EUR is a partner of the Rotterdam Climate Alliance Sustainable Mobility. This is a collective of 68 employers working on more sustainable business travel. Together, these employers account for some 100,000 employees in the Rotterdam region. The Climate Alliance regularly organizes inspiration sessions on sustainable mobility. On 17 April, EUR welcomed the alliance partners for a captivating event at Theil Building, with the theme "Change is hard on our brains!"
EUR on the road to more sustainable mobility
Vice president of the EUR Executive Board Ellen van Schoten opened the meeting and explained why EUR is committed to more sustainable mobility, and which steps we have already taken. "Sustainability is central to our strategy. Cleaner mobility is an important part of our footprint, so we definitely want to do something about that, both nationally and internationally." For example, EUR is making new policy to make public transport and cycling even more attractive to employees, and to discourage car use.
Behavioural change comes in small steps
After introducing the new alliance partners, the audience was asked to give their opinion on a number of statements about sustainable mobility and behavioral change. Weather forecaster Helga van Leur and Senior Researcher urban mobility Giuliano Mingardo shared their vision on sustainable behavior. The essence of their story? When it comes to behavioral change, every small step can help.
Giuliano: "Behavioral change is difficult, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Even small steps make a difference. During the energy crisis, for example, people didn't suddenly stop showering but they did shower shorter and less often. Mobility is similar, leaving the car several times a week is also an improvement." Helga adds: "If you think that small steps don't help anything you are not going to make an effort, whereas they can make a difference. Roll up your sleeves and just go for it, don't get discouraged!"
Lessons from starlings
Helga van Leur then gave a presentation on sustainability and behavioural change. There are so many crises in the world, how do you deal with them? Helga compared the challenges we face as a society to a flock of starlings. How can they move through the air in large groups without hitting each other? "The secret of starlings is that they work together well. The starlings all fly at about the same speed and each starling keeps an eye on the seven starlings that are closest, they don't look beyond that. We should be considerate of each other, give each other the space we need. If you want to do something good you can start small and from there it can grow bigger and bigger."
Helga concluded her presentation with a plea for connecting, trying to understand each other and really being open to the interests of others. Her advice: "Don't think in black and white. Eating less meat does not mean never barbecuing again. Try to avoid saying "yes, but", and instead say "okay, how?"."