ABN Amro's ambitious plan to go carbon-neutral
ABN Amro, the third-largest bank in the Netherlands, aims to be carbon-neutral by 2020. That is no small feat for an organisation with a fleet of 2,400 vehicles – among the 20 biggest in the country. But a new, multimodal mobility plan is already delivering results.
The bank's ambition to eliminate CO2 emissions by 2020 is in line with the Paris Agreement (2015), at which 195 countries committed to reduce global warming.
Since two-thirds of the company's emissions are related to mobility, it was clear that a radically different mobility plan would be necessary.
To that end, ABN Amro set up a steering committee called Mobiliteitsmix (Mobility Mix), facilitated by Lysbeth van Silfhout (pictured), an external expert in change management, and composed of managers from the departments responsible for facilities, sustainability, purchasing, commerce and benefits.
“These managers report directly to the Board of Directors. That direct line to top management was important for this project”, Van Silfhout told the Dutch magazine Fleet & Mobility, which in November reported extensively on ABN Amro's new mobility plan.
The three over-arching goals of the comprehensive mobility plan are: Sustainability, Transparency and Flexibility. On the ground, those lofty targets translate into concrete actions in three fields, summarised by the acronym APK.
A stands for Autokilometers – reducing the overall mileage of ABN Amro's fleet. P is for Parkeerplaatsen: reducing the number of parking spots at ABN offices. And K stands for Keuzemogelijkheden, offering employees a range of mobility choices.
Van Silfhout stresses the importance of the K field, as this is how the company aims to reward employees for the sacrifices they will have to make in the first A and P fields. For example: a reduction in parking places at a certain office could be compensated by a company-sponsored park & ride solution, allowing employees to carry out most of their commute via public transport instead of a car.
ABN Amro offices usually are located close to train stations, which facilitates the switch to the park & ride option. Which is why the Amsterdam HQ will be reducing its parking permits – 100 per year from 2016 to 2020.
Subscription or allowance
But the first and foremost part of the new plan is mileage reduction. All new employees now get a subscription to public transport – which they can waive in exchange for a travel allowance of €0.19/km, capped at €270/month (i.e. about 40 km/day; the average ABN Amro employee lives 33 km from their office). About two-thirds of new employees keep the subscription, and over 30% of total staff uses public transport to commute.
ABN Amro has a total of 18,000 employees in the Netherlands, of whom about 5,000 at HQ in Amsterdam. Two-thirds of the 2,400 company vehicles are benefit cars, the remainder are required for the job.
Benefit cars are reserved for managers and specialists in the highest echelons. However, they are offered a mobility budget rather than a car. They can use that budget (from €777 to €860) to choose a car from a range of vehicles across all brands – but capped at a certain CO2 emissions level (116 g/km for petrol cars, 106 g/km for diesels, to be revised downward in future); or they can spend that budget on other means of transport.
For employees who need their vehicles in the pursuit of their job, the choice is now limited to five selected car models: the Lexus CT 200h automatic, Opel Astra Tourer 1.0T Business+, Peugeot 308 SW 1.2 Puretech Bluelease Executive, Seat Leon ST Style connected 1.0 Eco TSI, and the Toyota Auris Touring 1.8 Hybrid Business Pro automatic.
Not too expensive
All lease drivers can also apply for a public transport subscription, but can only use it on one strict condition: “If the employees use public transport, their company vehicle cannot be used simultaneously.”, says Van Silfhout.
Electric cars are another carbon-friendly transport option, one that has been taken up by 50 employees so far – Tesla is the most popular option, followed by BMW i3, Mercedes-Benz B-Class and (one) Renault Zoé. ABN Amro has increased the number of charging stations at the corporate offices. EV or PHEV drivers also get a charging station at home. But the strong recommendation for those wanting an electric vehicle nevertheless is that they can drive from home to work and back without recharging.
ABN Amro also actively promotes a Fietsplan (bicycle plan), offering employees a budget of €800 for a bike and €1,200 for an e-bike, with dedicated space for parking and charging the bikes. If users buy the bikes, they get a tax benefit. If they lease, the bank pays the supplier an amount, which lowers the monthly lease fee for the users.
Car-sharing is another way to reduce mileage: 30 leased vehicles across the country, with the aim of adding 10 per year.
Working at home is the ultimate mileage reduction scheme, of course. Project Yello will roll out that option to all employees.
The steering committee will continue to meet twice yearly to evaluate the progress and monitor the reduction of CO2 emission, and if necessary to adjust the course of all new mobility initiatives.
Car-sharing via Amber Mobility app
In a pilot project executed together with Athlon, start-up Amber Mobility will provide the Eindhoven branch of ABN Amro with BMW i3 cars to ensure its employees are mobile when necessary. The Amber app will help determine when and where the shared cars need to be available.
The aim for Amber is that every new customer joins a mobility hub, in which companies share a growing fleet of eco-friendly pool vehicles. If the pilot is able to guarantee mobility to its employees, ABN Amro may scale it up to other locations and eventually introduce it as a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept.
This article has been written with the support of Fleet & Mobility.