Top level executives from Total, Michelin, 3M, Volvo and UPS were part of the panel “Improving Road Safety Outcomes: Private Sector Commitments” hosted on 15 January 2020 in the framework of the annual SuM4All Consortium Meeting held at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC. Coordinated by IRF, the panel aimed at illustrating areas of opportunity where companies can make meaningful contributions to road safety outcomes and inspire further action and commitment in the sector.
(L-R) Benoît Luc, Joanna Cornell, Dan Chen, Bill M. Halkias
“We need to learn to better harness the power of corporate resources and their presence in our communities” said IRF President Mr. Bill M. Halkias in his introductory remarks. The Decade of Action has taught us that saving five million lives and avoiding 50 million serious injuries will require more significant commitments and greater action from everyone. “If effectively engaged, the private sector is well placed to have a profound and positive impact on road safety” Mr Halkias stressed. “It is important to understand how private companies integrate road safety into their overall sustainability efforts and which are the most effective strategies they apply to do so”.
Mr. Dan Chen, Vice President and General Manager of 3M’s Transportation Safety Division, mentioned that 3M’s road safety efforts are structured around the four familiar E’s: Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency responses. “We spend quite a bit of effort on improvement of our drivers of fleet vehicles globally. Many of our 90,000 employees are in field operations. Importantly, we link driver behaviour to the 3M Code of Conduct and our safety culture”. 3M places significant focus on safety internally but also as a technology company, equally develops solutions for roadway users that reduce fatalities.
For many private sector actors road safety is far more than just a risk that can severely impact business but instead a value and a key pillar of a vision that sees companies fully engaged in this activity with their employees and with the communities to actively contribute to the common good. “Safety is a core value at UPS” said Mrs. Joanna Cornell, Vice President Health and Safety. UPS places a strong emphasis on community safety and acts upon this by providing extensive trainings to its drivers, as well as delivering life-sustaining relief and recovery supplies to communities.
Bill M. Halkias, IRF President, delivering his introductory remarks
Contributing to the panel discussion, Mr. Peter Kronberg, Safety Director, Volvo, further stated that “traffic safety for us is not a CSR issue. It is core business” and importantly highlighted the varying contextual needs with regard to safer mobility: “Towards Zero” in mature countries and “Bending the Curve” in LMIC. Whilst mentioning how the private sector’s innovation and leadership can be instrumental for facilitating transformational change, he still mentioned that the importance of the regulatory side should not be underestimated.
This session demonstrated that by harnessing the power of corporate resources and presence in our communities, the improvements in road safety driven by the private sector can extend well beyond CSR initiatives and company fleet operations. Exemplifying this, Mr. Benoît Luc, Senior Vice President Europe of Marketing and Services, Total, illustrated how SafeWay RightWay, born of a partnership with the World Bank, made it possible to deliver partnerships between private companies to carry out joint actions which come under the sharing of best practice, pooling resources for activities such as trainings, whilst also raising awareness of vulnerable road users etc. Some of these activities thus easily deliver not only on road safety, but on a number of other SDG targets.
With several of the companies citing partnerships as key for creating meaningful, sustainable impact, Mr. Nicolas Beaumont, Senior Vice President Sustainable Development and Mobility, Michelin, provided guidance on how to build these partnerships and ensuring long-term sustainability and impact. “Safe Mobility, rather than being a competitive subject, should see collaborative efforts among all stakeholders” he stressed. “Investing time to identify suitable partners is key because a strong partnership always translates to greater positive change and impact on the ground”.
Moderating the panel discussion, IRF Director General, Mrs. Susanna Zammataro stated “We could not think of a better place to have this discussion today, since Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) – and its work on the Global Roadmap of Action – is a wonderful testimony of the importance and the value of working together and in synergy”.
The panel was an official pre-event to the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, taking place in Stockholm, Sweden, 19-20th February 2020.
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