Woman with her bike

Cycle to Work: The Socially Conscious Employer

8 June 2023

It’s Bike Week 100, so we’re dedicating more blog space to addressing the importance of cycling. In the first of this week’s blogs, we explored why our Cycle to Work scheme is such an impactful employee benefit, stretching salaries, saving businesses money, and improving physical and mental health.

Today, we’re focusing on how Cycle to Work and Social Value come together to help you become a socially conscious employer and strengthen your organisation’s social value for our people, partners, places, and planet.

Any employer exploring social value, also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR), will have heard the term ‘Net Zero.’ It’s being used across the spectrum, with the UK government publishing their ambitions to reach Net Zero by 2050.


Net Zero


Businesses or countries striving to reach Net Zero emissions are aiming to remove an equal amount of CO2 from the atmosphere as they release into it. There are multiple ways to achieve this, and encouraging employees to switch to cycling over driving is just one of them since emissions generated when your employees commute to work are attributed to your business.


Cycle to Work & the environment


The below graph published by ONS shows the method residents aged 16 and over living in England and Wales used when travelling to work during a 2021 survey.


These results match our more recent survey of 1,000 UK employees, which also found that driving was the most popular commuting method. 33.12% drove a petrol or diesel car, 10.71% cycled, 13.74% walked, and 42.43% used other methods, including public transport.


The science of cycling


Walking probably springs to mind when you consider commuting methods that are good for the environment and employee health.


It’s true. Walking is a greener and healthier option than driving, but the story changes when we compare it with cycling.

Whilst the act of cycling itself doesn’t emit any emissions, there is a carbon footprint of approx. 21g of CO2 per kilometre associated with cycling. According to bikeradar, this is because people who cycle are more active and therefore require extra food. Food is fuel, after all. About three-quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions attributed to cycling are linked to food production. The remainder is related to the manufacturing process.


For this reason, electric bikes have lower emissions - even when you factor in electricity used for charging the bike and manufacturing - because the cyclist uses less energy and, thus, in theory, consumes less food. 

Walking uses more energy than cycling; ergo, more food is consumed, and greenhouse gas emissions are higher.


Business activities


It isn’t just a matter of encouraging employees to change how they travel to work. Businesses are also adding bikes to their fleet to replace vehicles for shorter journeys.


In January 2022, The Guardian published an article reporting that 450 independent businesses use bikes to deliver goods. 


Whether using a pedal or e-bike, cyclists can navigate busy roads more easily, making them 60% faster than vans.


A similar discussion happened during our podcast with Chris Oakley from Halfords, which you can listen to here, with Chris sharing examples where companies have used the savings they made from their employees enrolling in a Cycle to Work scheme to fund a fleet of bikes!


The importance of being a socially conscious employer


Till now, we’ve focused on the environment and how effective cycling is in reducing carbon emissions. We all have a part to play in reducing our carbon footprint. However, it’s not just about ethics and the environment.


There’s a strong case for focusing on CSR and adopting a social value pledge beyond taking care of our planet.


Employee retention & acquisition


Employees are seeking socially responsible businesses and employers, and the more your people get on their bikes, the lower your business emissions will be.


By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce, and they’re looking for socially responsible employers. Furthermore, 93% of employees believe companies must lead with purpose, and 90% of employees who work at companies with a strong sense of purpose say they’re more inspired, motivated, and loyal. 


64% of young people don’t think the government is doing enough to avoid a climate crisis, and they will expect their employers to act responsibly. 


Employee wellbeing


Being a conscious employer goes beyond considering the environment and the impact your business has on it. Being a conscious employer also requires a genuine and authentic approach to employee wellbeing, putting your people at the heart of your business.


Cycle to Work is an employee wellbeing benefit that supports and enhances financial, physical, and mental wellbeing.


  • Physical Wellbeing: Cycling is an inclusive way to help employees adopt a healthier lifestyle, keep fit, and boost their immune systems, preventing illnesses like heart disease and cancer.

  • Mental Wellbeing: Not only will employees benefit from the mood-boosting endorphins that come with exercise. Cycling also helps to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. When your people feel good about themselves, they’re more engaged at work and more productive.

  • Financial Wellbeing: The cost-of-living crisis is being felt across the UK, and employees are struggling to stretch their salary far enough. With a Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme, your people can save up to 42% in tax and NI contributions.


Additionally, when employees choose a bike over their car for their daily and local commutes, they’ll save on fuel, parking, and public transport.


Business savings


We covered the savings available in our blog, ‘Why Choose Pluxee UK Engage for Cycle to Work,’ but it’s worth reiterating here.

The cost of doing business has also increased, meaning budgets need to stretch further than ever. Our Cycle to Work scheme is free for employers*, and for every employee that purchases a bike through the scheme, the business saves up to 13.8% in National Insurance Contributions - the more employees that sign up, the more money the company saves.


HR professionals and business leaders are getting savvy with their employee benefits strategies, using savings made through their Cycle to Work scheme to fund other employee wellbeing initiatives.


Reap the benefits with Pluxee UK's Cycle to Work Scheme


This Bike Week, we’ve been sharing daily posts on what makes our Cycle to Work scheme stand out from the crowd. Join us on LinkedIn to learn how we’re making it easy for your employees, providing a speedy service, and removing the financial risk to employers with Scheme Protect.


Are you ready to reduce emissions, save money, and support your employees’ financial, physical, and mental wellbeing? Arrange a call with one of our employee wellbeing experts to learn more.








The Guardian

Pedal Chile



*See the terms and conditions here.