Corporate carbon footprint in France : the impact of fleets and the role of carsharing

In the context of the energy transition, public authorities in France and several other countries have taken measures to encourage companies to reduce the environmental impact of their activities.

In this context, specific measures apply to the adoption of more environmentally-friendly modes of mobility.

In this article, we’ll look at the definition of carbon footprinting, the latest regulatory measures applicable in France, the impact of fleets on carbon footprinting and the tools available to public and private fleet managers to reduce its scope.

Bilan Carbone: what is it?

A carbon footprint, also known as a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, is a tool for assessing all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated directly or indirectly by an activity, organization, product or individual. This is a measure of the carbon footprint associated with a specific entity.

The term “carbon” is often used generically to represent all greenhouse gases, although carbon dioxide (CO2) is often the main gas considered.

Carbon footprints can include other gases such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), converted to CO2 equivalents for standardized comparison.

The aim of a carbon footprint is to quantify greenhouse gas emissions in order to raise awareness of the environmental impact of an activity or organization.

It can be used as a basis for implementing emission reduction strategies and supporting efforts to combat climate change.

Carbon footprints can be produced at different scales, from individuals and companies to governments and entire countries.

Calculation methods vary according to the scope of the balance sheet, but generally include direct emissions (scope 1) from sources directly controlled by the entity, indirect emissions (scope 2) from external energy production used by the entity, and additional indirect emissions (scope 3) related to other activities in the value chain, such as raw materials production, product transport, etc.

Carbon audit: a regulatory obligation

Under current regulations, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be assessed through an increasingly rigorous carbon balance.

Since July 2011, in accordance with article 75 of law no. 2010-788 of July 12, 2010and its implementing decree, companies with more than 500 employees and local authorities with more than 50,000 inhabitants are required to carry out a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment (BEGES). These data must be updated every four years for companies and every three years for local authorities.

In 2022, major changes have been introduced to speed up the transition for companies.

  • Firstly, the scope of the BEGES has been broadened to include emissions resulting from the company’s indirect activities, such as raw materials procurement.
  • Next, the GHG assessment must be accompanied by a detailed transition plan with objectives, actions and resources.

Finally, in the event of failure to carry out a GHG assessment, penalties are increased from €1,500 to €10,000, with a possible increase to €20,000 in the event of a repeat offence.

The impact of fleets on the carbon footprint

Vehicle fleets play a significant role in a company’s or local authority’s carbon footprint. Every vehicle movement contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Travel can be linked to different activities and objectives: from the transport or supply of raw materials, to the transport of goods, to the movement of employees.

In the latter category, the impact on the carbon footprint is generated by business travel, commuting and employee travel in general. Encouraging more sustainable travel practices can help reduce this impact.

Carsharing: a lever for reducing the carbon impact of fleets

How can carsharing help reduce CO2 emissions for companies and local authorities, and thus have a positive impact on their carbon footprint?

It’s particularly when it comes to managing fleets dedicated to employee travel that a car-sharing solution can make a real difference.

Car-sharing is an innovative approach that enables employees to share the same vehicle. Car-sharing vehicles are available 24/7 for employees of a company or local authority.

Via a dedicated application, drivers can book the time slot of their choice, optimizing the use of each vehicle.

Car-sharing can help reduce a company’s CO2 emissions in a number of ways. Here are a few ways this can happen:

  • Optimizing travel: Car-sharing optimizes vehicle use by enabling several employees to use the same vehicle for business trips. This reduces the total number of vehicles required, which can lead to a smaller, more efficient fleet.
  • Reduced need for parking: A shared fleet can reduce the need for large parking spaces, encouraging smaller parking facilities potentially located closer to the workplace. This could reduce unnecessary travel and the associated CO2 emissions.
  • More efficient fleet management: Carsharing services often provide fleet management tools to track vehicle use, optimize routes and minimize downtime. These more efficient management practices can help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
  • Employee awareness: Using car-sharing services can raise employee awareness of the benefits of reducing CO2 emissions. Employees can be encouraged to choose more sustainable transport options, even outside the workplace.

A solid carsharing technology such as OpenFleet’ s contributes to and complements synergistically other levers for optimizing the carbon footprint, as we will highlight in the rest of this article.

Other levers for optimizing fleets’ carbon footprint

In addition to carsharing, there are a number of other solutions that can be implemented to reduce the CO2 emissions of a vehicle fleet, and consequently its carbon footprint.

Modernizing the fleet with electric vehicles

Increasing the proportion of electric vehicles in the fleet is undoubtedly the most effective eco-responsible action.

Electric vehicles emit no carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making them inherently less polluting than combustion-powered vehicles. What’s more, maintenance costs for electric vehicles are 30% lower. Financial incentives and tax breaks are also available to support the electrification of corporate fleets.

OpenFleet’s car-sharing solution is adaptable to all types of vehicle, including electric vehicles.

Optimum fleet maintenance

Regular fleet maintenance has a direct impact on fuel consumption and, consequently, on greenhouse gas emissions.

Following manufacturers’ recommendations, such as checking tire pressure, fluid levels, under-bonnet inspection, chassis cleaning and monitoring for suspicious noises, can improve fleet fuel efficiency.

The carsharing box integrates alert and monitoring systems to facilitate fleet maintenance, including :

  • Measure fuel level to plan refuelling.
  • Battery state-of-charge monitoring for electric vehicles (EV).
  • Providing information on the remaining range of electric vehicles (EVs).

In addition, OpenFleet’s car-sharing box offers features such as remote diagnostics, facilitating the remote detection of mechanical problems and helping to reduce vehicle downtime, as well as predictive maintenance by monitoring vehicle condition to plan preventive maintenance.

Geolocation for optimized route management

Geolocation can be used to optimize routes and identify irregular use of vehicles outside working hours. The car-sharing box allows you to check the vehicle’s GPS position at the start and end of shared use.

Encouraging responsible driving behaviour

Helping employees to drive in an eco-responsible way can lead to a significant reduction in fleet fuel costs, by up to 40%.

Avoiding jerky driving, engine-on stops or unoptimized trips helps reduce fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions.

A car-sharing box can be used to assess users’ driving behavior, offering benefits from an insurance point of view too. Depending on the driver’s behavior, insurance premiums can be adjusted.

In conclusion, fleet optimization is a crucial issue for companies wishing to reduce their carbon footprint.

Car-sharing, fleet electrification, efficient maintenance and intelligent route management are all levers available to contribute to more sustainable, environmentally-friendly mobility.

With the new regulations, it is in the interests of companies to integrate these practices into their overall strategy in order to meet the growing demands of environmental responsibility.