Why reducing business travel emissions is so important – PODCAST

Clarasys chats to Sebastien Thomas, Commercial Director at TripShift about why decarbonising transport emissions is imperative and what to do about it. 

Why reducing business travel emissions is so important – PODCAST

Clarasys chats to Sebastien Thomas, Commercial Director at TripShift about why decarbonising transport emissions is imperative and what to do about it. 

Clarasys-presents-Simply-Sustainability-podcast

Meet the authors

Sam Maguire

Sustainability Consultant

TripShift help companies, track, reduce, mitigate and disclose transport-related carbon emissions through their automated carbon tracking platform.

In the thirteenth episode of ‘Clarasys presents: Simply Sustainability’, Clarasys’ Sam Maguire chats to TripShift’s commercial director, Sebastien Thomas, about why decarbonising travel emissions is so important for businesses, challenges that arise that can cause setbacks for progression and how organisations can start making a difference in this space.

Listen here or read on for an edited transcript.

Sam Maguire:  Welcome to our Simply Sustainability Podcast presented by Clarasys. In this series, we look at what can sometimes be the intimidating topic of sustainability and break it down into digestible bite-sized chunks to help you on your way to a more sustainable future.

In today’s podcast, I’m absolutely delighted to be talking to Seb from TripShift who provide automated carbon tracking for employee commutes, business, travel, and transport. So let’s start with some introductions. So I’m here with Sebastien Thomas, the commercial director of TripShift. Seb, could you tell us a little bit about you and your role at TripShift? 

Sebastien Thomas: Yeah. So, hi everyone pleasure to be here, Sam. Thanks for having me. I’m Sebastian Thomas. As Sam just mentioned, I’m the Commercial Director at TripShift. So my role is essentially to engage customers and make sure the product is running efficiently and, you know, bringing our product to market.

Sam Maguire: Fantastic. It’s great to have you, Seb. So in this podcast, we’re gonna be talking all about TripShift’s purpose and the impact that you want to create, particularly on the way that we move. So could you start off by you telling us a little bit about your mission and purpose at TripShift? What is it that you’re trying to do?

What is TripShift’s mission and purpose?

Sebastien Thomas: Yeah, so what we’re trying to do at TripShift is help businesses and communities decarbonize their transport emissions. And the way we do that, you know, first of all is we break down the barriers that are preventing them from actually focusing on the reducing aspect of their emissions rather than scrambling to collect the data.

Sam Maguire: Got it. That makes a lot of sense. And I guess, why is this important? Why is it that you think this is a valuable pursuit? 

Why is it important for businesses and communities to decarbonize their travel emissions?

Sebastien Thomas: Well, as much as I personally enjoy the very warm weather that we’ve had in London so far, I noticed most people didn’t and I think it just reemphasises that we’re seeing a very accelerating trend when it comes to climate and climate change and that it’s having obviously a huge impact on our day-to-day lives and more frequently so than before.

Transport in itself comes to about, depending on the statistics you look at, 20- 25% of global emissions. And it’s a sector that we set out because there’s actually a lot of solutions already out there, and there’s a lot of quick wins that both businesses and communities could do to actually quite drastically reduce their carbon emissions.

And in addition to that, of course, there are all the longer-term goals, but it’s an area that we clearly have to address because movement and travel is always going to be part of our lives, as much as some of us may not want to travel or vouch for not travelling. There’s always gonna be an aspect of moving in our lives. And so that’s why it’s something we think we need to address because if we don’t address it, then you know, we’re not going to achieve all our goals for net zero, decarbonizing the economy or our lives in general in society. 

Sam Maguire: Got it. That makes a lot of sense. And it’s really apparent how important addressing travel is to tackling the climate crisis. Why did you and the other guys at TripShift think that travel was the one that you really wanted to address rather than other areas of infrastructure or energy? Why is there a personal passion for travel at TripShift?

Why does TripShift feel travel is the most important thing to address?

