June 18, 2013

Over 15% of Schneider staff gets to work by bicycle

46 active cyclers
46 active cyclers

One year ago the writing instrument manufacturer Schneider in Schramberg, Germany launched an electric bicycle scheme. The company bought 18 electric bicycles for the employees to use in place of cars to get to work. Now, the company has more than doubled the investment and numbers 46 active cyclers on its staff.

Schneider’s parking lots were getting increasingly crowded in the Black Forest valley where the company is located because of the creation of new jobs. However, CEO Roland Schneider didn’t want to expand the existing parking space. Many years ago, he remarked that "our nature is too beautiful to fill it up with parking lots" and as a consequence he arranged a free company bus which runs during regular working hours.

As of last year, the employees have another option for getting to work without a car: Roland Schneider himself is an enthusiastic electric bicycle rider, therefore he has launched an electric bicycle scheme for his employees which means that they can sign up for the scheme and get a free electric bicycle (also known as e-bike). A rental fee is not required; however, every leaser is obligated to go to work by e-bike at least 80 times a year. The employees may also use their electric bikes in their free time outside of work, which brings real joy in the mountainous Black Forest. Last year first 18, then 23 employees signed up for the scheme. The enthusiasm was great and quickly spread within the company.

This year Schneider already has 46 workers participating in the scheme. Even couch potatoes were infected with the e-bike fever and enjoy getting to work by bicycle. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Baden-Württemberg, in cooperation with the German Association of Environmental Management (BAUM), awarded the scheme second place in the competition called "cyclist friendly employers in the region of Baden-Württemberg 2012" during a ceremony in Mannheim on October 26, 2012.

More than 50.000 km will be covered by bicycle instead of by car, which is far more than the company originally expected. The long-term environmental objective, as noted in Schneider’s current environmental statement, was to avoid at least 30,000 kilometers by car. The objectives are regularly examined by an independent environmental expert. Thanks to the bicycle rental program, Schneider employees are actively involved in the implementation of reducing Schneider’s carbon footprint. Besides, it is not only good for the environment, but also contributes to the health of its workers.

Since 1998, Schneider has operated under a professional environmental policy adhering to the world's strictest environmental management system (EMAS). An audit takes place every three years by an independent and accredited environmental auditor and all environmental impacts are published in an environmental statement. It is accessible to anybody on:Environmental Statement

[458 words, 2916 characters (including blank spaces) by Martina Schneider]