The SunPedal Ride
Paris Edition — April 2022
This is a blog with experiences of The SunPedal Ride Paris edition undertaken in the month of April 2022 as a cause to raise awareness on sustainability topics. A big thank you to the supporting organisations — Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry(IFCCI), Air France, Zoomo ebikes, Deliveroo, Back Market and Joltee. More about The SunPedal Ride project here — www.thesunpedalride.com
Mumbai to Paris and the initial days…
The Air France Dreamliner B789 flight from Mumbai to Paris was a smooth experience. A big thank you to Kanchan Khushalani, Jean-Noel Rault and the entire Air France-KLM India team for supporting this project to raise awareness on sustainable mobility. For me, it was interesting to learn about the sustainability efforts undertaken by the airline company. One key data point to note here — The fuel consumed in this aircraft fleet is 3.21 litres/passenger/100 kilometres. More on the sustainability initiatives later in the blog…
The day I reached Paris from Mumbai, it started snowing and the temperature was hovering between 0 and 4 DegC. Quite unusual for an April day in Paris! Meanwhile, back in February 2022, my friend had signed me up for the Schneider Electric Paris Full Marathon which was 3 days away from my arrival date in Paris. Still jet-lagged and while getting used to the sudden 20 DegC drop in temperature, I decided to run the marathon at a very ease pace. Fortunately, the weather seemed quite pleasant on the day of the run. In 4 hours and 40 minutes, I managed to run the 42 kilometers and finish in one piece! There can be a whole different blog on the entire run experience but for now, it is interesting to note that the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon is a carbon neutral marathon! — which sets an example for sustainable events.
Picking up the Zoomo E-bikes in Paris
Me and my co-rider, Nico, visited the Zoomo ebike shop in Paris to meet the team — Alex, Karl, Alexis and Oscar. Zoomo is an Australia-based ebike company, currently expanding in the EU region. For this SunPedal Ride project in Paris, Zoomo agreed to support by providing a couple of their ebikes for the journey duration. I must say that these ebikes are built to last and effortless to ride with 5 pedal assist levels! Very robust and heavy duty frame with front suspension and wide MTB tires, especially useful for B2B applications to carry ample luggage. Alex and I took the ebikes for a spin along the Seine river while crossing some iconic Parisian spots — The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Here is an amazing video made by the Zoomo team -
Zoomo on LinkedIn: Zoomo x SunPedal Ride
We are proud to partner with Sushil Reddy, sustainability advocate and The SunPedal Ride founder, as he begins his two…
A meeting with the food delivery company — Deliveroo
The UK based food delivery company Deliveroo has a fleet of more than 20,000 delivery riders in France which adds to a considerable footprint for the company in terms of CO2 emissions. One of the key sustainability strategies for Deliveroo is to shift their riders from using petrol scooters to electric bikes in order to reduce the carbon footprint. Hence, Deliveroo has started incentivizing its riders to use Zoomo ebikes via a partnership. I met Sophia Schafer and Alexandre Fauqueux from the Deliveroo partnerships team in Paris to understand more about their sustainability initiatives. I briefly got introduced to the General Manager of the Deliveroo France team, Melvina Sarfati El Grably. An influencer, Yvan, uses Zoomo ebikes for his Deliveroo work in La Defense area in Paris while documenting his experiences via social media. It was good to meet Yvan and know more about his experiences of doing daily deliveries on Zoomo ebikes. For people working in the gig economy like Yvan, they can earn more money by doing more deliveries per day without breaking much sweat using an ebike v/s a normal mechanical bike. A good business case for sustainability!
The collaboration with the Indo French Chamber of Commerce and Industry(IFCCI) to highlight sustainability initiatives
The Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry belongs to a worldwide network of 124 French Chambers (CCIFI) in 95 countries with over 37,000 companies. One of the most active bilateral chambers in India, the Indo-French Chamber is a private association that promotes mutually beneficial trade relations between India & France. IFCCI is celebrating its 45th year in existence while highlighting sustainability as one of the key topics of the members companies.
Thanks to Payal S Kanwar, the Director General at IFCCI and the entire team including Surya Singh, Bansi Bhavsar, Sumeet Anand and Shweta Pahuja, I got an opportunity to collaborate with IFCCI to meet some member companies in Paris and highlight their sustainability initiatives by doing interviews. Below are some of the highlights from the IFCCI network company meetings -
In a meeting with Mr. Gilles VERMOT DESROCHES, the key takeaway was the importance of integrating suppliers in the sustainability strategy. For Schneider Electric, more than 2/3rd of the turnover comes from about 1/2 of its suppliers and with more than 50,000 suppliers in the value chain, Gilles highlighted the importance of having sustainability strategy embedded in the suppliers too. With regards to the presence in India, Gilles mentioned about the commitment towards the development of society in India via CSR and embarking its partners in the process too.
I am very thankful to Patrizia GATTI GREGORI from the Keolis team for taking out the time to show me the presentation regarding sustainability initiatives at Keolis during our meeting. ‘KeolisWay’ is the sustainability strategy of the company with key Stakeholders — People, Planet, Passengers and Public Transport Authorities. Health and Safety, Gender Equality and reduction in GHG Emissions are some of the key sustainability pillars. Keolis has been actively involved in the Hyderabad metro project in India.