Sebastien Thomas: Well, some of the original founders have a background in aviation and that’s how they actually started focusing a lot more on travel because obviously, it was the lives they were living, the area of work they were dealing with. But also just for the simple fact that, again, as I mentioned before, movement is a constant across everyone’s life. At least for the most part of it and for most people, and in one way or another you are going to be moving around, whether it is locally, whether it is down to your supermarket, whether it is internationally, flying, et cetera. And therefore we thought this is a crucial area that needs to be addressed, both through decarbonization of transport, you know, adapting the way we move, but also in terms of changing people’s behaviour. Because again, it’s not just about finding new technologies and new solutions but a huge part of it is going to come down to changing people’s behaviour and how we see it and how we travel in general. 

Sam Maguire: Got it. And you guys have obviously seen that there is this real need for change and it’s what you’re passionate about. But are you seeing organisations, policymakers, et cetera, the big change-makers in our world saying that this is important to them? Is that something that you’ve seen? 

Have you seen organisations recognise the need for change? 

Sebastien Thomas: Yeah, absolutely. We’re seeing pressures from all different stakeholders on businesses. In London, we’ve got a climate protest every second to third week – there’s clearly pressure from the consumer level, from commuter level. People are also wanting to have better and greener modes of transport and different solutions. We’re seeing pressure come on a governmental side, we see legislation coming through across the globe. In the UK we’ve got regulations from the TCFD. So companies are going to have to disclose their transport and travel emissions, in the Netherlands as well for example. From the 1st of January, companies with over 150 employees will have to disclose their emissions as well when linked to transport. The states also have legislation coming through, so we see pressure from there, but clearly from an investment perspective as well. Stakeholders and board members are increasingly asking companies for their ESG strategies and for their risk assessments when it comes to the climate crisis.

And also when it comes just to investments. If you have an investor coming, most times an increasing trend is they’re going to ask you what is your plan for carbon disclosure and mitigation. So we see a real squeeze from all sorts of different areas for businesses to actually take concrete action about this. Not just talking, but now concrete action needs to happen. 

Sam Maguire: Got it. And with that concrete action that’s required, you mentioned before there are some quick wins that people should take, but if you were advising organisations on changing the way that they and their people move, where would you start? What are the big things that you would kind of outline? 

How should organisations change the way that their people travel?

Sebastien Thomas: The first thing you need to do or the organisation needs to do is to understand where you stand. You can’t reduce what you can’t measure. And a lot of companies, because scope 3 wasn’t mandatory so far, which is the category in which commuting and business travel and logistics fall under, they don’t really know where they stand. So before you start talking about reducing and incentives, you need to have a clear picture of where you stand as a company. And for that, you need to collect a lot of data and a lot of also quality data. And that’s where we come into the picture. Cause we can help companies get that. Once you have a clear view of where you stand and you can identify patterns and analyze your data, you can then start setting out your plans, whether that’s for reduction, whether it’s for mitigation or new customer incentive plans for employees. If you’re going be talking to your partners in your supply chain, you need to start, first of all with a clear picture and understanding of where you stand.

So that’s where you can then set your benchmarks and start reducing from there on.

Sam Maguire: Got it. That, makes a lot of sense in terms of being really clear on what the challenges ahead of you in that bespoke challenge, but across the organisations that you’ve been working with, are there any big trends in terms of solutions or changes that they’ve been looking to make based on the data and that baseline that they’ve determined?

Have you seen any trends in the changes organisations make based on their travel data?

Sebastien Thomas: What we’ve found out is that everyone starts with a very nice goal without necessarily thinking about how they’re gonna get there. We were talking to a company just the other day who told us we are going to be carbon neutral by the end of our fiscal year, which, if anybody knows how to become carbon neutral and you’ve got very little data it’s just not going to happen. It’s not realistic. The situation we found again is a lot of people come to us saying, “our directors have made a decision. We’re gonna be net zero by 2030. We have no clue how we’re going to do it. Where should we start”? And again, so it’s all about getting reliable data across your board. It’s about collecting the right tools. So one trend we have seen before is that companies are looking for a one-stop-shop solution. They think there’s gonna be one magical tool that’s gonna give them all the data they need across all their scopes, one, two, and threes. And that’s going to basically solve their problems. They’ll either mitigate everything or just offset everything.

