How EY is developing a mobility solution for its employees
Winner of Fleet Europe's award for the European Smart Mobility Manager of the Year, EY's Marc Wittenberg, explains how the professional services company (formerly known as Ernst & Young) is creating clean, green travel options.
How does corporate mobility fit into the overall EY strategy and why is it important for your organisation and employees?
"Sustainability is one of the most important pillars in the global EY organization’s overall business strategy, and it has announced its plans to become net zero in 2025," says Marc Wittenberg, Center of Excellence Lead Automotive Mobility, EY (pictured below).
"With such an ambitious target, is absolutely necessary to take next steps in realizing a greener fleet and facilitate green and sustainable mobility solutions.
Corporate mobility is therefore very important as it is a facilitator to (1) meet with our clients, (2) as a benefit to attract and retain professionals and (3) it gives us the tool to contribute to corporate goals.
It is also a nice tool to give our professionals the opportunity to contribute to corporate sustainability targets themselves, by using the flexibility given."
When did you and your company start with the mobility journey?
"For many years, the global EY organisation has offered a variety of transport solutions to its professionals, like e-bikes and car sharing services, in addition to public transport, providing flexibility that its professionals ask for and appreciate. Sometimes, it is more convenient to take the metro, underground, or even a bike to visit clients in city centres.
But in 2021, in the Netherlands, there was a need to facilitate even more flexible sustainable transportation solutions for EY professionals and to start reporting on carbon emissions."
Was it seen as an add-on on the fleet strategy or as a new start of something different?
"The Mobility as a Services (MAAS) solution the global EY organisation offers is meant to be an additional service that it is providing to their professionals, not to replace company cars. Company cars are a part of the EY mobility offering."
What mobility strategy pillars have you developed, and where? And with what success?
"The EY Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services’ Automotive Mobility Center of Excellence’s strategy is: 'Sustainability, the new premium'.
It is about how we take the courage to lead with innovative mobility solutions as the global EY organisation trusts its professionals and give them the freedom and flexibility to contribute in an important way to the reduction of all of our ecological footprints.
The strategy is based on four pillars:
- Smart and innovative
Through innovation, the global EY organisation is building true value with a clear win-win for the professional, the global EY organisation and the planet.
- Truly sustainable
The global EY organisation wants to achieve further reduction of its ecological footprint.
The global EY organisation is looking for real, sustainable solutions. By pioneering in this area, we show our courage and our authenticity. Building a better working world is in our DNA, and we are not satisfied by just proposing window-dressing solutions.
- Positive stimulation
The trend is to offer a wide range of incentives to help enable a shift toward more flexible and sustainable transport in a positive way, not by penalising."
How did you select the mobility initiatives for your people and how did you decide on the roadmap for rollout?
"These mobility initiatives are based on the demands of our professionals and what is available in the market. It is in our interest to give our professionals the opportunity to contribute to corporate sustainability targets.
Additionally, feedback from our recruiters is being used to determine what to offer to our professionals, as they are talking to potential new colleagues. The same applies to the roll-out. In many countries and big cities, traffic congestion is a problem. Zero- and low-emission zones are appearing, so we need to be prepared to adapt other ways to reach our offices and clients."
How do you deal with the fact that not every market is as mature when it comes to mobility?
"That is a very difficult challenge, as in many countries, there is basically no alternative to the car due to many factors, such as limited public transport in the countryside regions, very high temperatures during summer time, or very cold temperatures during winter time. Therefore, it is my opinion that organisations like Fleet Europe are necessary to bring together users, market and innovation. Local development can move so quickly that is difficult for other organizations and policies to keep up. Nevertheless, innovation is at the centre of the Automotive Mobility Center of Excellence’s strategy, so the global EY organisation would like to leverage it as much as possible."
How do you manage mobility? With what tool, solution?
"The Automotive Mobility Center of Excellence is managing fleet and mobility with 10 very experienced team members covering 23 countries. These team members are the spokespersons for the regions they are operating in.
In most cases, local contract managers are managing local fleet and mobility contracts, and I am managing all international agreements; for example, with car manufacturers and leasing companies.
When it comes to innovation, in the Netherlands, the global EY organisation is facilitating different mobility solutions via a mobility platform from the company Mobility Concept. All mobility options are offered via an app, which shows different transportation options when planning a trip from Point A to Point B, giving instant insight in trip duration, costs and carbon emissions. This way, our professionals can choose the best suitable option at that moment in time. The tool has been live for four months, and the results are great so far. The app is very easy to use and we have both very high employee satisfaction and more data on business travel, which in the end is necessary to be able to report according Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) reporting standards."
What is next on your agenda and do you foresee new initiatives and a decrease of your fleet?
"Continuously improving the strategy by taking employee satisfaction into consideration and making necessary adjustments as needed in policy, but also in offering.
An open source mobility platform is a great tool to facilitate a lot of changes as the market for shared services is developing very quickly, and new companies are offering new services in different areas every day. For the platform to be successful, countrywide transportation coverage is key.
Decreasing our fleet is not a goal that the global EY organisation is looking at, although the quickest way to reduce carbon emissions is not to travel at all. So, it is very important to create awareness on necessity of travel and encourage EY professionals to ask themselves, “Do I really need to go to the office, or can we meet somewhere else that is closer? Do we have to meet in person at all?” When answering these questions, employees will automatically see that the need for having a car could also change when alternatives are offered. On the other hand, the global EY organisation specialises in a variety of professional services and therefore, travel will always be necessary at any point of time. Still, alternative mobility options could make a difference.
What I do see is that cars are becoming very expensive and without governmental support, many professionals may ask themselves, “Do I really want to have a company car when it is only used a few times a month for business purposes?” This is especially important when working with budgets, because budgets can be used to change behaviour by using financial incentives. For example, when having a company car, your budget is spent. When using alternatives, such as short-term leases or public transport subscriptions, the total spend could be less than your budget, which would then be paid as additional salary at the end of each month. Or, we could incentivise the use of e-bikes for commuting by refunding more money per km driven than before. In other words, a platform for alternative mobility options gives the opportunity to change behaviour and increase employee satisfaction at the same time."
Marc's four tips for fleet and mobility colleagues who are setting up a mobility program
- Develop global, regional and local mobility strategies.
- Create awareness by communicating current status, possibilities and pros and cons (data driven).
- Get buy-in from leadership.
- Go for it. Implement, start pilots and start exploring. Piloting is absolutely necessary to gain experience and to be able to improve your services offered to your professionals.
The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organisation or its member firms.
Images: EY, Mobility Concept, Shutterstock