"This is not a policy against cars"
A 25% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 10% reduction in kilometres driven by 2021. Those are the ambitious targets Deloitte Belgium set. Fleet Europe spoke with CEO Piet Vandendriessche, winner of the 2019 Belgian Mobility Manager of the Year award together with Fleet and Mobility Manager Annelies Vermeire.
“Many services we offer are provided at our clients’ offices all over Belgium or abroad. So there’s no understating the importance of mobility,” said Piet Vandendriessche, CEO Deloitte Belgium. Together with Annelies Vermeire, Fleet and Mobility Manager, he has overhauled his company’s mobility policy.
“Benefit cars with generous taxation advantages are a strictly Belgian thing,” said Mr Vandendriessche. “Other countries also have benefit cars, but their fiscal advantage is much lower.”
“Of course, this means we have a higher CO2 footprint than Deloitte member firms in other countries. Nevertheless, I’m convinced our carbon footprint isn’t really higher if we take into account the fact that Deloitte staff in other countries often use their own personal car.”
“In our case, buildings make up 9% of our CO2 footprint, international travel 22% and vehicles 69%. We’ve already improved our building’s carbon footprint by 40% by moving to the Gateway building at Brussels Airport and we’re confident we can reduce our vehicle footprint, too.”
Reaching these ambitious targets requires support from the executive team and from the CEO. Ms Vermeire has obtained this backing, as evidenced by the fact that this interview was done with the CEO.
A positive plan
“Our mobility plan is a positive plan. Deloitte wants to take up its responsibility as a sustainable actor in Belgium by encouraging its employees to consider all available alternative modes of transport. It is not a plan against the car,” stated Mr Vandendriessche.
“We’re a client-facing business and in some cases, a car guarantees our clients the standards they expect from us in terms of speed, availability and mobility. That may be the case for clients based in locations that are less (or not at all) accessible by public transport. On the other hand, we want to encourage our people to make a conscious mobility choice, in order to achieve two greater goals: helping reduce our CO2 footprint and helping solve traffic congestion.”
Deloitte not only offers a varied range of alternative transportation modes, such as public transport, (shared) bikes, shared cars, reimbursement of parking costs at the train station, the organisation also encourages flexibility in terms of the location employees can work from: at home or at one of the 12 regional offices.
This aspect is crucial, as it supports the holistic nature of Mobility@Deloitte. By reducing the act of travelling itself, staff can limit their carbon footprint.
Deloitte has harmonised its car park, reducing it from 132 to 15 models and instated a CO2 cap on emissions. The company is also transitioning from a diesel only policy into a policy where drivers can use diesel, petrol, hybrid or electric cars, depending on the usage case.
“As part of our sustainable mobility plan, our objective is to systematically introduce EVs in our fleet and incentivise them by offering wallboxes to employees who opt for an electric car, charging cards and reimbursement of home charging costs. There are also charging stations at the office,” said Mr Vandendriessche.
As part of a responsible mileage plan, Deloitte is targeting a 10% reduction in kilometres driven by the organisation’s employees. “We’re not there yet, but the turning-point has clearly been reached,” said Mr Vandendriessche. “In addition to Deloitte’s multimodal mobility offer, the organisation stimulates responsible mileage. Unlimited mileage covered by the organisation does not reflect the philosophy of sustainable mobility.”
Deloitte Belgium has its head office at Brussels Airport, a mobility hub. Their office in the Gateway building is easily accessible by public transport. “By bringing alternatives closer to our people, we encourage them to choose mobility options tailored to suit their individual needs.”
“In the long term, our new policy should be a zero-sum game,” said Mr Vandendriessche. “At this moment, though, we are investing to install additional charging infrastructure and offer multimodal mobility options.”
Deloitte is helping its staff find the best mobility option for each trip, encouraging them to consider alternative modes of transportation.
Deloitte uses a combination of existing MaaS platforms and their own mobility app, Get To Work. The company also has a dedicated team to counsel staff on the best mobility option.
Lead by example
Through various campaigns like a Bike to work week or a Carpool week, Deloitte wants to raise awareness of the options. “We want to challenge people’s mobility habits, and we notice a positive effect. More people are using public transport and using their bike to come into the office than before. Since the launch of our mobility plan last June, nearly half of our people have opted for a positive change.”
“These campaigns serve a double purpose,” said Mr Vandendriessche. “We want to encourage people to try out something new but we also hope they will motivate each other to do so. In that respect, I have decided to come into the office by train or by bike at least once a week, too. I have also swapped my car for an electric BMW i3.”
Image: Piet Vandendriessche, CEO and Annelies Vermeire, Fleet and Mobility Manager, Deloitte, winner of the 2019 Belgian Mobility Manager of the Year award