“We’re not only organising a number of activities designed to promote sustainable mobility for our own staff, but as a financial provider to companies and households, we’re also keen to offer tailored solutions,” points out Jonathan Huyghe, who works on our team tasked to give concrete shape to the Bank’s vision on mobility.
Jonathan Huyghe is a Mobility Ecosystem expert – which means that he works with his colleagues to build knowhow and develop a network, both inside and outside the Bank. He strives to identify the mobility requirements of our customers, in line with the aim of BNP Paribas Fortis to act not simply as a financial partner focusing on banking services but also to serve as a close companion in other key areas of our customers’ lives.
Mobility has an enormous impact on the lives of our customers and on society as a whole. Transport costs represent the second-biggest expense item for households, just behind accommodation. Moreover, last year the average Belgian spent just under an hour travelling every day. Meanwhile the impact of our mobility on society includes not only climate-related consequences – given that transport accounts for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions – but it also greatly affects air quality and the overall quality of life in our towns and cities.
“This is a challenge that requires us all to act together, and the Bank has a role to play here in providing insights, advice and solutions that will help our customers move towards sustainable mobility,” stresses Jonathan Huyghe. The initiatives which BNP Paribas Fortis is taking are geared towards offering concrete solutions to customers who want to take control of their own mobility, especially those who are keen to reduce the impact of their mobility on society.
At this moment in time we are seeing two broad movements gradually getting underway with a view to reducing the impact of transportation on our society. Firstly, there is the emergence of the electric road vehicle which, in tandem with an increase in the use of renewable energy sources, can help bring about a significant reduction in gaseous emissions. Electric cars are likely to overtake the number of diesel- and petrol-powered vehicles on the roads in the near future.
However, electric cars won’t alleviate traffic jams or solve parking problems and we now see that people – especially in city centres – more often leave their cars at home and opt for alternative modes of transport. This ‘modal shift’ means that the number of journeys made by car is falling, accompanied by a rise in the use of the train, bicycle, kick-scooter, you name it.
As a bank, we must be prepared to support these two movements, while also ensuring that our customers obtain the best means of financing their new mobility arrangements.
As a bank, we not only provide financial expertise, we also play a bridge-builder role. The mobility landscape is becoming ever more complex, and it’s only by collaborating and broadening our view that we’ll be able to offer our customers the very best solutions and together help create better, more sustainable mobility.
One of the initiatives currently underway is the co.mobility-project run by Co.Station, an innovative co-working space with premises in Brussels, Ghent and Charleroi. The project, launched in March this year, brings together some 30 players from various fields to develop prototypes for products or services linked to sustainable mobility. In addition to the seven founding members – AG, BNP Paribas Fortis, Brussels Airport Company, Infrabel, NMBS, MIVB and Touring – some large major corporations are working alongside startups, mobility experts and knowledge partners from the academic world.
“We’re working in conjunction with AG Insurance and Touring to offer our customers first-class products,” says Jonathan, adding: “In addition, we’re jointly investing in the Ghent-based startup Optimile, which is working on innovative new solutions. This collaborative effort enables us to explore a broad spectrum of opportunities, ranging from Mobility-as-a-Service to electric vehicles. Thanks to our close cooperation with players from other sectors, we’re in a position to build customer solutions that we would never be able to develop all by ourselves,” he underlines.
These new solutions will add to our existing product and service range, such as finance for ‘soft’ mobility and the private and corporate leasing – for both cars and bicycles – provided by Arval.