Mobility & sufficiency: how mobility can be made sufficiency-oriented and sustainable

U-Bahn fährt in Station ein, Mobilität & Suffizienz

Mobility & sufficiency in combination brings numerous advantages for companies, humans and the environment. The keyword here is mobility sufficiency. This is a sustainability strategy that leads to reduced environmental damage through individually frugal mobility consumption. This is achieved with reduced resource and energy consumption.  Sufficiency also has something to do with behavioural change.

Individual behavioural changes

There are three possible strategies for changing mobility behaviour. The absolute reduction of mobility behaviour is about reducing the number of trips made as well as the length of the trip itself. Some examples of this are not flying or driving to the nearest supermarket instead of travelling a greater distance.

The second approach is to change mobility behaviour with reduced emission factors. In other words, you substitute a resource-intensive mobility behaviour with a less intensive one. The best way to do this is to use public transport. The commute to work is done by public transport instead of the private motorised car. Another example is using trains instead of planes for going on holiday.

The third approach involves sharing goods in order to reduce the environmental impact of mobility behaviour. This primarily includes car/bike sharing. “Car sharing” means providing access to vehicles without directly owning them. In many cases, this leads to the shared use of a vehicle by different people on the same route. However, with this method in particular, it is important to ensure that it does not increase overall consumption and create a rebound effect.

Mobility & Sufficiency Management

Not only at the individual level, but also at the company level, companies can align their mobility in the sense of sufficiency. Targets in the design of corporate mobility management can cover two areas. On the one hand, there is the area of the environment. In this area, the focus is on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, noise emissions and air pollutants. On the other hand, there is the aspect of customers and employees. This includes raising awareness on the importance of mobility sufficiency, encouraging the use of public transport by making the location easily accessible, and enhancing the company’s reputation.

How can a sufficiency-oriented mobility behaviour be implemented in the company?

As with other management systems in the company, the usual procedure should as well be applied to mobility management. It starts with an inventory and analysis of what is necessary and possible. This is followed by the definition of precise goals and the implementation of actions. The consideration of what the is the need for mobility and how it can be designed in a sustainable way should always be present. In order to permanently integrate a sufficiency-oriented mobility behaviour in the company, regular monitoring of the procedure is necessary. Based on this, optimisation potentials are identified and adjustments can be made. Sufficiency-oriented corporate mobility management is a continuing improvement process that has to be dealt with again and again.

The benefits of a management approach that combines mobility and sufficiency can be various. Of major importance is the contribution to environmental protection with more environmentally friendly mobility. By switching from private motorised transport or using public transport, resources are protected and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. This leads to an improved CO2 balance.

In the best case, climate neutrality of the company in terms of mobility can be achieved. Costs can be saved through efficient mobility management. Vehicle parks usually take up a large cost position in a company, as well as car parking spaces. Costs can be saved through efficient mobility management. Vehicle parks usually take up a large cost position in a company, as well as car parking spaces. These costs can be saved through efficient mobility management. Offering alternative mobility options enhances the image of the company both among employees and customers. Encouraging employees to come to work by bike also has a positive effect on their overall health.

Approaches for the implementation of a sufficiency-oriented mobility behaviour

There are a number of possible actions and approaches for changing mobility patterns. It is important to bring an understanding of sufficiency-oriented mobility behaviour into the company and to raise awareness of this topic. For this purpose, mobility days or workshops on sustainable mobility can be organised for and with employees.

On this occasion, it makes sense to get all employees on board and to identify their needs and wishes with regarding mobility.

Improved incentive systems play a crucial role in changing employees’ behaviour. Offering subsidies for the use of public transport, the possibility to lease bicycles or an organised car-sharing service makes it much easier for employees to change their mobility behaviour in the sense of sufficiency.

The aim is to make sustainable and sufficiency-oriented alternatives attractive and the advantages compared to traditional behaviour obvious.

To achieve this, it is also necessary to create the right framework conditions. For example, the availability of covered, lockable bicycle parking spaces, charging facilities for e-bikes or shower facilities make it easier to decide whether to cycle or drive to work. Furthermore, offering benefits for walking or cycling to work makes the decision easier. As the flexibility of the private car is often mentioned as an argument against the use of public transport, flexible working hours could be offered.

Business trips also have a very high carbon footprint in some sectors. Clarification could be provided on the necessity of a face-to-face meeting and whether the meeting could also take place virtually. Especially in the case of international trips, this would result in enormous savings potential. For business trips in the region, public transport should be taken into account when planning and both the budget and the time should be adjusted accordingly.

You can start at any time

Corporate mobility management has a great potential to bring sufficiency into the company. Sufficiency-oriented mobility behaviour can be initiated at any time. No technical innovations are necessary to shift or reduce mobility. Involving all stakeholders and informing employees at an early stage is very helpful for acceptance. In addition, individual needs can be taken into account when developing the concept. With adequate action, it can be a win-win situation for both the company and the environment.

The first step to shifting one’s own behaviour in the long term in a sustainable direction is to reflect on one’s own mobility behaviour. Take a look at your own mobility behaviour and consider what alternative possibilities there are in your environment for a sustainable transition. Try to use these alternatives. With frequent use, this behaviour will then become a habit.