Go Smarter to Work awards first platinum accolade to North East BIC

Diane Hilder, Carol Dougherty and Emma Allan from Go Smarter present David Howell with BIC's Platinum Accreditation Award.

Acting Programme Manager for Go Smarter, Emma Allan, was at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) with some of her colleagues from Sunderland.

Emma was presenting Go Smarter to Work's first ever Platinum Accreditation Award to David Howell, Director of Operations at North East BIC.

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.

David 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."

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.

Carol Dougherty is Workplace Travel Adviser 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."

The success of North East BIC follows on from the work that the 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.

Go Smarter to Work is the North East's behaviour change programme for sustainable transport. It awards businesses, from Bronze through to Platinum, that can demonstrate their commitment to encouraging the use of sustainable travel by their employees, visitors and deliveries.

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