Janssen Pharmaceutica wins gold for cycling policy

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 you?

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!"

Janssen Cycle Friendly Employer

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."

Not all employees cycle. What HOLD them back?

Tinneke: "We asked them last year. Employees who do not cycle find it difficult to combine cycling with private activities before and after work, such as taking the children to school. Others find the distance too long. We hope that in the future we will be able to persuade even more employees to cycle at least part of their home-work route."

How do you plan to achieve that?

Tinneke: "We are currently preparing new cycling campaigns with a view to the autumn and winter. During those cold and dark days, employees tend to take the car more often. We want to motivate them to keep using their bikes, or to opt for more sustainable alternatives such as carpooling, flexi-time or public transport. We are further refining our cycling programmes, including with the help of a new mobility survey this autumn."

"We are also building a new sanitary building with showers centrally on campus next year, a covered bicycle parking area for visitors and additional bicycle parking and charging stations on site."

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."

Tips from Tinneke for mobility coordinators

1.    Focus on clear interventions in your infrastructure and your policy, and work these out consistently.
2.    Take a multidisciplinary approach to mobility: bring together people from HR, safety, infrastructure and communication. This creates shared insights and efforts can be shared and strengthened.
3.    Inspire your employees to become cycling ambassadors. They inform and motivate their colleagues to cycle, and are ready with a bicycle repair kit. 

Want to know more about Cycle Friendly Employer Certification? Contact cindy.raes@fietsersbond.be or 0489 88 85 67.

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If you register bike rides on www.biketowork.be or with the Bike to Work app, you will receive bike coins.