What they found is actually the requirements for the reporting are a lot more detailed than that and the amount of data they need to collect is substantial. So just having people punch in manual data all the time is just not gonna cut it anymore. And so it’s about getting a combination of specialized tools that can integrate together and going to then allow you to identify those patterns.

Now, a lot of the patterns we’ve seen so far are, and it won’t be a surprise as most people, is that most of the emissions of a lot of companies, especially service-based companies, is employees driving in vehicles in their private cars. How do you then get those employees out of their cars and into another greener mode of transport or where is it possible because that’s also another key. A trend we’ve seen also so far is that there are a lot of big promises and a lot of big pain strokes that they think will solve it, so everyone can get a bike incentive scheme. Everyone gets, I dunno, an incentive to get an electric vehicle, but the key here, and especially with the change in the way we’re working and the way societies moving around with, you know, how we’re adapting after the pandemic and between working flexibly, working from home or not, or from the office, is that the patterns of how we move are changing more frequently. Also, the modes of transport we are using, since micro-mobility has come into play, have also increased quite drastically. So understanding mobility is a lot more complex than before. You can’t just get everyone on a bicycle scheme. Everyone’s on a, “we’re gonna get everyone a voucher for an electric car”. You need to talk to your employees and understand how they’re moving, so you can have targeted, realistic incentives that are actually going to work and stick and then reduce your carbon emissions that are linked to your transport. 

Sam Maguire: Absolutely. I think a big thing that we’ve seen is that in any areas of change around carbon reduction, it’s one and yes about the technology. So electric vehicles or the very simple technology of bicycles, but it’s more about users and what users are willing to do, what they need to be able to access those solutions and whether or not that’ll actually work, because if you don’t do that thinking you’re potentially investing loads in an EV scheme or in an alternate scheme, that’s just not actually going to work for your people. So it would certainly echo that. We’ve talked about the challenge of making sure that solutions are designed around users. Are there ever big challenges that you’ve seen in changing the way that the people of the UK and, kind of a broad move, are there other things that you’re seeing that’s limiting the ability to change?

What challenges limit the ability to make changes?

Sebastien Thomas: As with most things, the biggest obstacle to change is ourselves and then obviously our behaviour. Without disclosing my age I was born in the early nineties and I remember the shift of the European Union basically opening all the borders to change the Euro. But more importantly this sort of rise of Ryanair, EasyJet and being able to just jump on a plane like it’s a bus for about 20 euros or 20 pounds and being in London on the weekend and coming back. I think we’ve gotten so used to, mainly in Europe and the Western world too, just jumping on any kind of plane and it’s just absolutely normal. I think that is the big change where we’ve gotten so used to it that we think that it’s just impossible not to live that way anymore. And I think we saw that during the pandemic because you could see when finally the restrictions were lifted, how many people scrambled to the airports to go on holiday? Instead of maybe going on holiday locally. I’m using the example of flight. It’s not about telling people not to go on a flight. It’s about where you can, there are options where you can use green modes of transport. So for example, I don’t go to Paris by plane anymore. I go by train. One, because it’s a much more pleasant experience. Actually, if anyone’s taken a plane from Gatwick or Luton to Paris, it’s a nightmare between that and the coach and actually finally getting into Paris will probably take you about five hours by the end of it. But if you look also at, not only the user experience, but if you look at the carbon impact, one side of it is just the pure direct emissions of taking the plane. But then the other side is all the sort of collateral emissions that are going to be linked to that flight or to that train ride. So there’s such a huge difference between your carbon footprints between taking a flight and taking a train, for example, that those are the kind of behaviours that we are encouraging in companies for example. It’s about making realistic changes where it is possible. 

