December 7, 2005
And Now, The 'Eco-Walk
Motor Corp. has developed an important new message for its Japan-based
Whatever you do, don’t drive cars!
Expressing concern for its employees’ health and for the environment,
Mazda is willing to pay its employees something called an “eco-walk
commutation allowance” if they walk to work at least 15 days a month.
pay you 1,500 yen per month, which almost sounds worth it until you
realize that’s actually just $12.
determination to prevent people from driving, oh, say, Mazdas, Mazda is
even developing creative recommendations for how employees can qualify
for the program. You can’t cheat and live across the street. The walk
has to be at least 2.48 miles roundtrip to count. (Why such a weird
number? Because I converted it from the weird metric system.)
you live too close, no problem! The company suggests that you take the
bus a mile and a quarter in the wrong direction, then walk back.
walk briskly enough, you’ll lose weight, in part because it will make
you sweat. If enough people are sweating when they show up for work,
perhaps they can transfer the smell of the eco-walk to the cars they’re
building. Then Mazda won’t have to pay people not to drive them.
don’t know if employees who live, say, 10 miles from work are allowed to
drive their cars 8.76 miles and walk the rest of the way. And that would
hardly seem worthy of a walking bonus, as the majority of Americans who
work in downtown areas basically do the same thing. Indeed, if you can
find a place to park that’s only 1.24 miles from your office, your
colleagues will probably ask you to start the coffee after you turn on
turns out Mazda is not the first company in Japan to introduce such a
system. The first to do so, a few years ago, was Yamaha. (Because God
help us if people ride motorcycles to work!)
hardly new to see companies trying to encourage healthy behavior (or are
we supposed to call it “wellness” now?) among their employees. The
initiative being promoted by Mazda and Yamaha clearly has a second
objective as well, as the moniker “eco-walk” demonstrates.
not just trying to save you from outgrowing your jeans with the 38-inch
waist. After all, you could accomplish that by cutting back on the
Teriyaki Chicken. They’re trying to stop you from contributing to
the destruction of the planet. Harmful emissions are hurting our planet,
so leave that Mazda in the garage! (Oh, buy one. Let’s not be ridiculous
here. Just don’t drive it.)
again, maybe Mazda is not trying to save the planet. Maybe it is only
trying to save Japan, as the only company employees eligible for the
eco-walk commutation allowance are those based in Japan.
American Mazda employees are out of luck. Or maybe they’re in
luck, since they can still drive their Mazdas to work without fear of
their employer’s disfavor.
was in college, I got a summer job working at Chrysler World
Headquarters in Highland Park, Michigan. Like most college students, I
drove whatever I could get my hands on, and that happened to be an Olds
Cutlass. Chrysler rules required that those driving competitor cars had
to park in a lot in the general vicinity of Toledo. No wonder I was so
healthy in college.
way I figure it, they owe me 4,500 yen. If today’s Daimler-Chrysler will
ante up, I could start a fund to pay my employees to walk to work.
Unless, as I suspect, they’d prefer I just buy them pizza.
© 2005 North Star
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