INTERVIEW: They were motivated by sustainability, so they started Autonapůl. Now they have the confirmed lowest carbon footprint in the industry in the world

At the beginning of carsharing there was a logical reasoning: if more people or households share one car, there will be fewer cars on the streets, fewer cars will need to be produced, and more people will be motivated to combine different modes of transport. As a result, fewer resources are consumed and each person in the system saves even more. This is exactly the reasoning behind the foundation of Autonapůl. And today we also have clear figures proving that it is not about perception.

Read an interview with with co-founder of the first Czech carsharing Stanislav Kutáček, who together with his colleague Kristýna Herrmannová explains why Autonapůl is one of the few carsharing companies in the world to have its carbon footprint measured.

Standa, let's get straight to the point: so what is your carbon footprint?

When I say that our annual carbon footprint is 333.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, I don't think it's easy to compare that to anything. But when I say that it's 0.28 kg per kilometre travelled, and that includes the manufacturing of the car, all the operating fluids and of course fuel, servicing and other operational emissions, it's a pretty small number. Compared to competitors across the world, where at least comparable data is available, our carbon footprint is the smallest.

ESG reporting, or carbon footprinting, is a hot topic for some companies right now and they have to report, but why did you get into the calculation if you won't be subject to legislative requirements for many years?

The first and main reason is the simple fact that sustainability has been in the company's DNA from the beginning. We care about our impact. We know that burning fossil fuels isn't a great thing from a climate change perspective, and in the last two years we've added a geopolitical perspective where we're still running largely on Russian oil.

At the same time, we are thinking about the further development of Autonapůl. Sooner or later we will want, and maybe even need, to offer carbon offset options to our customers. In order to offer them, the first step is to know what emissions we actually have.

Another reason is that we need to develop an offer for companies that are currently massively addressing ESG on a company-wide level. We want to specify if and how we can offer them assistance in reducing their carbon footprint. A measured carbon footprint is also the first step for us to update our long-term strategy, which will include specific targets and steps on how we will reduce our own emissions.

However, the carbon footprint is an indicator that changes over time, meaning the calculation must be repeated annually. Doesn't that require too much effort on your part?

I guess it depends on how you approach it internally, what priority you give to the calculation and which tool you choose. When we were researching the options, the first round of choices went through three online calculators and one complex Excel spreadsheet. We needed to get a standardised output that could meet any legislative requirements without further processing, that was simple, methodologically sound and allowed us to track our emissions trends year on year. The online tool from Impact Metrics met the requirements best.

Kristýna, as the coordinator of the calculation work, how long did it take and how challenging was it for you?

I think I'll start with the excel spreadsheet from the Corporate Social Responsibility Association. We filled that out too, but it failed on two levels. Although it was supposed to be a tool suitable for SMEs, it was designed more for the corporate sector. The tables were too complex, opaque and robust for our needs. At the same time, getting the final output was a matter of further communication with the processor.

With the Impact Metrics calculator, it took us about three business days of pure time. In the reality of a normal peak season operation, the calculation did take about a month, but it was a very leisurely pace of work. We sat down one afternoon and put together a list of the data we needed to find out. Then we tracked down or researched the information we needed from landlords, contractors and our staff. All of this was done while people were switching terms on vacation.

Okay, that's one year. How will it be in the next period? Even though three mandays isn't much, do you want to invest it every year?

Well, that's one of the advantages of Impact Metrics. It would probably have taken longer if it wasn't for the really intuitive interface and lightning fast support when it was necessary to explain or adjust something. Take fuel for example. The original form didn't account for the situation of someone using more than three types of fuel in their fleet. We use petrol, diesel, LPG and electricity. And the processor was quick to help us resolve the situation.

Next year will be even quicker for us because we already know exactly what to fill in, where and how, and we will only need to rewrite the numbers that require it. The data remains stored in the calculator.

What was also great was that I could specify in notes to other people in the team exactly what to find out and how, and assign the task to them directly.

Standa, now you know how much emissions you're leaving behind. What do you plan to do next?

One of the levels is internal, where we want to know how our emissions are developing year-on-year. Of course, we had an estimate, which has been confirmed to an order of magnitude. Impact Metrics has refined it for us, and we have a benchmark for future years.

Furthermore, we have acquired a tool that will help us to show our carsharers, company managers, municipal representatives and the general public that car traffic is not just about direct tailpipe emissions. Now we need to find examples to help people understand the impacts of car travel and compare them with cycling, bus, train and of course walking.

Is there anything else that we've forgotten, but maybe we've been doing it for a long time and it's helping us reduce our footprint?

Internal rules and their application, such as daily transport to the office, also play a big role. None of our employees have a company car, let alone one assigned for private use. For transporting our team to important meetings and appointments, as well as for commuting to the office, we choose to ride bicycles or public transport for short distances, while longer journeys are usually made by train. Only when it is not possible to do otherwise at the time, we book a car like any of our other customers. And this applies through the company from temps to directors.

It may seem like a small thing, but the strong emphasis on sustainable transport for the team of workers in the form of commuting plays a significant role in the company's emissions footprint. Common and "obvious" solutions such as waste minimisation, waste sorting or a preference for reusable packaging will also do their part.

We are also looking for cars that have a lower carbon footprint in the long term. The data has shown us that this is the right way to go, so we will continue to focus even more on low-emission cars in the future as we strengthen our fleet.

What about the business side? You mentioned that you also want to design new services or modify existing ones because of the measured carbon footprint and sustainability.

The principles of sustainability have permeated our entire business from the very beginning, and apart from the operation of the cars themselves, our emissions are already negligible.

In the case of car traffic, we are, of course, in the drag of not only car manufacturers but also energy producers. But now we have clear data, we will monitor it with our suppliers as well. This will allow us to refine our medium- and long-term strategy for buying new cars and moving to battery-electric mobility.

At the same time, we are a so-called grassroots company. We evolve gradually with our sharers, perhaps along a less dynamic but definitely more sustainable trajectory. We also want to lift the topic across the different networks we are involved in. For example, in Change for the Better or in Partnership for Urban Mobility. We believe that more viable ideas for reducing our carbon footprint will come out of the discussion across our sharers and partners and the business follow-up.

Could you be a little more specific?

While I don't want to give too much away, at the moment we are all about designing a new product that will help our customers reduce the carbon footprint of their mobility. Of course, we need to find out how their fleets currently compare to ours in this respect, but just by selling off part of their fleet and using the cars they drive not only for business use, but the same cars used by the wider public in non-working hours, could be the tipping point for them. There will be fewer cars, the cars will be more utilized, effectively reducing the carbon footprint, and at the same time they will shift some of the emissions from Scope 1 to Scope 3, so they add up for the positives.



Autonapůl, družstvo
Údolní 33, 602 00 Brno
Kancelář: Křenová 52, Brno
IČO: 29301751 / DIČ: CZ29301751

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