So for example, again, we often go to Bristol to talk to some of our partners. We usually try as much as possible to avoid going by car and go by train. But again, that is realistic. It’s about still getting you where you need to go, but in a way that is realistic that it’s not going to take you three days by train. I’ve done those trips before where I’ve done about 24 hours on a train. It’s just not necessarily realistic. 

Sam Maguire: Yeah. So we’ve been doing a couple of pilots in that space this year as Clarasys. We had a team go to Geneva for a client workshop and event that we were a part of and some of it was great. Some of it was brilliant. It meant there was space for the team to work together, talk together on the way there and collaborate. There was a lack of wifi at different points, which made working hard. There was some extra additional potential travel fatigue. But if and where it’s possible for clients, we will try and take that train option. 

Sebastien Thomas: And I think that’s something that, there’s been a little bit of uncertain aspects. There’s been a bit of reticence on businesses and just infrastructure in general. But again, we think change is impossible till we actually try for about two hours and we’re like, oh, actually that’s not that bad.

And we saw the same thing during the pandemic. This was kind of the silver lining of all the very difficult times as we realized, well actually we can live in a very different way and it’s actually not that bad in terms of, you know, I can work flexibly or maybe I don’t need to fly every second weekend or so. But there’s a role for companies and governments as well to give the space for people to have that change in behaviour. Because again, if you give a certain space or a service, people will go for it. They will fill that space. And I’ve got a perfect example of two, and I won’t name names, but two different companies in the banking sector in Canary Wharf. One said, okay, we’re going to invest in making a lot more space for bicycles. We’re going to invest in better showers, for example, et cetera. The other one said, well, it’ll drop off. So we’re just gonna leave the usual thing. The company that did the investment and drastically expanded their bike space, et cetera, saw a huge increase in people actually taking the bicycle and commuting by bike. And again, as you said, if there was reliable internet on trains, and you could have maybe a certain space where it was made for, you could have your meeting in peace, it wouldn’t have been such an issue. 

Sam Maguire: A hundred per cent. And we are now setting our travel policy. And a lot of the data that we’ve gathered has shown we can do that sort of train commute, and that, that will be fine. What we’ve also seen is that we have an unlimited holiday policy, for example, and there are more of our staff who are taking trains for trips or, for personal trips than they would in the past. Because they’ve got that space to do that. And I guess the next step for us is going, what’s the incentive beyond, you can do it, like why would you do it? And trying to make more of that in terms of encouraging people in their personal lives to fly differently. We’ve given them some of the capability and obviously, some of that’s their own personal choice, but we want to be playing an active role in that. 

Cool. Thanks Seb for talking us through some of those big challenges and opportunities in terms of transport. Now, I’m sure those who are listening to it and I certainly am interested in learning a little bit more about you. But also understanding a bit more about what your experience has been like working at a climate-focused startup. So I guess if we just start off with your journey and how you came to work at TripShift – why did you want to work in a climate-focused startup?

Why did you want to work in a climate-focused startup?

Sebastien Thomas: I was always attracted to working, well back then it wasn’t even called startups. Entrepreneurship in general. I think there’s a bit of a streak of that in my family as well. My grandfather’s on both sides were always keen for a project or something on the side. And my mother owned a business, et cetera. So I was always interested in it. Mainly also because you get to work with so many different people and different sectors, right? So I was always interested in learning and hearing about different sectors and how they could cooperate and collaborate and come to solutions together. So I’ve always been attracted to kind of environments where you really are fluid in the sense of working with a lot of people from different backgrounds, and sectors, and essentially coming with two conclusion solutions together. In terms of climate, I was really looking for a job that I could have more of a purpose, I suppose as well, a job that also would have some sort of impact, more than just me earning a good check in the background at the end of the month.

