Sustainable mobility: carrot or stick?

July 13, 2022

Since 2015, the number of Eneco employees who travel sustainably has risen from 40 to 71 per cent. How did this power company make that happen? While your employees may already travel sustainably outside of work, how can you get them to do that on their commute too?

Eneco wants to be climate-neutral in 2035, according to an article in de Volkskrant1 from 20 April. It’s been working on this ever since the Paris climate accord in 2015. The company has taken all kinds of more or less coercive measures to make its employees more aware and get them to travel more sustainably. For example, only electric cars and cars with extremely low CO2 emissions are permitted in the car park. New leased cars have to be electric. And the mileage allowance has been reduced from 17 to 11 cents. These are the ‘sticks’. But there are also ‘carrots’. One of these is a public transport smart card that employees can use for personal travel as well. And employees who buy a new bicycle receive a 1,500 euro allowance from the company.

The figures at Eneco show that a balanced mobility plan can work. It’s a combination of coercion and largely financial incentives. The main advice that Eneco HR manager Tineke de Wolff gives in de Volkskrant is to create support. And that starts by talking things through with the Staff Council, she says. Everybody needs to be made aware of the importance of sustainable mobility. Only then can you work together on a package of measures.

The National Business Mobility Survey 2021 (NZMO) shows that many employees are open to making their mobility more sustainable. But wanting something isn’t the same as doing it. Which is why companies themselves need to take the initiative.

Wesley van der Wal, head of mobility BNP Paribas Arval

And that’s exactly what’s happening. The survey shows that in 2021, 48% of all companies surveyed stimulated the use of electric cars. In 2020 that was still 39%. Use of a company bike has also risen significantly: from 17% to 30%. These are signs that business mobility is starting to get greener. But it takes more than just a bunch of ideas. You need a plan – a plan for reducing your company’s total transport CO2 emissions to an absolute minimum. Eneco has shown that it can be done.

Have you also been working on a plan like this for your company? How can you turn your employees into ‘green’ business travellers? We’d love to hear about your experiences and what you’ve learnt.

Wesley van der Wal, Head of Mobility at BNP Paribas Arval Nederland.

1 Original article in Dutch: Werknemers Eneco moeten verduurzamen – al dan niet met lichte dwang: ‘Wie eenmaal in de trein zit, went daar snel aan’ (