In an article for the KPMG Innovation Lab newsletter, Edouard Hénaut, CEO of France and Vincent Destot, Director of the Hauts-de-France region in the northern part of the country, discuss Transdev’s commitment to calculating their positivity index.
Transdev is one of the first major groups to have deployed the positivity index internally, and the only one, as of 2015, to have calculated the index at the local level in Le Havre, at the France country and Group level.
The Positive Economy is based on the principle of the long term, hence the importance of taking into consideration the impact of our actions and decisions on future generations. To do this, we need a tool to objectify them: the Positivity Index.
The Positivity Index covers the social, environmental, economic and governance domains. It is the average of 5 dimensions:
- Working conditions;
- Positive sharing of value;
- Environmental Footprint;
- Training and Research;
- Long-term strategic vision.
What prompted Transdev to sign up for this positivity index approach? What were the initial objectives?
Edouard Hénaut: In discussions with the Positive Economy Institute – of which we are now a partner – we saw this indicator as a way of becoming more firmly rooted in our territories. It represents an opportunity to structure our improvement processes, to promote our CSR initiatives, but also to create reflection in our teams, to better manage performance and to open up new horizons on social and environmental issues.
So, there were two reasons for our deployment: on the one hand, to structure and organize ourselves, and to work on the various indicators, and on the other hand, to mirror a certain number of initiatives of the local authorities we work with. The idea with this index is also to ensure that it is eventually integrated into responses to calls for tender and that it becomes an additional competitive advantage for Transdev.
How was the deployment of this index orchestrated, both at Group and local level?
Edouard Hénaut: In France, we mobilized the teams in Le Havre to calculate the index in 2015, throughout the area of the city where we operate the mobility network (buses, bicycles, funiculars, etc.) on behalf of the transport authority. Transdev Normandie then joined the initiative in 2019. In 2020, we further expanded the scheme to 12 regions. Since 2021, the index for three regions (Hauts-de-France, Normandy, Burgundy-Franche-Comté) has also been calculated and the process will be accelerated for 2022-2023. The Group index, also calculated since 2015, is gradually being integrated into exchanges within Transdev’s international CSR community.
Vincent Destot: “In the Hauts-de-France region, we began deployment at the end of 2020. It was during discussions with my counterpart in the Normandy region, who was the first to make a commitment at the regional level, that I understood that it was interesting to include this index in our CSR approach: he explained to me the benefits he had found, whether in his relationship with the region or in his relations with the organizing authorities, with passengers or internally.
For its implementation, we mobilized the Transformation Department, which was the cornerstone of this work, alongside the Health, Safety and Environment network and the teams in charge of economic performance and operations. That’s the whole point of this approach: teams that used to work independently on CSR issues were able to work together on this index.
How did you raise awareness of CSR issues among your teams prior to deployment?
Edouard Hénaut: The Transdev group has given itself a Purpose in 2018: « To empower freedom to move every day, thanks to safe, reliable, and innovative solutions that serve the common good. » The whole issue was then to give substance to this Purpose. We had to explain why we had initiated the approach, but also structure our initiatives and obviously raise awareness among employees and stakeholders. In each deployment of the positivity index, there is always a step to raise the awareness of the teams, which allows for dialogue and the implementation of impact measurement, in a rather pragmatic way.
Vincent Destot: In our region, we have long had a social, supportive and responsible attitude. The index is a concrete expression of what we had already done, particularly in the areas of safety and training for local managers, or with our inclusive mobility offers. Having an index that guarantees compliance with CSR principles is now an asset for Transdev, especially since the approach is totally consistent with our Purpose.
What assessment can you already draw from the implementation of the positivity index at Transdev?
Edouard Hénaut: The positivity index responds very well to our community anchoring issues and it plays a unifying role. It also provides a challenge to the teams, who seek to improve the various scores year after year. At Group level, one of the benefits is to be able to benchmark ourselves: between the regions that have deployed it, we are already seeing a sense of ownership.
Vincent Destot: Indeed, the index allows us to compare ourselves with our neighbors in Normandy: they are slightly ahead of us, so that motivates us! Within the Transdev Group, we are happy to see that our positive indices are higher than the average for the CAC40, but we know that we still have room for improvement. The index gives us a figure that enables us to situate ourselves in relation to others, but it is also the starting point for awareness, which enables us to go a little further on a certain number of subjects.
Have the relationships you have with your clients and stakeholders changed since the index was set up?
Edouard Hénaut: We are used to working in co-construction with our clients. For us, this approach must result in a certain return on investment and therefore be recognized by local authorities. But above all, it remains a tool that enables us to better meet the expectations of our customers and passengers.
Vincent Destot: It’s an index that is built through exchange. For example, one of the criteria of the index is the quality of the dialogue with stakeholders, but there is the question of how to measure this index… With one of our clients, we are in the process of obtaining ISO 44001 certification to ensure the quality of our relationship and to demonstrate that all stakeholders are taken into consideration: this is totally new.
We are also fortunate to be in a region that is also in this positivity index process: it is a plus for us to have this common vision. It allows us to create exchanges, to share differently when we set up projects, and to have additional elements to weigh up, especially in the context of the opening of the local regional rail lines to competition.
What difficulties have you encountered in setting up the index and making it evolve?
Edouard Hénaut: Initially, the implementation of the index could be viewed as a source of additional work. It does indeed generate local reporting problems, but we have a well-honed organization for CSR reporting: we were already well on our way to taking our impacts into account. The other difficulty was linked to our ambition to use this tool to support our impact initiatives as closely as possible to the regions. This difficulty is solved by consistency over time, which we have managed to do.
Vincent Destot: Sometimes we are a little disappointed by some of the results of the index, because we thought we were better on certain points, but it is also a stimulus to progress. For some indicators, the difficulty was to find correspondences with our activities, since it is a general index, intended to be applied in all sectors. Nevertheless, there were no real obstacles to deployment. As proof of this, we have observed strong support from the teams.