City bikes close the distance between metro stations and workplace
When the city bikes appeared on the streets of Espoo, Orion collaborated with neighbouring companies to get a bike station on the property.
Orion’s head office and pharmaceutical plant in Koivu-Mankkaa, Espoo, have 1,500 employees. From there, you can cycle to the Urheilupuisto metro station in a few minutes and Tapiola in seven minutes, thanks to the city bike station on the campus. “Having a city bike station facilitates the use of public transport,” says Noora Paronen, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Orion.
The city bike station is leased by Orion together with its neighbouring companies, Valio Aimo wholesaler and Oriola. The idea came about when the local newspaper reported that companies could lease bike stations as part of HSL’s network of 450 bike stations in Helsinki and Espoo.
Traffic accounts for one-third of Espoo’s greenhouse gas emissions. Commuting takes place every weekday, so the emissions are significant. Workplaces help to drive sustainable mobility as outlined in the Sustainable Espoo programme. This series of stories tells about actions by Espoo employers to cut emissions from commuting. Read the other stories in the series → Pastor rides a bicycle to work.
Bikes serviced during the working day
Orion encourages its employees to switch from private cars to bicycles by, for example, organising bicycle service campaigns in springtime. There is porridge available for those coming to work by bike in the morning, and cyclists can leave their bikes for a mobile bike service provided by a partner.
“You can book a service time and ride the bike to work in the morning. In the afternoon, your bike will be serviced and safe to cycle home with the brakes and mechanics in tip-top condition,” says Paronen.
Promoting commuter cycling brings savings to the employers and health benefits to the cyclists: the need for parking spaces decreases, and the improved physical health of the personnel prevents sick leaves and maintains general well-being. The Head of Corporate Responsibility sets a good example herself: Paronen commutes the 23 kilometres to work regularly by bike in summer, by metro in winter, and rarely by car.
Many of Orion’s Espoo employees use the metro to commute, as it is less than a 10-minute walk to the Urheilupuisto metro station. Those in a hurry grab a city bike from Orionintie and leave it in the rack at the metro station.
"You can also easily bring your own bike onboard the new metro cars. If you wish, you can take the metro to the office and then cycle home after work.”
Public transport is not a viable option for all employees, but emissions from cars can also be cut. The 130 company cars of Orion employees are quite low-emission. In 2021, their average CO2 emissions were 107 g/km, with the number of electric cars increasing. There are now 10 charging points for the employees’ electric cars in front of the head office, and 60 more will become available once the head office renovation is completed. The company’s company car policy also favours electric cars that are generally more expensive.
“The lower the emissions, the higher the procurement limit,” Paronen explains.
Orion’s diesel-powered cars, factory machinery, forklifts, tractors and reachstackers have for years used Neste MY renewable diesel with a carbon footprint of approximately 90% smaller than that of fossil diesel.
Companies as a driving force for commuting change
The City of Espoo and Orion share the same goal. Both aim to reach carbon neutrality in their operations by 2030.
Traffic accounts for one-third of Espoo’s greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, reducing traffic emissions will be a major task for the city in the coming years.
“Companies can play a role in this as a driving force for change,” Paronen says.
Orion actively promotes low-emission alternatives for commuting, such as cycling and remote working.
“These are important choices that everyone can make in their daily work.”
With the surge in remote working due to COVID-19, many started questioning whether all their travel was necessary. Now, people alternate between commuting and remote working, and commuting times are shorter.
“This kind of hybrid work is here to stay. We now think flexibly about where to work to achieve the best results. Increased remote working days are also an environmental action.”
TEXT AND PHOTO: Petja Partanen
This article is a part of the Sustainable mobility at workplaces series of stories.