Introducing a company ecomobility initiative meets two goals: compliance and pulling power Find out why
“I’ve heard of ecomobility but I couldn’t say exactly what it is”. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone! Most companies have only a partial knowledge of this nevertheless very relevant subject. To address this, we take an in depth look at the defining elements and legislative framework of the ecomobility concept in this article. It also provides an opportunity to review practices in this area and the prospects offered by sustainable mobility for companies that could make the mistake of not getting to grips with the subject.
NB: This article is based on a series of surveys by OpinionWay for ecomob.club, an online community of business leaders on the theme of ecomobility. The surveys were conducted between November 2019 and February 2020 among around a hundred mobility managers or business leaders in companies with more than 100 employees.
Ecomobility: what is it?
Sustainable mobility or ecomobility for business refers to the actions taken to rethink work travel in order to reduce its environmental impact and improve employees’ quality of life and safety.
In general, the objectives commonly associated with an ecomobility initiative are:
For companies, implementing an ecomobility initiative means thinking about the range of transport available to employees. Accessibility, equipment, travel times, work organisation, awareness… sustainable mobility covers a variety of subjects.
From the employer mobility plan (PDMe) to the French Mobility Orientation Law (LOM)
The introduction of ecomobility for business is supported by a legislative framework. Formerly known as the company travel plan (PDE), the employer's mobility plan (PDMe) has been mandatory since 2018 for companies with more than 100 employees.
What is changing with the Mobility Orientation Law:
The French Mobility Orientation Law passed in 2019 extends this obligation to companies with more than 50 employees. Ecomobility must now be included in the mandatory annual negotiations (NAOs) with social partners that are required to take place each year. The employer mobility plan is no longer mandatory but one must be drawn up if the negotiations fail.
This new obligation is a simplification for companies with more than 100 employees. It eliminates the single document to be prepared as part of the PDMe and sets out ecomobility as a new topic to be discussed during the annual negotiations they were already obliged to perform.
Among the other flagship measures, the law includes:
According to ADEME, only 10% of organisations required to do so had introduced a PDM in 2019. The change in legislative framework is therefore, on the face of it, good news for progressing the subject of ecomobility for business.
A subject still only partially understood
According to a survey by OpinionWay for ecomob.club, sustainable mobility is considered to be an important topic by more than half of decision-makers, but is still not clearly understood by businesses. The term is familiar to 71% of those surveyed, but without being clearly definable. Less than a third of companies could give a precise explanation of what a mobility plan is.
Another stand-out fact: only 39% of businesses feel that the mobility obligation affects them. However, the vast majority have heard of the Mobility Orientation Law but without necessarily knowing about the measures for application. The law is also seen as helping the environment rather than businesses or employees.
Half of decision-makers think it is complicated to implement. The main reason mentioned is a lack of existing infrastructure around the business to encourage ecomobility, followed by internal reasons (lack of budget or management inclination).
What ecomobility actions are being implemented by companies?
It is therefore not surprising to see that the introduction of ecomobility policies is not yet widespread: more than half of companies have not yet started.
However, the number of actions in place or in the pipeline within companies is growing.
> When Covid-19 entered the discussion on ecomobility:
The situation obviously changed. 68% of decision-makers think that the pandemic has encouraged their company to review its travel policy. Remote working has become a much more widespread reality for many companies, and a reduction in travel is de facto the first lever for taking action towards ecomobility. Cycling is particularly favoured: half of the companies surveyed plan to provide new cycle parking following the pandemic.
Meeting an employee expectation and contributing to CSR policy
More than 8 out of 10 employees think that ecomobility is an important or very important subject, and two thirds believe that their company is not doing enough. Alongside the public authorities, the private sector is expected to do most to promote sustainable mobility.
At a time when the digital revolution is changing the way we work and millennials are redefining the relationship with work, ecomobility has a big part to play in the HR and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policies of organisations.
The new generation is challenging businesses by making new demands for a pleasant working environment, a good work/life balance, meaningful work and a commitment to companies that are ambitious in terms of CSR. This is not just a trend; it is a profound change, widely recognised by ‘future of work’ experts who analyse the dynamics that shape the world of work.
> Sustainable mobility chimes with these new expectations.
It contributes to the environmental efforts of businesses and individuals, and has a positive impact on well-being at work, productivity and employee health. Aside from the legal obligation, it represents an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate that they are addressing CSR issues and the needs of their employees. Its potential for HR teams seeking to increase their pulling power and retain talent is therefore clearly understood.
Ecomobility measures: how are they accounted for in budgets?
What about the financial aspect? While implementing the Mobility Orientation Law represents an investment, it is accompanied by short-term financial incentives and opens up prospects for savings in the medium term.
Although it passed relatively unnoticed during lockdown, a ‘sustainable mobility allowance’ came into force in May 2020. This allowance for employees’ commuting costs, previously reserved for bicycles only, has been extended to new means of transport. Electric bikes, rental or self-service vehicles (scooters, motor scooters, bicycles, etc.), ride-sharing and electric, hybrid rechargeable and carsharing vehicles are now included. Each company sets in its company agreement the conditions and amount of this allowance. It is eligible for a social security and tax exemption of 400 euros per employee per year.
In the medium term, the investments made by companies in equipment will generate opportunities for savings. Greening vehicle fleets, for example, is a valuable lever for reducing expenditure by replacing fuel-hungry vehicles and promoting eco-driving, which can generate savings of up to 15%. These measures can reduce vehicle operating costs.
> Where to start?
Carrying out a mobility appraisal of your employees is a good place to start. You could also draw up an inventory of existing ecomobility initiatives within your organisation as well as those that could easily be implemented. Many companies work with public or private sector partners to develop their sustainable mobility policy and initiate concrete measures.
At Ocean/Orange Business Services, for example, we support companies in improving their fleet management and introducing an eco-driving initiative.