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"Alpstar has been like a Lift"

Apr 30, 2014
Carbon-neutral Alps - this is the objective pursued by Alpstar's various project partners. The Alpine Rhine Valley has been selected as a pilot region to see how commuters can be motivated to switch to sustainable means of transport, with Hilti AG in Schaan/LI participating as a model company. Hilti's Chief Mobility Officer Daniel Oehry talks about the interaction between CIPRA and other partners.
Image caption:
Daniel Oehry, (c) CIPRA International

The Hilti fleet comprises several thousand vehicles world­wide. Doesn't that make Hilti a strange bedfellow for the Alpstar mobility campaign?
We at Hilti take a global view of mobility. Within this overall context, we gave thought to the current situation at our Liechtenstein location. We found the project plan for Alpstar very interesting; it included a number of questions to which we had no answers ourselves. Above all, the project provided access to valuable expertise in the field of mobility management and support in the form of external project management.

There is a railway station and a bus stop right on Hilti's doorstep, and most of the company's employees are locals. What does it take to generate change?
For commuters, the answers to a few basic questions are decisive: How long does it take? How reliable is the service? How often do I have to change? Where the answers are positive, there is potential for a modal switch. Unfortunately, most people overestimate public transport journey times and underestimate journey times by car. In most cases, commuters are only willing to rethink their mobility choices when they have been persuaded to give the alternatives a try and an opportunity to discuss the results or when they see their neighbour getting on the bus to go to work every day. We don't try to appeal to their consciences over their carbon footprint; we simply make them more aware of their current mobility behaviour so that they start to ask the right questions themselves. Awareness building was at the heart of the Alpstar campaign, and that made it a good solution for us. At Hilti, the subject of mobility is now much higher on the agenda than it was only a couple of years ago.

Like Hilti, CIPRA has an international orientation, but as an NGO it is committed to quite different values. Were there any initial reservations to collaborating with such a project partner?
I didn't notice any reservations at all. If you want to make progress by trying a different tack and setting a new course, you have to take on board a partner with a different view. I find cooperation with CIPRA stimulating; the organisation's expertise and the differences in approach are a real asset. We now have the knowledge and time to move the project forward with all our partners. Without CIPRA at the helm, we would not be doing so well.

You have put a lot of work into the campaign, organising mobility weeks and generally promoting the project within the company, from the shop floor to senior management. Has it been worth the effort so far?
Definitely. There has been a clear change in the perception of mobility management. We have created a platform for the project and defined responsibilities, and we now have ongoing communication on the subject via various channels. Simply by providing some basic figures - how many parking spaces we have, how many cars are parked on our premises every day, and how few employees regularly use public transport - we have triggered a lively debate among our employees.

The project runs until the summer of 2014. How do you intend to move forward with your experience and results to date?
Our experience with Alpstar has shown us that awareness building has to be promoted at a high level. We had a form of mobility management before, but now we have a new and coherent mobility management strategy. Alpstar has been like a lift; it has raised the subject to a higher level of perception.

Barbara Wülser (interview) and Caroline Begle (photo)
CIPRA International

Daniel Oehry is Chief Mobility Officer at Hilti AG. The company, which specialises in technical products, systems and services for the construction industry, has a global headcount of 21,000 employees. Of the 1,600 persons employed at the company's headquarters in Schaan/LI, over two thirds are cross-border commuters. Hilti participated in the Alpstar project as a model company for the Alpine Rhine Valley pilot region.


Source: Annual Report 2013, CIPRA International,