By Jane Hoffer, CEO, GoWithFlow
On the surface, the path to “sustainable mobility” sounds easy enough — swap out your existing internal combustion-engine vehicles with zero-emission electrics or lower-emission hybrids.
Presto! Lower emissions = sustainable mobility.
By signing up to the Autonomy newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from us that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.
But the real value of a sustainable mobility initiative far exceeds the boundaries of fleet management to span the entire enterprise.
The return on investment (ROI) for sustainable mobility touches nearly every aspect of an organization, from human resources to finance, from facilities and fleet management to energy consumption, and from customer service to building customer loyalty.
Companies that take this holistic view of green transportation have much to gain.
Bring Employees Along the Path Toward Sustainability
Attracting and retaining talent can be a challenge for any organization, especially when you factor in how competitive certain geographies are for finding and keeping good employees.
But did you know the impact of sustainability on your company’s desirability?
The 2019 HP Worker Sustainability Survey found that 96% of employees at companies they described as leaders in sustainability practices said they would recommend their workplace. And for millennials — the newest generation of creative and passionate professionals — more ranked protecting the environment as their top concern than any other issue facing society today, according to the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey.
If you’re thinking about “sustainable mobility” as only something that affects only your corporate fleet, think again.
Workforce-centered mobility means transportation programs that benefit all workers, not just the ones driving a company car or using a corporate vehicle while they’re doing their job.
With a well-planned charging infrastructure, for example, you can incentivise employees by making it easy for them to use a low-emission vehicle. You can offer free or discounted charging for personal EVs, whether it’s a car, a scooter or an e-bike. A corporate app could let them reserve charging spots and alert them when there’s one available or their vehicle is all charged up. These perks could be used in tandem with salary increases or bundled into bonuses.
Another branded app could package up available public transit options into one view, giving them choices of green transport options that let them rack up rewards points they can trade in for company swag or vacation days.
Yet another sustainable mobility program could make the most of your corporate fleet by turning those assets into amenities. Let’s say most of your corporate vehicles sit idle on the weekend. You can create a reservations system to allow off-hours use of corporate EVs, adding more tangible ways to show the benefits of your sustainable approach.
By including Human Resources and your employees in your sustainable mobility planning, you gain critical traction in the competition to be an attractive employer. Plus, you’ll get more mileage from your actual transportation assets.
Build Your Brand and Competitive Position Through Sustainable Mobility
Make no mistake, change is coming. Most of the world’s largest and most respected companies have joined together in major efforts to combat climate change and transition to a more sustainable planet.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, for example, is a global, CEO-led organization of more than 200 leading businesses that represent a combined revenue or more than 8.5 trillion U.S. dollars and 19 million employees.
Not only is corporate sustainability an imperative, but it also represents an opportunity to build loyalty among your customers and trading partners and to differentiate yourself from the competition.
A retail or grocery store rewards program for customers could accumulate points based on their purchases, points they could track on a company app and spend using parking-lot EV chargers. Or maybe you have an incentive program that could track their charging time at home or at a public charger or their other use of sustainable transportation options and turn that into shopping rewards.
With companies like Apple and Amazon setting targets for 100% carbon-free footprints, manufacturers and distributors need to identify their own sustainable goals. Your business partners are likely stretching their own sustainability goals, and they need to know they can rely on your mobility program to support their objectives.
The Solution? Build an Enterprise-Wide Sustainable Mobility Plan
You have an organizational directive to become more sustainable, and transportation is a big part of the near-term opportunity to make a substantial impact. The lasting value of a sustainable mobility initiative is deceptively complex, and true value lies in mapping out a flexible, strategic plan that will make the most of your current needs while providing the flexibility for the future.
1. Align Your Organization
Sustainable mobility touches multiple points, so the first part of any plan should include various constituents from across your company — Human Resources, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, Procurement, Facilities and Fleet Management. Together, you can identify individual and overarching sustainable mobility programs and success metrics that drive the company’s high-level sustainability goals.
2. Ask Questions
Remember, sustainable mobility doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You’ll want to understand the user’s perspective, be they employees, fleet drivers, partners or customers. And questions should range from behaviours and motivations (Do you have an electric or hybrid vehicle? Why did you choose one? or What made you buy a traditional car/vehicle? How does your company being committed to sustainable mobility make you feel? Why is it important for your company to choose sustainable options?) to personal and department goals (How do you already contribute to or participate in your company’s sustainability initiatives? What do you think you’ll get out a more focused approach to sustainable mobility in our department?).
3. Prioritize for Success
As with any large-scale program, you have to walk before you can run. You’ll want to prioritize programs for an effective, measured rollout. And develop the success metrics that will both support the corporate sustainability program and generate benefits within each group.
From electrified fleets, charging infrastructure and facility allocation planning to energy acquisition and load balancing, to employee and customer loyalty programs, the Sustainable Mobility Plan should be viewed as a living guide for how to build and deploy the best approach that fits your organization’s needs, both present and future.