By Andrea Navarra
As a professional who works in the growing ESG Directives and Carbon Disclosure, I recently had the opportunity to attend a forum organised by The Times of Malta to discuss possible sustainable options that could help alleviate the challenges being faced by Malta’s public transport system.
ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, is a framework that organisations today are using to measure and report their environmental burden and societal impact.
While ESG is not directly related to traffic problems, applying its principles to the transport situation the way companies and organisations are expected to apply them to themselves, can indirectly help alleviate some of these challenges.
There are several key factors that may be considered.
The impacts on the environment: traffic contributes significantly to urban pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which harm public health and exacerbate climate change.
By adopting sustainable measures in mobility, organizations can help mitigate the environmental impacts of transportation activities.
The social impact: is mostly caused by traffic congestion, which causes a range of other social issues such as decreased productivity, increased stress and anxiety, and reduced quality of life for individuals and communities. Activity mobility such as walking and cycling contributes to a healthier lifestyle without significantly affecting free time.
If we are truly intent on prioritizing social factors such as employee well-being and community engagement, we should encourage more responsible business practices so that organizations can play an active role in the creation of a more harmonious society that is less affected by traffic problems.
Ultimately, governance practices can play a key role in this transition, guiding all stakeholders into making better decisions, setting the right priorities, and allocating resources more effectively.
This will have the right bearing and will inspire the development of more effective transportation policies that prioritize alternative modes of transportation, such as public transit, biking, and walking. By doing so, all of us as direct participants in solving this challenge can help reduce the number of cars on the road and ease traffic congestion.
We are aware of the issues that surround the implementation of more sustainable practices. We also know that their applicability will demand profound changes and commitment. Therefore, while ESG alone will never be a direct solution to traffic problems, there will also be the need for a strong political will for the difficult decisions to be taken.
The recent news that NextBike Malta has left the nation is unmistakably a sign of a decline in mobility rather than improvement. There should be a serious commitment to expanding and enhancing Malta’s current cycle lanes. To provide more and quicker mobility, public transportation alternatives must be investigated. A good example would be maritime public transport, which is effective, has a large carrying capacity, and doesn’t require a transportation infrastructure such as trams or metro.
Granted, that in the short-term, we will need to adapt but if we all contribute our commitment towards more sustainable and socially responsible practices, we will all become protagonists in the creation of a more sustainable future for future generations. The long-term benefits will make it all worth it.