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04/05/2016
CORPORATE FLEET: A "GREEN" OUTLOOK

Social value

 

A convention sponsored by Gruppo Italia Energia along with ABI Energia on the environmental impact of Corporate Fleets

Paolo Castiglia

Assigning a social value to a brand, from taking into account both environmental protection and public health, to the creation  and managing process of corporate fleets. The aim is to transform the general perspective of the sector from a mere economic resource to an opportunity of service to the community, which translates into a growing attention to fleet management, a tighter control over fuel consumption and possibly the introduction of electric vehicles. These were the key elements that emerged during the convention “Flotte aziendali, quali vantaggi oltre il green” (Corporate fleet, looking beyond environmental benefits), sponsored by Gruppo Italia Energia and Abi Energia to show the results of a research performed by ABI Lab, the center for research and banking innovation promoted by the Italian Banking Association.

It all stems from a 360° observation on how Corporate fleets are created and managed, especially in view of the rather delicate subject of fuel consumption, and its economic and financial implications.

A mobility, that is, on the one hand essential for all firms and credit institutions, which were the primary object of the research, and on the other aims at becoming “greener”, as explained during the Convention by Giorgio Recanati, ABI’s senior research analyst.

An additional key issue emerged during the convention: company cars, besides being a necessary resource, represent a considerable cost for companies.

But what would happen if these cars were, through proper management, to become an added social value? At the Conference, the type of environmental impact of large  corporate fleets using “eco-friendly” cars was carefully evaluated and analyzed. Behind this new outlook on corporate fleets there was a study carried out by Abi Energia specifically for the event, in which many variables were analyzed, such as the impact of vehicle costs on the banking sector as well as a careful analysis of  other costs, not to mention the environmental impact of harmful emissions.

ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies) provided the technological input, while Macchi Studio highlighted the regulatory framework, while mobility managers and best corporate practices were represented by Adriano Claudio Violini, BNP Paribas and Antonio De Crescenzo from the Union of Municipalities of Valle Dell’Orco.

A key point which clearly emerged during the proceedings, was that if companies included Bi-fuel and Hybrid vehicles to their car list, this would have a huge impact, especially in terms of cost-benefit analysis, such as, for example, the reduction of fuel costs, not to mention the environmental impact following the reduction of noise level and the near absence of harmful exhaust gases. Furthermore, this choice would not only positively affect the economic interests of the companies involved, but also greatly contribute towards increasing their Brand Reputation.

Also other sustainable transport methods were considered, from the carpooling to bikes and scooters not to mention travel facilities for employees and customers who commit to reach the work place in an eco-friendly way.

A key point involved all banking institutions: mobility can become a means to integrate concepts of sustainability, and as such deserves to be developed by all banks headquartered in the Italian Peninsula.

As explained by Giorgio Recanati, ABI’s senior research analyst: "100% of surveyed institutes have identified the reduction of the overall energy consumption of the banks, which goes hand in hand with the reduction of emissions, the primary target to be achieved in terms of environmental sustainability, followed by sustainable mobility. Thirdly, the reduction of the average energy consumption by new agencies".

At the same time the research showed that 57% of the respondents have formed teams to facilitate the achievement of energy and environmental goals, while a little less than half of the organizations involved have a mobility manager. In addition to mobility, sustainable procurement, the integration of environmental principles in purchasing procedures, also came under the spotlight.

From the surveys, what emerged was that 57.1% of the banks performed an economic evaluation on a possible transition to electric cars. Meanwhile, 42.9% of them already started building charging infrastructures, although, at the moment, company cars in credit institutions are on average 4 per 100 employees, with an age of less than 4 years in 86 % of cases and with a long-term rental formula in 96.74% of examined cases.

 

                                                                                    

 

ENEA: The new frontier: putting different electrical sources together.

 

According to the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, the real challenge for the future is increasing the energy storage capacity of zero-emission vehicles as well as increasing the re-charging speed of electric vehicles. ENEA is leading the way in spearheading technological developments in sustainable mobility, with a dedicated staff of 20 specialists.

As stated by Gaetano Valenti, ENEA researcher: "We are currently busy in developing WiFi charging systems. At the same time we are evaluating alternative fuels including natural gas-hydrogen mixtures. The new frontier of research is putting different electrical sources together. Beginning from renewable sources, the only ones that can make lithium powered cars truly zero emission vehicles. Equally important also, is the creation of power sources for steady accumulation, making it possible to have charging stations in places where it would be uneconomical to build traditional infrastructure".

The storage system, designed for electric minibuses and only for relatively short routes, and developed by ENEA in collaboration with the universities of Pisa and Rome provides for 24 lithium batteries rechargeable in five minutes during the last stop at the bus terminus. The most prestigious goal, however, which could launch Italy towards zero-emission mobility, is the induction charging system currently being developed with the University of Padua.

 

 

 

Sharing mobility, Apps and sustainable Urban Mobility Plans

 

But what are, concretely, the solutions for a truly eco-friendly corporate fleet? Sharing mobility, Apps and urban mobility plans represent just some of the answers for the development of a real sustainable mobility system, i.e. a public and private transport system that respects the environment cutting down on harmful emissions. In fact, sustainable mobility requires a complete change in our lifestyle. A reasonable goal could be reducing the number of individual car and motorcycle trips below 50% within the next three years with a final target of 35% by 2050. How? First of all through shared mobility: from car sharing to the park sharing, from bike sharing to car pooling.

Sharing mobility is, in fact, the new way to move around the city. According to the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Italy there are more than 100 bike sharing initiatives, with over 10,000 bikes available, about 6,000 cars in car sharing (only 700 in 2011) with 500,000 users in the first months of the year and a projection for the year 2020 of 12 million users worldwide with an annual  turnover of 6.2 billion Euros.

The growth of this form of sharing is partly due its free float system in which the cars, instead of having a fixed parking place, can be taken and dropped anywhere within an established area. Car2go and Enjoy, present in Milan, Rome, Florence and Turin, are the two best known realities with a total of nearly 4,000 car available and with 180,000 and 270,000 registered users respectively.

Not only within a city. Traveling "out of town" is also possible through Blablacar, a ride-sharing service based on a network of drivers who provide a lift to share part of a journey with other people. In 24 months, thanks to this app, 500 thousand tons of fuel were saved and 1 million tons of CO2 was not released into the atmosphere. And, if the company is good, even going to work can be a pleasant experience. This is demonstrated by the success of Jojob, a car pooling service company that brings together colleagues from the same company, or neighboring firms, to share the journey between home and the work place. An initiative that to date involves more than 50 large-sized companies, and in 2015 alone reduced CO2 emissions by 30 tons. Apps about car sharing, car pooling, ride sharing not to mention bike sharing. Sustainable mobility is now just a click away.

The smartphone becomes, in fact, a tool to organize your physical movement thanks to the numerous apps that provide real-time information on mobility. An important starting point for improving mobility in Italian cities, are also represented by Urban Mobility Plans.

A widespread adoption of UMP could make, in fact, a valuable contribution towards developing a “greener” economy, increasing the number of vehicles and fuels with a low environmental impact, IT services that help to streamline urban mobility as well as technologies that can reduce the need to travel through the use of computer and apps.

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