Representatives of several companies and public institutions gathered on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at the House of the EU in Ljubljana to firsthand learn about how some companies are successfully tackling mobility management. The interest in sustainable mobility management within organizations is in the rise, since the implementation of simple measures, such as various incentives and positive promotional activities, has an excellent effect on employees, and the investment can be recouped through the relief of office parking spaces. The Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Spatial Planning welcomes any assistance in transitioning our highly automotive society towards sustainable travel choices.
“It’s evident that we need to change our travel habits, as the commuting to work as we experience on daily basis benefits neither employers nor employees,” said Miro Smrekar from the Employers’ Association of Slovenia (ZDS), who organized the event as part of the SmartMOVE project. He agreed with Msc. Lilijana Madjar, the director of the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RRA LUR), who emphasized the need for systemic solutions for effective daily mobility. Madjar urged employers and employees to take various measures within their organizations to encourage sustainable commuting, applauding the innovative practices already implemented by many organizations.
Dechatlon took up managing of employee mobility as part of their global group’s strategic goal to reduce carbon footprint. As Tina Špenko, lead of sustainable development puts it, employees decide to start commuting sustainably due to rewards, but stay because of the satisfaction it brings. The company offers a reward of 21 cents for every kilometer traveled to work by public transport, walking, cycling, scooters, or carpooling. This supplement, limited to 50 EUR per month, is added to the payment for the monthly transportation ticket. They provide secure bike parking and showers and also offer internal discounts on the purchase of bikes and equipment. Additionally, they foster positive activities such as competitions between branches for accumulating kilometers and reward achievements.
IKEA Slovenia, aligning with their philosophy that the planet and people are not separate entities, embarked on addressing employee mobility as part of the SmartMOVE project. They received a mobility plan, and as a first result, Klara Lubej, a new member of the marketing team, took on the role of the mobility coordinator. IKEA in Ljubljana offers a variety of transportation options, including bike-sharing (BicikeLJ), e-bike sharing (Nomago) and car sharing (Avant To Go). They provided a secure bike storage facility with space for electric scooters and bikes, along with showers and changing rooms. Their future efforts will focus on encouraging more employees to commute to work without a car, including initiatives like bringing a bike service technician on-site and promoting carpooling within the team.
SIBO Group engaged a mobility coordinator through the SmartMOVE-related Trata 2.0 project. Miha Štucin was the logical choice, since he commutes from Kranj to Škofja Loka by bike every single day. By organizing activities such as monthly draws for practical rewards for cyclists, friendly competitions for accumulating kilometers with fancy awards, “winter cycling day” with breakfast at the firm, and participating in the national cycling initiative “Polni Zagona”, they managed to active additional 11% of employees to arrive to work sustainably. As part of the project, they received a modern bike storage facility, five company e-bikes and charging stations. The project leader from the Sora Development Agency, Katarina Sladoljev, highlighted that habit changes are possible only through continuous action, emphasizing the importance of industrial zones having managers who promote sustainability and address challenges of environmentally friendly mobility.
An innovative solution of carshearing piloted in the SmartMOVE project, aimed at reducing emissions in transportation, drew a lot attention. It involved transporting employees from home to work with vans (with a proffesional driver) at times tailored to the users’ needs. The daily transfers of 131 people from municipalities between Ljubljana and Kranj to their workplaces in BTC and UKC and back home ware managed by the project partner GoOpti. According to Marko Guček, CEO, the most pleasant aspect for users was the carefree journey, and the emissions were reduced by up to 70%. Guček suggests that with streamlining transportation, achieving critical mass, and (company or state) co-funding, they could bring the cost down to around 60 euros per month, making the service marketable. This is the way companies can contribute to emission reduction, provide greater transportation freedom for employees, and raise the attractiveness of workplaces, emphasises Guček.
In order to promote sustainable mobility, <b>Jožef Stefan Institute</b>
(JSI) is developing a certificate for organizations that take good care of sustainable mobility of their employees. The idea is that a company that monitors, actively supports, evaluates and, in the long term, improves the mobility of their employees towards sustainability is encouraged and awarded by an officially and publicly recognized certificate, which may, in perspective, bring advantages to such companies. Prof. Dr. <b>Marko Bohanec</b> from JSI announced a detailed presentation of the certificate in April 2024.
Regarding potential systemic measures, all speakers agreed that it might be time to redefine the classic transportation fee for it to support sustainability instead of rewarding longer commutes. However, this should not pose an additional burden for employers or reduce the net income for employees. Guček also suggested the introduction of a higher property tax on parking spaces. Polona Demšar Mitrovič from the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning participated in the debate, warmly welcoming the efforts of companies in the field of mobility management. She urged companies and institutions to systematically address initiatives and proposals to the relevant authorities, providing valuable insights for sensible planning of financial initiatives etc. Our socity, she added, is distinctly car-dependent, with only 4.9% of the population embracing sustainable mobility, and despite efforts, various guidelines, and co-financing of numerous sustainable mobility measures, the trend is not turning.
Although changing habits is exceptionally challenging, the effort to shift towards sustainable mobility is crucial, bringing numerous benefits for both companies and the community: cost reduction, increased competitiveness, reduced emissions and traffic congestion, opening the space for a better living environment.
Projekt SmartMOVE sofinancirajo Islandija, Lihtenštajn in Norveška s sredstvi Finančnega mehanizma EGP v višini 1.609.166,79 EUR. Namen projekta je blaženje podnebnih sprememb in prilagajanje nanje.