At Greenfish, we actively look for the latest innovations and trends in sustainability. Each month, we organise our Impact Sessions, a sort of mini conference that aims to share knowledge and debate with specialists on sustainability-related topics. This is an opportunity for our consultants to learn more about their field and feel more integrated into our Greenfish community.
This first edition was the launch of a new Impact Session cycle, regrouping five topics over five months, that will focus on exploring issues related to sustainability with a focus on the co-creation of green solutions and thinking. .
On Thursday March 28th, our #1 Impact Session about mobility welcomed Jan Borré, Founder and Chief Mobility Architect at Via-Mobile.be and Frédéric Pairoux, Mobility Manager at RTBF. Sessions were moderated by Marieke van Winkelen, Country Manager at Greenfish.
NO PAIN NO GAIN
How to make the shift from a car dominated system to more sustainable means of transportation? It is no secret that Belgium is facing some serious mobility issues, and companies have an important role to play in solving this equation. How can they lead the change towards commuting with a lower environmental footprint? How can they encourage employees to move away from the current car reign and opt for multi modal solutions instead?
While Jan Borré spoke about the problems of mobility, and common mistakes in addition to the possible solutions and efforts made by companies and employees, Frédéric Pairoux spoke about the mobility fleet at the RTBF and VRT (the infrastructure, budget implementation etc.).
Jan Borré – Via Mobile
The art of mobility
Traffic and mobility are usually seen as nothing more than the usual daily madness but there are other important issues arising with mobility, such as health problems and car accidents. The main challenge today is steering clear of falling into a car addiction. But it is difficult to change people’s mindsets as we are so used to cars, and we constantly look for excuses not to use other means of transportation.
Jan Borré explains few problems related to mobility:
- Planet hype: some people talk about mobility only because it is the current trend;
- People talk a lot, without actually taking action;
- Technology is good and we have to use it, but it will not solve the main problem.
Also, in Brussels, the quantity of information we need to use public transportation is very problematic, which doesn’t make things easier…
Then, the mistakes made regarding mobility are:
- The security of our belongings (stolen bikes, …).
- Some companies are using the term “mobility” as an excuse.
- The management support within companies can sometimes tend to greenwash.
Mobility migration has an effect as we see more reactive policies in companies (delivering fleets, mobility plans and mobility solutions). Also, many different solutions are emerging as more and more people are considering working from home and not taking the car.
We are switching from a car-only to a full multi-mobility. It takes time to get used to trading in your car for another means of transportation, simply because it pulls you out of your comfort zone. Regardless, trying to make this switch is important. The time is now, and we have to be persistent.
To convince people about changing their habits, instead of firmly telling them what to do, we should sway them by using solid arguments.
With the mobility budget that entered into force as of March 01st, a total of 5 000€ per employee per year is available. If the company offers this budget – as it is not mandatory – each employee can choose what to do with it, whether it is combining means of transportation, or just choosing a greener car. In any case, this budget can only be granted to employees who currently own a company car.
“Be patient but start moving.”
Frederic Pairoux – RTBF
Frederic Pairoux, Mobility Manager at RTBF was first in charge of solving parking issues during the renovation of the RTBF offices in 2017.
The company is supporting a cost of several millions/year in mobility but, at the time, there was a huge problem in terms of parking spaces for employees.
60% of RTBF’s employees live in Brussels. Any means of transportation besides the car is a good solution for them to come to the office each day (public transports, bikes, …). To encourage them to take their bikes and feel safer, RTBF has its own bike station.
They don’t have many company cars at RTBF, but they use CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) pool cars for journalists. CGN is a good fuel alternative and RTBF installed its own stations to facilitate its use. The company also bears the costs of its employees’ public transportation journeys (provided that they can prove their use of at least 75%), and kilometers can be refunded.
What is the future of mobility at RTBF?
- New, revamped buildings.
- Remote working entering into force.
- Multimodality (gamification and activities around mobility).
- Parking solutions: Introduction of an online platform to book your parking spot in advance. If you don’t have any parking spots available, you can decide to take another means of transportation.
- Dynamic parking management for electric vehicles.
How to make the shift from a car dominated system to more sustainable means of transportation?
After the Mobility Allowance or the “Cash for Car” measure, on February 28, 2019, the government voted on a second alternative to company cars: The Mobility Budget.
Some information about the new mobility budget is still not clear for many citizens. The latter is only granted to employees with a company car but introducing the budget in a company is not mandatory, nor is it mandatory for an employee to accept this budget. The mobility budget allows employees to choose between three different options:
- With the mobility budget, the employee can finance the provision of a company car that is more respectful of the environment (car emitting less CO2, electric car, …).
- The employee can use the balance to finance more sustainable means of travel (soft mobility like scooters, bikes, …), public transportation, shared cars, car pool or mobility services that combine those sustainable means of transportation. Though many citizens are starting to use means of electric mobility, which are a great mobility solutions, there is still a lack of organisation in terms of the use of these engines, making it sometimes dangerous.
It is also possible to finance the cost of housing (rent and mortgage interest) close to (within 5 km) of the usual place of work.
- Finally, the unused portion of the mobility budget of the employee is paid to him or her once a year.
For every car driver willing to emit even less carbon-emissions, other solutions could be to avoid peak hours, to begin to work earlier, or to work from home.
Although intentions behind the Mobility Budget’s implementation are positive, it is still to be seen if this alternative will convince a large group of employees to shift from company cars to alternative mobility options.
Our next Impact Session about energy will take place on Tuesday April 23rd! More info soon!