Introducing a four-day, no-wage workweek would be a cure-all. In addition to drastically reducing the carbon footprint, it would also contribute to achieving the climate goals needed by the planet.
One study found that moving to a four-day work week by 2025 would reduce emissions by more than 20%. The equivalent of taking the entire fleet of private fuel cars off the road.
Short week, long benefits
The shorter workweek is gaining the attention of more and more economists and business leaders. Unilever has announced a one-year trial in New Zealand since last December, and the governments of Spain and Scotland have launched nationwide pilot programs.
Advocates say shorter working hours would create jobs, improve people's mental and physical health, and strengthen families and communities.
The change could prevent a sharp rise in post-Covid pandemic unemployment. And it would be sustainable. Most larger companies would be able to cope with change with greater productivity. Or maybe a slight (upward, of course) price tweak.
Research on the work week
A systematic review, which takes the UK as a model, noted that even a four-day workweek could play a key role in addressing the escalation of the climate emergency.
Less energy consumption in the workplace, fewer transport emissions, less commuting.
Less polluting activities, more clean activities
Among the positives of the short workweek, the report found that giving people an extra day off increases the amount of "low-carbon" activities they enjoy. From rest to exercise, from community building to seeing family.
Laurie Mompelat, environmental researcher and one of the report's authors, said: "Moving to a four-day work week with fair pay for all can help us change the way value is created in society by creating more space for care, rest. and relationships. "
A shorter work week with no loss of pay is a crucial investment in human capital. Especially at a time when everyone's contribution, care and creativity are required to create a more sustainable society.
Four day work week, a big move for the environment
Joe Ryle, an environmental activist, nor is he certain. "We already know that the four-day work week is good for workers' mental health and well-being, but this report shows it can also be a great ally of the environment."
"The environmental movement must support calls for a shorter week. It could make a real difference in the race to limit the worst effects of the climate change".