News

Umicore Brugge gets the silver cycle friendly medal


BRUGES - Umicore Cobalt & Specialty Materials in Bruges was the first employer in West Flanders to receive a silver 'Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate'. With this, the Fietsersbond rewards the company's efforts to put cycling to work on the map, because no less than one in six of Umicore's employees now regularly cycle to work.

Umicore Brugge motivates its employees by offering a maximum bicycle allowance, an extensive bicycle lease with assistance, insurance and maintenance, bicycle clothing and a technical service which carries out minor repairs and helps stranded employees with breakdowns. In addition, a recently concluded collective labour agreement provides for a nice incentive for employees if the target of 30,000 kilometres cycled to work is reached. After working hours as well, Umicore Brugge motivates its employees to cycle. For example, there is the annual participation in Sporta MonVentoux, the costs of which are borne by the employer, and Umicore also sponsors bicycle tours and other cycling activities organised by the staff.

Geert Hennebel, Business Line Manager of Umicore Bruges received the award from Cindy Raes of Fietsersbond. This makes Umicore Bruges the first employer in West Flanders who can officially call itself a "Cycle Friendly Employer".

A few adjustments to the bicycle infrastructure within the company and a clear bicycle policy towards customers and visitors can in the future further strengthen the already made efforts. Fietsersbond is convinced that a golden CFE label is within reach for Umicore Bruges.

The European Parliament aims for 19% cyclists by 2023


BRUSSELS - The European Parliament was awarded a bronze Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate in December 2021 for the efforts to encourage its employees to cycle to work. How does an employer become cycle friendly? We asked mobility manager Blaise Vanopdenbosch.

What place does cycling have in the Parliament's mobility plan?

“We have been encouraging staff members to use bicycles for service trips for almost 20 years. The Parliament's buildings and the institutions we work with in Brussels are close together. Therefore, cycling is the fastest and most convenient choice. In the beginning, we only had a few service bicycles available for employees. We have renewed and expanded this fleet over the years. At the moment, colleagues can borrow about fifty modern bikes for their service trips, including 35 e-bikes.”

Are there sufficient service bikes available for the staff?

"At the moment this number is sufficient. In 2012, 700 journeys were made using the service bikes. The number has increased to 3,800 per year in 2019. 675 different staff members have already used them. Some borrow a bike daily. We have a maintenance contract whereby the bicycles are checked every month and repaired within 24 hours in case of a defect. Staff members can also use the bikes to cycle home after work and return them the next day.

What kind of cycling infrastructure does the European Parliament provide?

“We have covered and secured bicycle parking facilities in our buildings. In 2022, we plan to equip a new floor for visitors coming by bike.” “In 2021, we have opened a state-of-the-art bicycle parking with more than 100 staple-shaped bicycle racks, ventilated lockers, changing rooms, showers, charging stations for e-bikes, a compressor, a repair column and places for special bikes (e.g. cargo bikes). Not all buildings are equipped to this level yet, but it is our ambition to offer the same level of comfort to all cyclists and visitors who want to come by bike in the future.”

The European Parliament does not offer a cycling allowance to its staff. How do you manage to make employees cycle to work?

“Every year in May, we hold the cycling event 'Velomai' with lectures, workshops, bicycle tours and trainings. We also participate in the Velomai Cycling Challenge, a cross-institutional cycling competition organised by the European Commission. During Mobility Week, we organise a campaign to promote cycling. At the Mobility Point, an information desk for mobility in our main building, staff members can also obtain information about their mobility and sustainable transport.”

17% of the employees of the European Parliament cycle. This is a high percentage, especially for Brussels. How did you achieve this?

“The 17% figure comes from our last mobility survey. The corona pandemic has certainly had an impact on this because many employees have switched from public transport to cycling or walking. In the meantime, a cycling culture has been firmly established in the European Parliament. In North European countries cycling is common. The inspiring example of cycling colleagues has had a ripple effect and has encouraged staff members to cycle as well. Also the new bicycle facilities that were recently realised in Brussels during the pandemic have increased the comfort and safety for cyclists.”

What are your future ambitions when it comes to cycling?

“We have an ambitious target of 19% bicycle traffic to work by 2023. To attract more cyclists, we will expand and modernise our existing bicycle parking facilities, as well as provide additional new parking spaces for bicycles.”

