At a time when ever more companies are voluntarily auditing their carbon footprint, we will explain to you how to use this as a tool for making tangible progress in reducing your CO2 emissions and decarbonizing your activities.
The government is increasingly appealing for energy restraint, with a focus on companies. Although these appeals’ primary aim is to reduce the country’s exposure to the risk of gas and electricity shortages this winter, they also emphasize our economy’s extreme dependence on carbon energy sources and the urgency of progressing on the decarbonization front, motivated both by sovereignty considerations and to combat climate change. Companies have a valuable tool at their disposal in pursuing these two inextricably linked objectives: the carbon audit – provided they conduct it in accordance with the rules and make it an instrument of progress, and not an end in itself.
The carbon audit, the indispensable starting point
Currently in France, the requirement to conduct a greenhouse gas emissions audit (GHG audit) only concerns companies with more than 500 employees (250 outside metropolitan France). This audit also needs to be repeated every four years and be published on a dedicated ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) website, accompanied by a transition plan describing, on the one hand, what actions have been taken and results obtained since the previous audit and, on the other hand, what activities and resources are planned for the next four years.
It is interesting to note that ever more companies are embarking on this initiative despite not being required to do so. This is the case of a growing number of SMEs-SMIs who are not waiting until being compelled to do so by law to reduce their GHG emissions and, in a more general sense, their activities’ environmental impact. In voluntarily making this undertaking, they are merely anticipating future regulatory developments. In reality, they are laying the foundations of their competitiveness and attractiveness in a world in which performance is no longer judged solely in terms of financial criteria, but in terms of social and environmental responsibility as well.
Be that as it may and irrespective of company sector and size, conducting an initial carbon audit is an indispensable first step in knowing the company’s starting point and determining what it needs to address as a matter of priority in sustainably reducing its carbon footprint.
A priority area: reducing transport-related emissions
The areas in which a company can act to improve its carbon footprint vary considerably depending on what it does and the type of energy it consumes. However, in a country in which, notwithstanding current difficulties, electricity is primarily derived from nuclear power (and therefore decarbonized), the line-item which any company can address to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions is transport.
>> In France, transport is the biggest GHG-emitting sector. It is responsible for 28.7% of the country’s emissions, fully 94.7% of which is attributable to road transport* owing to the overwhelming preponderance of internal combustion engines, both for passenger and freight transport.
If working on this area has long since been self-evident for companies for which transport is their core business, those for which all or part of their business activity is based on mobile teams also have an interest in addressing this issue. They are far more numerous and diverse than you might imagine! Indeed, it is estimated that 40% of the French population are required by their work to be mobile, 27% of them because their job is inherently mobile (delivery personnel, drivers, taxis, ambulance staff…) and 13% because their occupation requires daily travel. This is the case of sales personnel, technicians calling on customers to provide installation or maintenance services, real estate experts and diagnosticians etc. Without forgetting all the home care and personal services professions.
In the case of a “simplified” GHG audit (scopes 1 and 2), all movements generated by these activities are included in calculating the company’s direct emissions (scope 1), irrespective of whether these journeys are made in vehicles belonging to the company or to the employees. For a truly comprehensive audit, however, the ADEME urges companies also to take account of GHG emissions arising from scope 3, which, among other indirect emissions, cover the employees’ travel movements between home and work. This source of emissions is far from negligible when one realizes that these journeys represent more than 60 km per day for 22% of the French working population and that another 21 percentage points use their car alone to reach their workplace, although their journey is less than 9 km**.
Switching to electricity, the best solution?
Among the solutions being proposed to companies to reduce their direct transport-related GHG emissions, switching to electricity is the most common. It is indeed the most radical way of decarbonizing transport. Transitioning companies to 100% electric fleets is an eminently appropriate solution for vehicle fleets. It is even more accessible as numerous State and local authority grants can be tapped to reduce the bill (electric vehicles continue on average to be between 20% and 30% more expensive than purchasing internal combustion vehicles).
