Leading the way: Fundació Sanitaria Mollet’s journey towards net zero emissions

Date:  27 March 2024

Background

The need for a mobility management plan stemmed from environmental and financial concerns as well as from efforts to improve employee satisfaction, reduce traffic congestion, and address limited parking availability in the main campus. To address increasing environmental concerns and reduce the hospital’s carbon footprint, the mobility management plan included the promotion of public transport, carpooling, cycling, or walking. By encouraging the use of alternative modes of transportation, the hospital can reduce the need to create and maintain new parking spaces in its facilities, which results in cost savings. The mobility management plan created an opportunity for the hospital to increase its social responsibility efforts and position as an attractive employer. Providing employees with flexible transport options can improve their work-life balance, reduce commuting stress, and increase their overall job satisfaction.
Lastly, encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport contributes to reducing traffic congestion and, as a result, delays decrease, travel times are shortened, and employee productivity losses are reduced.

Solution proposed

The mobility management plan was developed as a solution to address these concerns. To ensure its success, the project followed the plan-do check-act process. The project started with a needs assessment. The hospital gathered and analysed data about the current transportation infrastructure, traffic patterns, public transit options, and the mobility needs of the employees. The hospital developed the mobility management plan based on the findings of the assessment and its recommendations to improve existing hospital’s parking infrastructure, introduce new transportation options, and promote alternative modes of transport, such as biking and walking. The plan also involved the hospital’s engagement with various stakeholders to improve the plan’s success.
The mobility management plan was implemented in different phases. Each phase had its own timeline and goals and involved the participation of the stakeholders.
Finally, to ensure the achievement of the plan’s objectives, the hospital monitors and evaluates its effectiveness regularly. On a yearly basis, the hospital continues to collect data on transport use, and every five years employees are surveyed to obtain their feedback and adjust the plan based on the findings.

Collaboration with external stakeholders

The implementation of the mobility management plan involves partnerships with the Geneva public transport service and the Swiss and French railways. These stakeholders are key to keep improving the quality and quantity of public transport services to all hospital sites. The hospital also partnered with the local parking foundation to manage parking management, subscriptions and allocation of parking spaces in and around the various hospital sites. Geneva’s local authorities are an important stakeholder in the mobility management plan, as a significant proportion of the parking spaces for two-wheelers (motorised and non motorised) are located in the streets adjacent to the hospital buildings. The hospital has also set up bike sharing and car-sharing subscriptions. Staff members receive discounts on classic, folding and electric bicycles from its sales partners.

The challenges

Given that the implementation of the plan required changes in infrastructure, policies and behaviour, it faced resistance from some employees, who were reluctant to change their daily
routines. As a public hospital funded largely with public resources, the implementation of the mobility plan is carried out in a scenario where resources are limited. Additionally, depending on political considerations, the level of priority assigned to it relies on the government and might be influenced by different interest groups. To adequately face these challenges, the hospital created a dedicated position for mobility and accessibility management. The mobility manager is responsible for the implementation and regular review of the mobility management plan. Additionally, the manager provides guidance on request and is the point of contact for staff mobility concerns.

Expected impact and vision of the project

After 15 years, the results have proven to be highly effective, with 60% of the 13,500 employees adopting eco commuting practices for their daily commute.
The remaining 40% continue to rely on individual cars or motorised 2 wheelers. The reduction in parking availability for staff has had an indirect positive impact on the experience of patients and their relatives, as access to the hospital by other means has become much easier. In the long term, the plan’s impact reflects on the reduction of the hospital’s carbon footprint and the improvement of health outcomes due to contributing to creating a healthier environment.

Expected levels of GHG reduction

Between 2021 and 2022, emissions from staff commuting (home to work), including all means of transportation, decreased by 9% (scope 3 emissions). Most of this decrease is due to reduced motorised travel (car and two-wheeler), which translates into a reduction of 1683 tons CO2e. When the mobility management plan was implemented, parking rates for employees were gradually increased to encourage alternative mobility. The revenue generated by this increase has been reinvested to finance the subsidies granted to employees. The revenue can also finance, for example, the additional capital expenditure needed for infrastructures.

Health equity

Improving access  to public transportation services and reducing disparities in health outcomes have a significant impact on health equity. When access to public transportation services is enhanced, it helps reduce disparities in health outcomes among different groups of people.

Co-benefits

Reducing air pollution not only improves the health of the general population but also holds benefits for individuals with pre-existing health conditions (such as respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and cancer) and those who are more vulnerable to the impacts of pollution, such as children and the elderly. The mobility management plan actively promotes and prioritizes active transportation alternatives such as walking, cycling, and utilizing public transportation, aiming to increase physical activity levels.
This approach brings forth a range of health advantages, including a decreased risk of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Moreover, by encouraging physical activity, it also contributes to the promotion of mental health and overall wellbeing.

Written by:

Victoria Del Pozo