Janssen Pharmaceutica wins gold for cycling policy


BEERSE - Janssen Pharmaceutica is the first Belgian employer to receive a golden 'Cycle Friendly Employer' certificate for its campus in Beerse. We asked mobility coordinator Tinneke Verboven what Janssen owes this recognition to. A third of Janssen's employees regularly cycle to the campus in Beerse - a total of no less than three million bicycle kilometres in 2019. The pharmaceutical company owes these admirable statistics to a well thought-out cycling policy. Cycling employees enjoy, among other things, a bicycle allowance, bicycle lease, bicycle assistance, insurance, maintenance, bicycle training, inexpensive bicycle clothing, bicycle repair stands and high-quality bicycle parking facilities.

Why is cycling so important for Janssen Pharmaceutica?

Janssen's mobility coordinator Tinneke Verboven is proud of her company. "We have been focusing on sustainability for some time. Commuting is an important part of this. The more employees come to work by bike, the fewer cars on the road. An additional benefit is that cycling to work has a positive impact on both the physical and mental health of our employees. When you cycle, you get a mental rest. Ideal to start or end a working day. That's why I try to cycle to work twice a week on my electric bike. It is a twelve-kilometre route that largely follows the Dessel-Schoten canal. During the ride, I enjoy nature. Wonderful!"

How do you get so many employees on their bikes?

Tinneke: "The campus in Beerse is well located. A large number of employees live within cycling distance. We have always encouraged cycling. For example, Janssen Pharmaceutica was the first lease partner of KBC bicycle leasing in Belgium. Employees who live further away are given the opportunity to lease an e-bike or speed pedelec. The extensive campus in Beerse is also car-free. We keep cars and heavy traffic out as much as possible. Only service vehicles with a valid reason may drive onto the campus. The car parks are located outside the campus. If you come by car, you have to walk a bit. Cyclists are allowed to ride up to the entrance of their building at an appropriate speed. There, they have covered bicycle racks. And then there are the thirty-four bicycle ambassadors in our company. They help their colleagues to get around by bike. The mobility team also sets up cycling campaigns and takes part in the Fietsersbond's Bike to Work programme to make it easy to keep track of the kilometres travelled to work."

Golden CFE certificate

Janssen's efforts are now being rewarded. The company is the first in Belgium to receive a golden 'Cycle Friendly Employer' certificate, a European label awarded by the Fietsersbond. The certificate has three levels: a bronze, silver and gold medal. Only companies with a high quality, creative, innovative, comprehensive and exemplary cycling policy are eligible for a 'Golden CFE Certificate'. Tinneke: "The past few years we have invested enormously in alternative mobility, with results. The certificate is the ideal way to show that."

DNS Belgium is a Cycle Friendly Employer


DNS Belgium was recently certified as a Cycle Friendly Employer. The company, which is responsible for the registration and management of Belgian domain names, obtained a Silver Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate after an audit by the Fietsersbond. DNS Belgium sees the certificate as the culmination of their efforts to encourage cycling to work.

"We want to play a pioneering role in the field of sustainability", says Sustainability Coordinator Arnaud Recko. "Mobility plays an important role in this. Our ambitious mobility plan focuses on raising awareness and on concrete actions for a greener society.”

Raising awareness of CO2 emissions

DNS Belgium is actively engaged in motivating and informing its employees about CO2 emissions and the climate action plan. Each employee has his or her CO2 score calculated.

Encouraging cycling

DNS Belgium stimulates cycling with concrete measures. "We encourage our employees with an adapted cafeteria plan to exchange their company car for a leased bicycle with a maintenance contract", explains Arnaud Recko. "We provide a bicycle allowance, participate in Bike to Work and campaigns such as the Sustainable Mobility Day, the Bike to Work Spring Challenge, the national applause day for cyclists, Car Free Day ...".

Measures to reduce CO2 emissions

We give our employees the opportunity to work partly from home. We attend international conferences abroad from a distance, if possible. In addition to cycling and working from home, DNS Belgium wants to reduce its CO2 emissions in other ways. The lease fleet promotes sustainable models and the company encourages the train and shared bikes. DNS Belgium wants to compensate for any remaining emissions by planting forests in Flanders and protecting tropical forests in the South. Arnoud Recko: "With these actions for greener mobility we want to become climate neutral or even climate positive. We see this European recognition as a Cycle Friendly Employer as a sign that we are doing well. It is a motivation to continue our efforts".

KBC HEADQUARTER ACHIEVES SILVER


The KBC headquarters at Havenlaan in Brussels received a silver Cycle Friendly Employer certificate from Mikaël Van Eeckhoudt, the director of Fietsersbond. After a self-evaluation, an expert from Fietsersbond came by for an audit. The expert examined how the KBC branch scores on various aspects of bicycle policy.