>> But be aware: for the past year now, the steep rise in petrol and diesel prices has accelerated the transition of company vehicle fleets to electric. Manufacturers are struggling to meet the increased demand and are faced with a persistent shortage of semiconductors, which is considerably extending delivery timescales (more than one year for certain manufacturers).
On the other hand, as concerns truck and vans, electrification continues to be problematic. Although it is improving, the electric motor offering in these categories does not yet meet companies’ expectations, especially as regards range and price. This largely explains why, in 2022, 99% of HGVs are still running on diesel, with the remaining 1% primarily using CNG and, as an ultra-marginal phenomenon, electricity.
Optimizing movements, an under-estimated lever
The current focus on the electrification of vehicle fleets relegates one avenue for reducing GHG emissions, notwithstanding being available to every company, to a subordinate position: travel optimization, primarily relating to professional routes. Optimization consists in rationalizing mobile team movements and routes to reduce mileage and, consequently, internal combustion engine vehicle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
>> Companies using Nomadia’s software solutions to optimize their routes reduce their co-workers’ mileage by between 10% and 30%, as well as their CO2 emissions.
>> By better organizing routes both geographically and in terms of time, these companies increase by between 15% and 30% the number of daily calls or appointments a mobile co-worker can perform.
>> Rationalizing call-out territories and sectors also enables them to better use their vehicle fleet and even, in certain cases, reduce it while offering their mobile co-workers better working conditions.
That means that equipping yourself with an optimization solution enables you to make immediate savings and substantial productivity gains while significantly reducing your transport and movement-related CO2 emissions. And if, at the same time, you decide to modernize your fleet by switching to electric, our solutions can factor in this change, for example by including the location of charging stations and charging time in the route calculation.
What about indirect emissions?
As part of an overall transport decarbonization approach, companies also need to endeavor to reduce indirect emissions, typically those associated with journeys between work and home. Remote working is among the easiest solutions to implement but is not relevant, of course, to all jobs.
Mandatory for all companies with more than 50 employees, the introduction of an Employer Mobility Plan (PDME) enables companies to promote the adoption of transport modes other than the individual car, depending on their co-workers’ travel practices, their place of residence, the accessibility of their workplace, and existing travel options. Often featuring in the PDME, the Sustainable Mobility Package (Forfait Mobilité Durable – FMD) enables employees to benefit from financial support from their employer if they prioritize decarbonized transport options for their journeys between home and work or ones that emit less CO2 than an individual car: public transport, bicycle with or without electric assistance, scooter, carpooling and car sharing.
A non-negligible point, companies encouraging these practices as part of the FMD enjoy tax breaks and social insurance contributions of up to €600 per annum and per employee.
Starting on a sound foundation
Irrespective of the solutions your company is contemplating to reduce its transport-related CO2 emissions, the carrying out of a GHG audit is a must to confirm its relevance and to put in place a genuine transition plan. To ensure your audit complies with the rules, you need detailed data on your vehicle fleet and its use (number, types, engine type, weight, year of purchase, annual mileage for each vehicle). Our solutions centralize these data and update them over time to provide you with an estimate of your total CO2 emissions or, for a more targeted approach, by route, by vehicle, by group of vehicles, et.
But that is not all! To make life easier for you, Nomadia has teamed up with Sami, the platform that enables your company to “do its bit for the climate” by carrying out your carbon audit according to the Bilan Carbone® methodology and by creating a bespoke action plan. To make it easy for you to provide the data SAMI requires throughout the implementation of your low carbon plan, Nomadia’s optimization software products use the data format SAMI needs, thereby facilitating their export to the platform. One more reason to stop waiting and act now!
* Source: Ministry of Ecological Transmission / Data Lab – Key transport data – Edition 2022
** Source: Mobile Lives Forum – National mobility and lifestyles survey 2020