ESG Voices: SIXT and Shared Mobility

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by Richard Turner, Chief Editor at KnowESG
Elena Sadkov, Head of ESG at SIXT
Elena Sadkov, Head of ESG at SIXT

We all need to move. For work, leisure, to meet friends or to find solitude. Globally, transport, including that for industrial and commercial logistics, accounts for approximately 14% of GHGs. More importantly, perhaps, is the connection we can all personally develop with the options available to us for personal transport, or, more aptly, personal mobility

Rental car companies have traditionally provided just that, an ever more streamlined, simple service that allows us to drive from A to B. However, with the growing digitalisation of our interaction with changing transport options, that role is quickly evolving to help varying forms of personal mobility flourish into opportunities for shared transport and movement, or 'shared mobility'. SIXT, as a ubiquitously recognisable mobility service provider, sits at the forefront of that evolution, and is mapping out the huge and diverse potential for ESG implementation across its business. 

We spoke to Elena Sadkov, SIXT’s new Head of ESG, to find out more about the transition to a sustainable form of shared mobility.


How would you introduce yourself? 

I studied Business Administration at Mannheim University and began my career at a management consultancy company. In 2017 I joined SIXT as Financial Project Manager, became Head of the Internal CFO Consulting Unit in 2019, and Head of ESG in 2022. 


Why did you join SIXT? 

Back in 2017 I was looking for an opportunity to contribute to a forward-thinking, fast-moving and innovative company with the skills and knowledge I acquired through my six years of experience in management consulting. I felt that SIXT can offer exactly that: An exciting, fast-paced environment to which I can contribute with my prioritising and project management skills. After being with the company for over five years, I feel I can contribute to embedding ESG within SIXT by using my network, and I see it as a great opportunity to face a new and exciting challenge.  


What is your sustainability story? 

We are excited to have introduced our "360-Degrees Sustainable Strategy” in September 2022. It consists of four pillars:       

  • Electric vehicles:

70 to 90% of our fleet in Europe will be electrified by 2030.      

  • Charging infrastructure:

SIXT will invest EUR 50m in the charging infrastructure at our branches and grant access to up to 300,000 public charging points to our customers in Europe, in cooperation with a partner.     

  • Shared mobility platform:

In a single app we already combine a variety of offers that make mobility more sustainable. Adding SIXT charge – our latest product to find available charging stations – to this universe of services, will be a next important step. 

  • CO2 neutrality of our branches and sites by 2023:

Five years earlier than planned we are transforming our workspaces into climate-neutral environments. In the beginning partly through compensation. 

With our 360-degrees sustainable approach we aim to change mobility for good and accelerate enthusiasm for e-mobility. A recent Kantar TNS study among SIXT customers shows that renting EVs can reduce prejudice against e-mobility by 70 percent. 63 percent of respondents said that car rentals are a great opportunity to test EVs. 

The prime target of the newly established ESG Department is to operationalise SIXT’s sustainability strategy and to embed sustainability in all our business processes. 

What is the most crucial aspect of the transition to sustainability? 

People. People are the most crucial aspect in the transformation of companies towards more sustainable business models. Demonstrating the opportunities that this transformation entails, motivating people to embark on this journey, and ensuring they see the advantages and stay committed to this path is highly relevant. 

And towards customers it is about convenience. SIXT wants to provide customers with innovative and easy-to-use solutions, making it as simple as possible for drivers to rely on sustainable mobility solutions. Therefore, SIXT is continuously investing in innovative technologies and in further improving its customer experience so we can accelerate the enthusiasm for both e-mobility and shared mobility. 

What are the key challenges in store for sustainability in the mobility sector? How is SIXT positioned to tackle these challenges? 

Mobility is a key demand of our society. At SIXT we believe that with shared mobility we can offer our customers a more sustainable way to consume mobility. On average, a privately owned car is only used for a very short time during the day, which is a waste of resources such as raw materials and parking space, not to mention traffic congestion on our roads. 

Shared mobility enables a higher vehicle usage and an increased transportation capacity, reducing the number of vehicles on our roads. Additionally, we can offer our customers flexibility, ease, affordability, and a cleaner ecological footprint. We would also like to leverage our position to drive excitement for e-mobility. Current research shows that people are more likely to purchase an electric vehicle when they have rented an EV before. In fact, the TNS study among SIXT customers reveals that 55 percent of respondents say an EV rental is important or very important for a future purchase decision. When renting an EV, customers have the opportunity to convince themselves about the advantages of e-mobility.

That’s how we can contribute towards a more sustainable mobility sector. 


Where do you see corporate value derived from ESG ratings? 

We are pursuing our sustainability strategy because it allows us to meet the responsibilities that we have as a company towards our society and planet. At SIXT, we believe in innovation, progress and freedom. Because of that, we are continuously investing in new and innovative technologies, as well as in expanding our EV fleet and our charging infrastructure. These aspects are key to reducing carbon emissions in the mobility sector, enabling more sustainable means of transport. 

The corporate value ESG ratings can provide is substantial. ESG ratings can help companies to identify potential for improvement in each of the three dimensions: Environment, Social and Governance. They also make the ESG performance of direct competitors comparable. Additionally, ESG ratings can help investors navigate the ESG landscape of issuing companies, while customers can evaluate if a company is actually committed towards its sustainability goals.

Read more on SIXT's approach to Responsibility here.

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