In recent years, KBC's head office has invested heavily in cycling infrastructure, bicycles for staff and services for cycling employees. The easily accessible, spacious and secure bicycle storage, as well as the new showers and changing rooms for the staff, scored high. Visitors can properly park their bicycles at the main entrance.

Thanks to an advantageous wage exchange, employees of KBC can lease a bicycle of their choice for their commute. They receive the maximum bicycle allowance of 0.24 euros per km. At the Brussels head office, the staff's bicycles are subjected to an annual technical inspection.

KBC also participates in Bike to Work, the programme of Fietsersbond that encourages employees to cycle to work.

Fietsersbond advises KBC to invest in the coming years in a coordinated bicycle policy plan to tap the full cycling potential of its staff. More bicycle parking facilities and a sustained awareness raising of all employees are important initiatives on the way to a golden certificate.

THE FLEMISH GOVERNMENT OBTAINS 2 SILVER CYCLE FRIENDLY CERTIFICATES


The Flemish Government has obtained a silver Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate for two sites: the Herman Teirlinck and Hendrik Conscience buildings in Brussels.

These branches of the Flemish Government score highly in the field of services for cycling staff with annual maintenance of bicycles, clear communication about bicycle facilities, possibilities to test bicycles, the lending of service bicycles and discounts from bicycle dealers. Staff members can easily borrow service bikes thanks to a smart key cabinet.

The bicycle manager of the Flemish Government is responsible for the implementation of the bicycle policy plan. Cycling to work has an important place in the project 'Healthy living at work', which runs throughout the Flemish Government.

“Cycle Friendly Employer certification is on the one hand a useful tool that sets clear goals for employers to create a cycling friendly climate. On the other hand, it is the icing on the cake. It is very nice to see that our efforts have paid off in order to obtain two silver certificates. Thanks to the clear feedback points for improvement, this further stimulates us to work out a path to go to full swing for the gold certificate.”
Sibert Verbinnen, Flemish Government

EASME IS BELGIUM’S FIRST 'CYCLE FRIENDLY EMPLOYER'


EASME, the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, is the first employer on Belgian soil to obtain a Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate. The agency of the European Commission was handed over a Bronze Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate.

EASME, located in the Brussels’ city centre, has 500 employees. No less than 100 employees are members of the EASME Cycling Group, a dynamic club of cycling minded colleagues who organise informative and fun activities about cycling. Since 2016, the #velomai campaign has been taking place annually with workshops, a competition, a bicycle breakfast and a bicycle lunch.

EASME scores high in terms of motivation, communication and service to cycling colleagues. Oliver Kozak, Senior Advisor and president of the EASME Cycling Group, is very pleased with the certificate but remains ambitious: “For EASME, obtaining a Bronze Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate is the crowning glory of our efforts in recent years. The feedback we received is valuable to make our company even more bicycle friendly. With regard to parking policy and bicycle-friendliness for customers, we can still make a lot of progress. It is our ambition to obtain a Golden Certificate by 2020!”.

Large employers interested

Fietsersbond, responsible for certification in Belgium, can audit and certify other interested companies in 2019. Some large employers such as KBC and the Flemish Government hope to be able to obtain their Cycling Friendly Employer Certificate this year.

What is CFE-certification?

The ‘Cycle Friendly Employer’-certificates or CFE-certificates are European quality labels for cycle friendly companies. These are awarded in 16 European countries including Belgium.

CFE-certification recognises the efforts of your company to get employees to cycle to work. The acquisition of a CFE-certificate makes your cycling investments visible to the outside world. Thanks to a CFE-certificate your company proves itself to be a sustainable employer who cares for healthy employees and mobility. Obtaining a CFE-certificate shows your company is ready for future challenges.

Which kinds of CFE-certificates are there?

CFE - Logo - Bronze

Companies with a basic cycling policy who have made demonstrable investments for the purpose of cycling to work qualify for a ‘Bronze CFE-certificate’. The first results of the policy and the investments must be concretely visible. The company will have created a solid foundation to promote cycling and it has stated ambitions to carry forward its cycling policy in the future.

CFE - Logo - Bronze

Companies that have an elaborated cycling policy and a clearly prevalent cycling culture may be eligible for a ‘Silver CFE-certificate’. Cycling is part of the DNA of the company, as demonstrated by a quality cycling infrastructure, an meaningful programme to stimulate cycling, investments in company bikes, and an increasing or high percentage of cycling employees.

CFE - Logo - Bronze

Companies with a quality, creative, innovative and complete cycling policy may be eligible for a ‘Golden CFE-certificate’. The company will demonstrate cycling as their prime transport choice by means of an excellent cycling infrastructure, a complete incentive package, frequent use of bikes on all levels and departments, and a management that actively supports cycling. This company serves as an example to other employers.

