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FEATURE STORY

The World Bank and Lenovo Work Together to Promote Green Commuting

June 14, 2013


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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A project introduces to Chinese companies the practice of encouraging employees to voluntarily adopt green commuting.
  • Lenovo, one of the participants of the project, has made serious efforts, including an online carpooling platform for its employees.
  • Lenovo’s experience in promoting green commuting will be spread to other companies.

On the World Environment Day, the World Bank and Lenovo, the world’s second largest PC maker, held an event at the company’s Beijing headquarter to promote green commuting to Lenovo’s 10,000 plus employees there.

Lenovo is one of the participants of the Company-based Voluntary Traffic Demand Management (TDM) project, implemented by the World Bank and funded by the Swiss Government. The project aims to introduce to Chinese companies the practice of encouraging employees to voluntarily adopt green commuting, e.g. biking, taking metro or bus, carpooling, or working from home.

As part of the project, an online carpooling platform was launched in mid-March to help Lenovo employees who live close to each other to carpool to work. 

A number of employees shared their experience of using the online carpooling platform at the Environment Day event.

Jian Boyu, an engineer at the environmental measuring department of Lenovo, said that thanks to the platform he was able to connect with a colleague in his department. They’ve known each other for quite some time already but it was through the platform they first got to know they were actually neighbors.

“Now we carpool every work day,” he said. “We are in the same department and thus our work schedules are more or less the same. That makes carpooling easy. We chat a lot on the way to work and back home!”

Du Jianhua, Global Vice President of Lenovo, said that he signed up as soon as the platform was opened for registration. But so far he has received no response to his online post of offering free ride from where he lives to work. So, at the event, he gave a detailed description of the route he takes every day to work.

“It’s fine if you don’t live exactly in the same compound as mine. But if you live anywhere on this route, I can make a stop to pick you up,” he said. This kind offer drew a big applause and laughter from the employees who packed the lobby where the event was held.    


" Now we carpool every work day. We are in the same department and thus our work schedules are more or less the same. That makes carpooling easy. We chat a lot on the way to work and back home!  "

Jian Boyu

an engineer at the environmental measuring department of Lenovo

Till May 28, 1,411 Lenovo employees registered at the platform; 982 commuting routes and 401 carpooling requests were posted; 138 colleagues successfully found their carpooling partners.

These carpooling trips contributed a reduction of almost 17 tons of carbon emission, which equals to the amount of CO2 that 146 mature trees can normally absorb in three months’ time.  

Zhao Liman, founder of “Smarter than Car”, a bike culture promotion group, talked about why biking is also a green and smart choice for commuters. Her exhibition of photos on “the kingdom of bicycles” resonated with the audience who still remember the good old times for bikers in China before the 1990s, when cars were not yet dominant and air quality was much better.

As part of the company’s efforts to promote green commuting, Lenovo has started to provide free shuttle buses and free bikes for employees to transit between the office buildings and nearby metro stations.

At the event, Lenovo, together with the World Bank, announced that the next step of its green commuting initiative would be focused on community-based practices. A good number of Lenovo employees live in the superblocks on the outskirts of the city and face great challenges in their daily commuting. But this also means they have great potential to develop community-based solutions.

To delve deeper into the subject, the World Bank will help conduct a survey on community-based green commuting and also look into other possible green commuting strategies.  

Results, experience, and lessons from the Lenovo pilot are being summarized and will be disseminated to other companies through this TDM project and an urban transport solutions platform, dubbed as TransFORM, which is being jointly developed by the World Bank and Government of China.


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