My personal journey around sustainability started more around understanding how to manage your resources. I grew up mainly on farms. My family has a farm back home and is always learning about how to make things effective. How do you make sure that your environment is working well? And from the get-go, we always had this view of if you take care of the land, the land will take care of you, kind of thing. From that, I moved on to university, policy management, which has nothing to do with farming, but it was also about how to make things effective. How can governance help the efficient running of, you know, both economy but not society, climate, et cetera. And from there, I kind of connected the two and I started my first venture into sustainability in business by opening my own enterprise in South Africa. Now, this was nothing to do with TripShift and SaaS projects and technology, it was linking back to farming. It was about food goods and growing sustainable food, but of high quality. But our purpose was not only to provide, we, you know, just for specification we were growing gourmet mushrooms, but our main purpose was not only to provide a really good quality product, but it was to show that you can have a sustainable business that runs a profit, that is effective, that has growth, but it is not necessarily harming everything around it in terms of, you know, we are not just dumping our waste somewhere, or we’re just consuming a lot. We had developed a new way of growing the mushrooms in new growing rooms that were highly efficient in terms of energy, water, et cetera. So my main purpose was always sustainability makes sense in everything in life, whether it is financial, whether it is how you eat in terms of a balance is always good. You don’t need to go to extremes. And I found the same thing at TripShift in terms of what we are trying to do at TripShift is find that balance of helping people. Weird is realistic. So, you know, giving them that nudge where it can be realistically made. So it’s not about telling everyone to jump on a bicycle or a pedal and you can’t ever fly or take a car again. It’s about where you can make that little effort. And you’ll see that actually it goes a very long way, and once you’ve done it, it’s not that difficult to do and you’ll get used to it quite quickly.

Sam Maguire: I think that’s huge in terms of that nausea aspect, I think we do need radicalism, there’s no denying that we are at a point where we need radical transformation, but people are more likely to adopt the radical if they make the first steps and see how easy it is. So I’d completely, completely agree with that. 

What I’d love to know a little bit more about is you’ve obviously been in a startup in this space where you guys are looking to create an organisation that could help loads and loads of other organisations across the world. What’s been your experience, is there funding and support for organisations like yourself that are trying to solve some of the biggest challenges in the world? What’s your experience been like there? 

Have you seen support for organisations that are trying to solve major challenges?

Sebastien Thomas: Yeah, there’s definitely a lot to do. But at the same time, there’s a huge amount of solutions out there. There’s a huge amount of people that are coming up with the most innovative ideas, and one thing we found as well is it is great to talk to different people because you might think you have a solution that is very specific and very niche, and you give it to one of your clients and they flip it on its head and they’re using it for something else that you didn’t think of. And that’s another really good thing about interacting with as many companies and startups – innovative companies around you. There definitely is a trend of more investment coming in. And let’s be honest, it’s also because of the pressure that’s been coming through. Again, as we talked about before, companies are being squeezed from every direction and pressured to actually take concrete action. We’ve been talking about climate change for the last, about 20 years at least on a more serious, actually mainstream note. For example, wind farms. Climate Change is a global warming climate crisis. We’ve rebranded it in all sorts of different names, we’ve been talking about it for a while, but we’ve never been really taking concrete action about it. And now I think it’s obviously a combination of events between, what we are seeing with the climate events, but the energy crisis also. Again as much as the cause of it is extremely sad and distressful, the opportunity to actually nudge people and especially governments to shift to green energy is definitely there. So there definitely is funding. I think there still is a way to go because it’s a big space. There are a lot of people in it and there’s a lot of noise. So there’s still quite a bit of, I’m gonna say filtering to go through. There are a lot of people who are giving out a lot of noise, but the solutions they’re doing are actually not really that innovative. And it’s just a rehashed version of what they were doing before. 

I think the big push needs to mainly come from, you know, if you look at government bodies or, or big companies and you see that trend happening now with legislation and big companies and especially investment companies pushing a lot more on green policies is there needs to be more concrete action. And that’s what we are starting to see happening. And we’ve been seeing that happen since TripShift has actually started talking to clients, the shift and the mentality is accelerating at quite a steady pace. So, yeah, a lot to go for. This is gonna be a long road ahead, but it’s looking like it’s going in the right direction hopefully. 

