wise,and before the boris bikes, beset with idiot bike riders cycling the wrong way down one way streets. With the Boris bikes, these have been joined by twats cycling on the pavements"

As opposed to the the bus/car/taxi/motorbike/lorry drivers, who are all living embodiments of the highway code.

Come on, try harder.

Kim said...

What is the point of the Carbon Trust if they can't ever get the basics right?

Anonymous said...

Try harder to what? Run out of the way of the taxis, buses and vans that run into me on the pavements? No, I won't, because they don't do that - it's cyclists who think they have the right to ride on the pavement, ignore traffic lights, cycle on the wrong side of the road and the wrong way down one way streets.

Ms R.C. ten Veen said...

Re: "Expense claims for hiring Boris bikes will not be reimbursed by the company. The reason for this is that the company cannot assess the quality or safety of any Boris bike and it is impractical for it to undertake risk assessments for each individual journey and to provide training and equipment." - well, what about dodgy cars (as 'alternative' to bikes)? Assume LGA would do general checks on bikes (like MOT)? Disappointed by the CT message... it should walk it's talk and if there are obstacles to its talk (e.g. safety), then it should work on abolishing those, not make employees un-walk the orgs talk... My 2p. In peace, Rianne

Anonymous said...

*N'est-ce pas?

Mark said...

Le sigh.

lydr said...

Fabulous! terrific! In..credible... Even Me as French Dude, I'm disgusted by that kind of letter/email. We go to work with the transportation we choose, whatever it is !! That's Freedom.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous

what is an unlicenced bike? Surely all bikes are unlicenced in the UK. what really is the legal situation? Is a company liable if an employee crashes their car on company business? Are they liable if an employee pedestrian gets knocked down walking to a meeting? Are bikes really treated differently? If so why?

randomlyred said...

The CEO at the company where I work must be from the same school of thought as these people. I complained about bike parking facilities, only to be given a horrified "oh, but you don't actually ride to work, it's so dangerous".

Tatiana Covington said...

Oh hell with it, then. Just drive a Hummer and blast that CO2, baby. And don't forget to fart!

Anonymous said...

Can they not just offset their carbon emissions by getting a child in Africa to ride a bike or something.

For example, every mile travelled by an employee in a car to and from the Carbon Trust could be offset by getting a child to ride a bike for twelve hours a day in Africa.

There are plenty of war lords happily availabe to provide any amout of kids, much like the other intelligent thought out carbon offset programs that inflict hell on the people of Papua New Guinea.

Carbon offsets is for needy, hedonistic, enviro nuts.