Who carries out the CFE-certification?

In Belgium CFE-certification is carried out by Fietsersbond. An expert from Fietsersbond will examine whether an employer meets the criteria for cycle friendly companies determined on a European level.

With the Bike to Work-program Fietserbond has gathered 12 years of experience in work-related cycling and corporate cycling policy: www.biketowork.be

How is the CFE-certification carried out?

Self-evaluation

Stage 1: Self-evaluation

You will receive a self-evaluation form. This form allows you to determine whether your company would score enough points to get certified. Our expert examines the self-evaluation, makes further inquiries if needed and provides feedback, e.g. quick wins to reach better scores in the short term.

If your scores per category, as well as your total score, are sufficient, your company is ready for the next step: a Cycle Friendly Certification audit.

The audit investigates your company's performance in 5 categories:

1. Information, communication and motivation
2. Coordination and organisation
3. Services
4. Infrastructure
5. Customer related cycling policy

Onsite audit

Stage 2: CFE audit

If your company has obtained a satisfactory score on the self-evaluation, you will be asked to provide ample evidence.

If all provided evidence is accepted, an expert from Fietsersbond will make an appointment for an onsite audit. During this visit he will verify all criteria by inspecting the cycling infrastructure, further proof of evidence and by talking to key persons in the company's cycling policy.

The auditor will draw up a detailed report with a score and feedback for each criterium as well as a total score.

If your scores per category and your total score are satisfactory, your company is eligible to obtain a certificate.

Cycle Friendly Employer

Stage 3: Certificate

If the onsite audit results in a satisfactory total score and ample scoring for each category your company will be awarded a CFE-certificate. Depending on the scores your company can obtain a ‘Bronze CFE-certificate’, a ‘Silver CFE-certificate’ or a ‘Golden CFE-certificate’.

A CFE-certificate is valid for 3 years. In order to be allowed to use the CFE-logo, your company will pay for a 3 years's licence. Consult the tariffs here.

After a period of 3 years your company may apply again for CFE-certification.

What is the added value of the CFE-certification?

When your company obtains a CFE-certificate it raises its profile as a quality employer who cares for the health and wellbeing of his employees as well as their mobility. Gaining a CFE-certificate is a signal that your company is able to innovate in a sustainable way, to carry out structural changes and to meet future challenges.

Companies with certification will receive attention in the Fietsersbond's and Bike to Work channels.

Tariffs

Company size Consultancy, onsite audit and report 3-year licence CFE-logo (cost per year)
1 – 50 employees 1650 € 150 €
51 – 250 employees 2200 € 300 €
251 – 500 employees 2750 € 500 €
501 – 1000 employees 3300 € 600 €
> 1000 employees tailor-made offer tailor-made offer

All tariffs are VAT inclusive.

The price paid for the audit and license is used to cover personnel costs and the costs of running the CFE scheme. If there is any leftover on top of the basic costs, those are used entirely by Fietsersbond vzw to fund cycling advocacy projects.

Investment in cycling is cost-effective

Employees are more productive and healthier.

The number of sick days of employees cycling to work is 1/3 lower than that of the colleagues who do not cycle. Fewer sick days means more productive employees. Cycling employees have lower BMI-values (cyclists: 24.01/car users: 25.66) and obtain a noticeably higher score for wellbeing (cyclists: 60.61/car users: 54.61). Happy employees perform better on the work floor.

Lower costs

Parking bikes requires less space than parking cars: on the parking space for one car (12m2) 7 bikes may be parked.
More cycling employees reduces fuel costs for themselves or your business.

More punctual employees and better mobility

Cycling employees get to work more easily, will be able to find a parking place for their bike more quickly and arrive late less often. Cyclists relieve pressure on the roads to and from your company and make the company more accessible. Your company contributes to a more sustainable environment.

Testimonials

“Cycle Friendly Employer certification is on the one hand a useful tool that sets clear goals for employers to create a cycling friendly climate. On the other hand, it is the icing on the cake. It is very nice to see that our efforts have paid off in order to obtain two silver certificates. Thanks to the clear feedback points for improvement, this further stimulates us to work out a path to go to full swing for the gold certificate.”
Sibert Verbinnen, Flemish Government

“For EASME, obtaining a Bronze Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate is the crowning glory of our efforts in recent years. The feedback we received is valuable to make our company even more bicycle friendly. With regard to parking policy and bicycle-friendliness for customers, we can still make a lot of progress. It is our ambition to obtain a Golden Certificate by 2020!”
Oliver Kozak, Senior Advisor EASME & president of the EASME Cycling Group