ESG in the transport sector: the example of WEmobility

The Emile Weber Group has 285 buses operating on public routes. By the end of 2022, 15% of its fleet will already be electrified. (Photo:Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne/Archives)

The Emile Weber Group has 285 buses operating on public routes. By the end of 2022, 15% of its fleet will already be electrified. (Photo:Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne/Archives)

Whether through small gestures or big changes, companies are taking action to come as close as possible to meeting ESG objectives. One example is the transport sector. In Luxembourg, public transport has been completely free of charge since 1 March 2020 and will be 100% electric by 2030.

Covering the entire territory of Luxembourg, public transport in the grand duchy provides passenger transport on express, regional--whether primary or secondary--and transversal, as well as on local lines.

Since 2017, more and more electric buses have been operating on these routes, which criss-cross the country to its furthest corners. “The pilot projects for electric bus lines will be continued with the aim of achieving zero emissions on the regional bus network of the Régime Général des Transports Routiers (RGTR) in 2030,” said Murielle Simon, CSR coordinator at WEmobility, a company of the Emile Weber Group dedicated to passenger transport by road.

The main challenge is to manage the loading of vehicles at the right time and in the right place, with the necessary time to do so

Murielle SimonCSR CoordinatorWEmobility, Emile Weber Group

The company has 285 buses that run on public routes, but which are also used for other purposes, such as school pick-ups or transfers for people with reduced mobility. “By the end of 2022, 15% of our fleet will already be electrified, which means new challenges for us in terms of dispatching and workshops,” continued Simon. “Our site in Diekirch-Fridhaff currently has 26 charging points and will be expanded until 2025. In addition, we are currently finalising the electrification of our Echternach site, with 24 charging points. Other warehouses will follow. The main challenge is to manage the charging of vehicles at the right time and place, with the necessary time to do so.”

Eco-driving in electric mode

As a major player in the passenger transport sector, WEmobility is committed to creating value for the community it serves, and for society in general. “That is why we have created a CSR governance system, consisting of a dedicated committee that works according to a sustainability strategy. Our engagement programmes are based on three key areas, starting with providing a fair mobility service for all, regardless of physical ability. Secondly, we want to be a responsible company, constantly looking for new ways to reduce our energy consumption through the use of new technologies. Finally, we want to encourage sustainable purchasing, guarantee quality service to our passengers and participate in the local development of culture and sports,” explained Simon.

WEmobility did not wait for the arrival of electric vehicles to take concrete action in the field, starting with eco-driving training. “This subject takes on an even greater meaning with the electric bus, which requires adapted driving to allow the longest possible journey between two recharges. But we have already done a lot of work on this subject in the past with our diesel vehicles, with many improvements as a result,” noted the coordinator of the CSR committee. “In particular, we work with software that assesses the driver’s driving style, which then leads to corrections and even training. Fuel is a very important cost item for a company like ours, and it was obvious to take the subject on board.”

In order to best respond to this reduction in costs and CO2 emissions, WEmobility has also equipped itself with electric cars to ensure the transfer of drivers who start or finish their service. “In 2021, the company also completed its first carbon footprint and is now ready to meet the new requirements following the implementation of the European taxonomy. We will be required to deliver a first report in 2024 on our 2023 activity. In general, we are trying to take advantage of all possible synergies within the Émile Weber Group, whether at the level of depots or in the optimisation of our daily operations. The electrification of our buses involves major changes for everyone, the drivers and dispatchers, but also the technical teams. Mechanics are giving way to computers, and, especially given the recharging time, more vehicles are needed to provide the same service, and these electric vehicles are much more expensive."

In April this year, the Luxembourg government presented its National Mobility Plan, with the identified challenge being to manage a 40% increase in mobility demands across the country by 2035.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.