Driven by the public authorities and the economic crisis, ecomobility is entering the business realm and is gradually joining the list of concerns of decision-makers. Also known as sustainable mobility, ecomobility refers to activities undertaken to limit the environmental impact of business travel and to improve the health and safety of users.
Vehicle fleet management solutions , two- or four-wheel electric vehicles, public or shared transport, the list goes on. There are more and more options for businesses to improve their management of mobility problems. The level of knowledge of these solutions, and of sustainable mobility in general, varies from one company to another.
How much do companies know about ecomobility? What do their employees think of it? What benefits do they hope to gain from it? Are regulatory measures and the pandemic having an impact on sustainable mobility policies? In this article, business decision-makers and employees talk to us about the latest trends identified by the exclusive series of surveys conducted by OpinionWay for ecomob.com.
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 100 mobility managers or business leaders in companies with more than 100 employees.
Ecomobility is considered an important or very important subject for 8 out of 10 French employees. However, only 53% of business leaders consider it important or very important.
And the subject still remains quite vague. Only 4 out of 10 employees can explain at least roughly what it is.
Implementing it in practice in everyday travel is not easy: 57% of employees think that switching to ecomobility is difficult or even impossible to do.
The main obstacles mentioned by employees are the lack of alternatives available for them to make use of ecomobility for business travel.
A lack of access to public transport is the first barrier mentioned, followed by the incompatibility of ecomobility with their current hours and journey length, particularly in the case of switching to cycling.
Employees also remain sceptical about car-sharing: 31% say they are reluctant to share their daily commute and 26% think it might be difficult to leave at a fixed time at the end of the day.
Ecomobility is considered an important subject by more than half of the decision-makers questioned, who have a general understanding of the concept without being able to define it clearly.
The companies that feel least empowered to develop an ecomobility policy mention primarily internal reasons for this: lack of budget (45%) and lack of inclination from senior management (43%).
Companies engaged in ecomobility describe themselves as quick, agile and aware, forming a solid, powerful and united team.
They are based in the regions, and their premises are easily accessible. Outside Île de France, more than half of companies have already launched a sustainable mobility policy. In the Paris area, fewer than 1 in 3 companies have done so.
Accessibility also counts: only 16% of companies considered inaccessible have already introduced ecomobility initiatives; for companies considered accessible the figure is 54%.
They are mobilised. Companies that have developed policies on ethical and environmental issues are more able to engage with ecomobility. This is particularly true for companies with a CSR or responsible purchasing policy.
The majority of companies envisage having to rely on external private or public players to support them with implementing their sustainable mobility policy.
In particular they plan to rely on the public authorities (67%) as a key player, but also on public transport operators (60%) and the new mobility sector (56%) (start-ups, electric bike rental companies, etc.)
Vehicle fleet hire or management companies are mentioned as priority partners by more than 1 in 2 decision-makers for companies in Île de France and companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Companies that raise employees’ awareness regarding the advantages of ecomobility first mention the benefits in terms of quality of life (73%) followed by those related to environmental impact (62%), ahead of arguments linked to road safety (50%).
Meanwhile, when asked what would encourage them to change to a different mode of transport over time, employees primarily mentioned financial reasons: some 44% would hope to save money.
Then came the desire to help the environment by reducing travel or by choosing less polluting modes of transport (35%), followed by the expected health benefits (31%).
Whereas the strikes only had a partial effect on companies’ willingness to further promote remote working (45% were not in favour of it after the strike), the pandemic massively accelerated the use of this practice, which is becoming widespread.
The pandemic has also encouraged people to travel using private means of transport. Cycling, walking and using petrol/diesel cars have all been encouraged more by companies since the epidemic.
There are an increasing number of people cycling: half of company decision-makers plan to provide more cycle parking on site and 14% a fleet of bicycles.
Very few (5%) however, plan to offer new modes of transport for their employees.
This is particularly the case among companies with more than 500 employees (92%) and companies outside Paris (95%), though they are not familiar with the details. Only one third of decision-makers can give a precise explanation of what a mobility plan is.
The obligation to include commuting as a topic in the mandatory annual negotiations is not fully known (around 57% of companies), whereas more than 7 out of 10 companies knew about the sustainable mobility allowance and the obligation to accelerate the ‘greening’ of company vehicle fleets.
The majority of companies think that the law is a good thing (83%), though it does not stir any particular interest (a consequence of lack of familiarity). It is also seen more as a legislative lever to help the environment rather than businesses or employees.
Fewer than 1 in 10 organisations have already taken action to comply with the law, and only 1 in 3 are currently taking action Less than half of companies feel prepared for compliance with the law – which is no surprise given the lack of knowledge on the details of its application.
Among those that are ready: 37% carried out a mobility appraisal of their employees and one third has introduced an employer mobility plan.
The greening of vehicle fleets is the area where the most action has been taken, followed by remote working and the introduction of assistance to promote cycling.
Want to make progress with ecomobility? And what if you started there?
Ocean supports companies when it comes to mobility by optimising the management of their vehicle fleets. We offer solutions for: