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Capgemini UK helps employees switch to electric vehicles by enhancing mileage rates

Chris Hodgson
27 Jun 2022

Low-carbon travel is an important part of Capgemini UK’s transition to a net-zero business. We’ve made the decision to switch to electric vehicles a simple one for our employees, by looking beyond the UK national recommendation to introduce a reimbursement rate that reflects actual vehicle charging costs.

Humanity is facing a code red emergency, according to the UN Secretary-General. Urgent action is needed by governments, businesses and citizens to address one of the biggest societal challenges that we’ve faced in generations: climate change.

Capgemini has a strategy to play our part in tackling the climate crisis. We aim to become a net-zero business, while helping our clients accelerate their own sustainability journeys.

At Capgemini in the UK, business travel represented a little over half of our UK carbon footprint in 2021. Transforming our team’s mobility is, therefore, a key component of our Capgemini UK net-zero action plan.

Transforming our mobility

We need to change how and how much our people travel. Our strategy focuses on this, by aiming to reduce the amount that our team travels, and by making low-carbon options available when travel is necessary.

At the core of our approach to reducing emissions is to first ask ourselves the question: “do we need to travel?”. In 2019, we introduced our hybrid working model. This offers our team the option to reduce carbon emissions by working remotely, when feasible. Our Global Travel Policy and Sustainable Travel Principles, introduced in 2021, provide frameworks that support our colleagues to decide when travel is necessary – empowering our people to make informed decisions that benefit themselves, our business and the planet.

In the UK, we monitor how we’re doing by including carbon reporting as part of monthly project performance reviews for key business practice areas. This, plus our interactive carbon travel dashboard for our accounts and departments, lets our teams monitor carbon from travel associated with their work and delivery of client projects.

Of course, some travel will always be needed – for example, it can be necessary to collaborate in person for certain types of work. When this is the case, our strategy is to make low-carbon mobility options easily available to our team.

Capgemini’s Sustainable Travel Principles again provide a framework to encourage employees to use less emissions-intensive options, such as rail. Another key part of our strategy is to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles through our corporate car programme.

Transitioning to electric vehicles

As a member of the EV100 global initiative, we look to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. In 2021, we announced that we’d transition our company car fleet to only electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. We’ve made good progress. As of April 2022, 80% of the around 480 vehicles in our UK corporate car programme are now electric or hybrid models.

To make it more convenient for employees to use electric vehicles, we’ve been expanding the number of charging points at our offices. By December 2021, almost two-thirds of our Capgemini UK offices with carparks had charging points (excluding our more recently acquired Altran, now Capgemini Engineering, offices).

But our employees were facing a challenge: the HM Revenue & Customs mileage rate for electric company cars is significantly lower than the amount it costs to power electric vehicles at rapid charging points.

Introducing an enhanced mileage rate

You may be aware that HM Revenue & Customs sets ‘Advisory fuel rates’ guidance for company cars. These guide the rate at which employees are reimbursed for business travel in corporate vehicles. For example, the advisory reimbursement rate for fully electric cars is currently 5 pence per mile, as of June 2022. This is lower than it costs to use rapid charging points while mid-journey.

In response, we developed and introduced a reimbursement rate that allows employees to claim the higher cost of charging when travelling for business. Setting this new rate involved our sustainability, finance, tax, payroll and IT teams collaborating to find a workable solution. Going forward, we’ll now review the rate at regular intervals, keeping external factors such as the costs of electricity and availability of charging options in mind.

The adoption of electric vehicles by our employees is an important step towards achieving our net-zero ambition. A key part of this is ensuring it’s easy and makes sense for the employees who are part of our company car programme to make the switch. I’m pleased we were able to address this challenge and look forward to seeing more of our company car drivers transition to electric and hybrid vehicles in the coming months.