Go Smarter to Work, the North East’s behaviour change programme for sustainable transport, has awarded its first ever Platinum Accreditation Award to the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) in Sunderland.

The Awards are given to businesses across the region for their ongoing commitment to encouraging their workforces to use walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing on their daily commutes to work.

Gold, silver and bronze awards have been awarded during the course of the programme over the last five years, but this is the highest achievement ever made by a business engaged with the Go Smarter to Work programme, with North East BIC achieving the highest accolade, the Platinum Accreditation Award.

The awards, from Bronze through to Platinum, are given to businesses that can demonstrate their commitment to encouraging the use of sustainable travel by their employees, visitors and deliveries.

David Howell, Director of Operations at North East BIC, said, ‘’We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded Platinum. As an organisation, we have worked hard with Go Smarter to Work since April 2015 and encouraged our employees and tenants to consider making the switch from using their cars for commuting to and from work, to using sustainable modes.

‘Sustainable travel has some fantastic benefits for employees in terms of health and fitness, and for the business in the long term. We will continue to innovate different initiatives to continue to encourage this behaviour change’’.

Carol Dougherty is Workplace Travel Advisor at Sunderland City Council and delivers the Go Smarter to Work programme in the Sunderland area. Carol said, ‘On behalf of the programme I am thrilled that North East BIC has achieved the first ever Platinum Award. They have put in some outstanding work and deserve their success’.

Some of the initiatives that North East BIC now has in place include the installation of secure cycle shelters, assisted with grant funding from Go Smarter to Work; electric vehicle charging points; showering facilities; and comprehensive travel information for employees, tenants and visitors with maps and directions.

The success of North East BIC follows on from the work that Sunderland Council’s Go Smarter to Work team has undertaken in Sunderland since 2013, working with businesses in the area to reduce CO2 emissions and congestion. This has led to a 7% reduction in those employees stating that they drive a car alone on their journey to work, with public transport usage increasing by 5%, cycling by 4% and car sharing by 2% in this period.

More information about Go Smarter to Work can be found at gosmarter.co.uk

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