It was great to meet a fellow senior HEC Paris alumnus, Antoine BENECH inside the beautiful garden in the heart of Paris, Jardin des Tuileries to learn more about Sodexo and its sustainability practices. The ability to influence and inculcate the sustainability mindset in the 100 million customers via data and digital transformation was a interesting learning. One of the key ways to reduce CO2 emissions for Sodexo is to eliminate paper and stationary by shifting towards digital processes. Being in the employee rewards and benefits domain via meal cards, Sodexo has reduction of food waste as one of the main sustainability agendas. Sodexo has been working with a fintech firm, Zeta, in India. Special mention to another HEC Alumnus, Diego who assisted me in this interaction with Antoine.
Thomas de Moussac, the co-director of Technique Solaire mentioned the importance of the Indo-French collaboration with regards to clean energy, also citing the International Solar Alliance. The Technique Solaire group is an independent French producer of renewable energy with a presence in New Delhi too.
Benjamin Alleau, Executive Vice-President — Group Head of Sustainability Services at Capgemini highlighted the ambitious sustainability initiatives of
the company during the interaction. He mentioned about the fact that all new buildings are built using Eco-Design with 30% lesser carbon footprint, while stating that the Capgemini Mumbai campus is already 100% powered using solar energy. Benjamin also mentioned that the CEO of Capgemini has sustainability as one of the top agendas since the past 2 years. One of the key challenges related to sustainability for Capgemini is converting plans to action on the ground.
Vincent Etchebehere, Director of Sustainable Development at Air France Group highlighted the recently launched emissions reduction strategy — ACT sustainability initiative. Increased use of sustainable aviation fuel(using biofuels), fuel efficient aircraft fleet, reducing plastic and food waste and reducing noise pollution for local communities living near the airports are some of the key sustainability initiatives.
Some more interactions in Paris…
Thanks to Adeline Gogé Lefaivre (who was part of the Veligo team earlier), I had an opportunity to interact with Jean-François RODRIGUEZ to better understand the sustainability initiatives of La Poste Group. With more than 17000 post offices across France, the La Poste Group has a considerable footprint. Social inclusion of the people in the banking system and shift of the mail delivery fleet to electric vehicles were some of the points regarding the sustainability initiatives.
Pierre Trémolières, CEO of the company, Accenta, talked about the importance of decarbonisation of buildings in the sustainability transition. Accenta is a France based company which developed an innovative solution for heating and cooling applications using Geothermal energy, soon to have its presence in India. Thank you Hortense Chidaine for organising the interaction!
Joltee is a Paris based company which has an innovative insurance solution for electric vehicles using data. This solution also increases good driver behavior via reward incentives and partnerships. Soundar Adavane, Florent SEJOUR — Thank you for the support in this sustainable mobility outreach project!
Romain Erny works in the sustainable mobility team at Choose Paris Region, which is a governmental agency fostering the attractiveness of Paris Region on a national, regional and world scale. In this meeting, Romain highlighted three main sustainable mobility initiatives in the city of Paris, namely,
- Grand Paris Project (extension of Metro lines to Paris suburbs for better connectivity)
- Moving away from Petrol and Diesel vehicles and converting them into electric
- Increasing Active Transportation(walking and biking) in the city
Back Market is an online marketplace for refurbished electronics. It is a rapidly growing company based in France. In terms of sustainability, Back Market has a business case to combat e-waste by selling second hand electronics at heavy discounts. Not only it increases the lifetime usage of the product, it decreases the burden on the pocket for the people willing to buy the almost-new products. Thanks to Thibault Russier and Pauline Deschamps, I received a refurbished GoPro 6 as a support in the project! You can find some interesting anecdotes about buying renewed v/s new electronics here.
Visit to the HEC Paris campus in Jouy-en-Josas
I visited my alma mater twice on this journey — the first time on ebikes with another HEC Paris alumnus, Vishal on a weekend and the second time using public transportation to meet Kate Gambey, Global Communications and Digital Marketing Strategist at HEC Paris. Tucked in a beautiful little town called Jouy-en-Josas, the 50 kilometre bike ride to and fro on a sunny weekend was a good outing. Thank you Kate for the help in the outreach of the cause!
I had a brief meeting with Ross Douglas, Founder of the annual mobility focused event called Autonomy, to learn more about the event and his views on sustainable mobility. Mayank Sehgal, an HEC Paris alumnus and a YouTuber rode with me on one of the weekends to experience the ebikes and document the journey. Thank you Mayank! Also, Sahith Reddy accompanied me on one of the days as a co-rider in the city. Thank you Sahith!
Finally, about my biking experience in the city of Paris…
I am very much impressed with the bike infrastructure in Paris. The Mayor, Anne Hidalgo had sanctioned the creation of 650 kilometers of pop-up cycleways during the first Covid lockdown in April 2020. Such emergency infrastructure for essential workers was quickly termed as “coronapiste”. These pop-up bike lanes have now become permanent. One such example is Rue de Rivoli — stretched between Place de Bastille to Place de la Concorde, this path was widened for bikes during the pandemic and since then, it is now a permanent bike path! Under the plan Velo Act 2, Paris aims to become 100% cyclable by 2026. for which, France is investing 250 million euros ($290 million). Protected bike lanes with marked signages make it very easy and safe for people to get on to bikes for local commute within the city. There is definitely a visible shift towards sustainable mobility in Paris. With ebikes, the local commute definitely becomes effortless with zero tail-pipe emissions which has the potential to replace cars in some use cases.
Feel free to reach out in case you need further information regarding the project and the cause.