Sam Maguire: I agree. And the regulation point’s so interesting. For me, there are a couple of key aspects to it. There’s one, the timeframe that we’re working on where the markets are shifting, they will shift. But they’re not going to do it at the pace that’s necessary without that market regulation. And the second thing is that particularly in the larger organisations, you can afford maybe the supporting infrastructure and the people to make the change. They’re calling out for regulation cause they want guidance, they want standardization. They want this stuff to happen. It’s not like they’re going, we’re against it. They want it because it will help level the playing field around it. And provide the guidance that they need. So I’m definitely, pro-regulation in this space.

Sebastien Thomas: Often businesses, big businesses ask for it. Everyone thinks that big business is running away from new legislation, but often they’re the ones, you know, I was listening at a webinar, I think it was one of the business leaders of Siemens I believe, who was saying, we want that regulation because then we have a clear line to go for. And he said, don’t worry about us. We’ll find solutions, that’s what we do. Business always finds solutions if we’re the most flexible ones. But there needs to be an initiative from the legislative size and quite frankly, I also agree that if we really want to make that big step, legislation has to come through. And it’s great to see that quite a few countries are now implementing the legislation in the countries that are causing a lot of other emissions, like in Europe or the States, et cetera. But there needs to be that sort of parallel, hand-in-hand journey between big business and government. Because again as we discussed before, the consumer’s already stolen. Most people say, if I can have a green amount of transport I’m very happy to use it but it needs to be there. Right? A lot of people are saying, I’d be happy to have an electric vehicle, but I’ve got no charge points around me, so I’m not going to be bothered to park my car 300 meters away from my house because I don’t have a parking space, charge it, have to move it. But if they had a solution, and again the technology will come, the infrastructure will come. For that, it’s just a question of time, but obviously the more pressure there is for those infrastructures to be there, the quicker it’s gonna happen.

Sam Maguire: Seb, I wanna finish up with just a bit of a difficult question. So look, we know the climate crisis is not caused necessarily by individuals’ behaviour. It’s a lot about large emitters, the way that we work from a corporate perspective, our energy mix, et cetera. And we need to be very careful that we don’t blame individuals in our individual choices. But, saying that, if you were talking to anyone on the street or a family member and they were interested in how they could move better, what would you tell them? What are the ways that you might recommend them to move better? 

How can people move better in terms of travel?

Sebastien Thomas: First of all, they need to understand how they’re moving because it’s a thing we do so naturally that you don’t really think about how you’re moving around. How many times do you actually take the plane? How do you take the train? Do you drive to the supermarket that’s a hundred meters down the road? 

So first of all, you need to understand how you’re moving around. And then from there, see what your options are, right? So understand where you stand and look at your options. And then again, where it’s realistic. So if you, for example, go frequently somewhere that is relatively close that you can actually get to via train, take the train rather than the car or the plane. If you are driving down to the train station every morning to commute to work and it is maybe a 10, 15 minute walk away, maybe think about walking or getting a bicycle. It really depends on yourself and your personal situation because obviously, if you are someone who’s in their thirties and working in London and single, your situation is gonna be very different from a family with three children who need to go to school. Maybe one is in kindergarten and the other one is in secondary school, whatever. So it really is a case by case, but I’m sure that most people can find a pretty quick, easy win, even if it’s just a small one where they can reduce their emissions when it comes to travel. 

Sam Maguire: What I like about that answer is, once you understand where you are, what you can also do is be vocal about what you need to change from other people. So be that writing to your local council about there not being safe cycle routes which will enable you to cycle with your kids to school or it’s actually to your employee. Could you have a bit more flexibility in terms of your ability to commute via train or public transport versus car? Understanding, I guess, what you can change but also what you might need others to change can be very, very helpful.

Sebastien Thomas: Yeah, absolutely. And again, that’s where also, if we’re talking about public transport, the government needs to come in or whoever is running public transport. Because for example, we know that in the UK the government has been trying to get more and more people on the trains, but if you look at prices for trains in a lot of areas, most people would say, well, why would I take the train if I can do three times a trip with a full tank and it’ll be cheaper. So that’s where we need to find solutions to actually make it accessible for people. Because at the moment a lot of the greener solutions are more expensive, and we need to find a way to make it more accessible financially, especially given the current economic situation. I mean, as much as we want to say everyone should make the effort and pay more because of climate change, if you’re struggling at the end of a month or if inflation is now 10% or more, it’s just not realistic to ask people to make that sacrifice and realistically they won’t. And it’s understandable because they’ve got an immediate priority or threat to their income. So again, it’s about making as many solutions and giving it as much space for people to feel as possible. Because if you do that, the majority of people will go for it. 

Sam Maguire: Seb, we’ve talked loads about how organisations could start to develop baseline around their carbon emissions relating to transport and how they could potentially look at reducing that. Where does TripShift fit in? What do technologies like TripShift enable for organisations? 

What does tech like TripShift enable for organisations?

Sebastien Thomas: TripShift is not just another carbon calculator. We do things differently. At the moment most companies when it comes to collecting travel and transport emissions are going through either employee surveys or expense sheets. And those only give you partial data. They’re only gonna give you a very quick glimpse at your emissions. And they’re not always very reliable. If you ask the office of Clarasys every end of the week to fill in a survey, I’m pretty sceptical about how much qualitative and quantitative data you’ll get, just because most people don’t like that sort of administrative work. And in terms of the expense sheets, it actually takes a lot of time and resources to actually go through the expense sheets, extrapolate the data, then you have to figure out the carbon emissions, et cetera, and it’ll only give you a glimpse of it. TripShift changed that in a sense of we automate the data collection process, which means that you don’t have to rely on manual input of data. Our software and our technology basically automatically detects modes of transport and mileage, and then calculates carbon emissions. And that allows companies to have a steady stream or a cascade of data that feeds into the system where they can visualize company data in terms of emissions and mode of transport. They can spread that by teams. They can identify patterns, they can identify if emissions are coming from a specific team or specific office. And then what we then do is once we’ve allowed them to highlight those patterns and those sources of emissions, we nudge them in terms of decarbonizing by showing the potential areas of improvement. So if most of your emissions are coming from people driving cars, you can identify what main teams are driving those cars or what offices, and then you can have specific incentive plans to shift those people to electric vehicles.

What we also find is that by sharing their data with your employees, you can supercharge your employee engagement. And what we find across the board is the more data you show people, the more interested they are and the more likely they are to remain engaged in the project. Because at the moment when companies are talking about engagement, they’re talking about asking employees to make the effort and fill in all the forms. If you don’t, we’ll have to start using the stick rather than the carrot. What TripShift allows companies to do is when they talk about engagement, forget about filling in the data. It’s about, okay, you can now actually have an active role in your company’s transformation policy when it comes to travel emissions. And actually, when people are asked and people are engaged, especially when it comes to climate, they do want to get involved. So that’s one way in which we can, first of all, help companies collect the data they need to set their benchmarks, also realistic data so we can do end-to-end tracking and data collection, both for commuting, for business travel and soon for the logistics side of things as well. So the companies spend the time, the resources on actually analyzing rather than collecting the data. And also quite importantly, engaging with the partners and their employees to reduce their emissions. Finally, the crucial part, and it’s coming quickly, is once the legislation actually kicks in, we also have a reporting system in which you can easily, automatically, get your report. And it’s either for the board of directors, someone who’s interested in investing or in an auditing body. 

Sam Maguire: Fantastic. Sounds like both something that’s deeply necessary, but also coming at exactly the right time as well. 

Seb, listen, it’s been really enjoyable talking to you today and learning a bit more about what TripShift are doing, learning about yourself, but also to have a conversation about some of the big challenges that are out there in terms of transport and moving better.

Thank you so much. It’s been great chatting with you. 

Sebastien Thomas: Thanks. 

Sam Maguire: Thank you for listening to our Simply Sustainability podcast. We hope you enjoyed it. For more information, please contact us at sustainability@clarasys.com.

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