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Fifty carbonologists are now working in VINCI Facilities business units. The purpose of this new role is to accelerate the transformation of processes, in close collaboration with operational teams (business unit, sales and project managers). The objective is to promote this VINCI Energies Building Solutions low-carbon products and solutions to all its customers.

The promotion of low-carbon strategies now has its own dedicated experts: carbonologists (or carbon managers). VINCI Energies created this new role in early 2020. At the bidding of CEO Pierre-Yves Dehaye, Nicolas Galet, Low-carbon Business Development Manager at VINCI Facilities Sud Centre Est, took the lead on building a network of carbonologists.

As he explains, “This network was created to support the division’s strategy and make carbon the new unit of measurement guiding our business units’ activities. Its aim is to create a collective, expert and customer-focused decarbonisation dynamic.”

In immersion

The network’s assignments are varied. One of its major responsibilities is to ensure accurate carbon calculations to avoid any greenwashing. “Network members are present daily in our business units and acting to raise awareness both internally and with our customers,” says Nicolas Galet. “They establish benchmarks and identify low-carbon performance actions (LCPA) to be implemented. This carbon calculation expertise is invaluable for creating statutory BEGES (GHG balance) reports internally or for our customers, and also providing customers with our Carbon QuickScans.”*

Carbonologists also work with commercial teams to calculate the carbon commitments offered to customers as part of decarbonised or carbon-reducing contracts with purchasing teams, and they support project managers with the implementation of these next-generation contracts. They also work with new starters to help make carbon an instinctive consideration in their day-to-day work.

“To create a collective, expert and customer-focused decarbonisation dynamic”

Two key strengths of this network of 50 carbonologists are its proximity in the field and its understanding of each business unit’s activities. Some are full-time in the role, while others share this assignment with their operational role (operational efficiency engineer, energy efficiency engineer, QSE engineer, project manager, sales manager or operational support engineer).

Facilitating meetings with peers

“This way of working collectively as a network is essential if you want the carbon approach to be systemic,” says Nicolas Galet. “My role is like conducting an orchestra. Regular visits to business units, monthly videoconferences and face-to-face meetings twice a year allow me to forge the links between all our carbonologists.”

These meetings with peers even extend to this VINCI Energies division’s customers, through events known as “Carbonologist Circles” – real hives of best practice and experimentation.

Facility management teams work long-term with their customers, and these discussion groups are a way to strengthen the partnership dynamic and move away from the basic customer-provider paradigm. Long-term facility management partnerships benefit the decarbonisation process.

But of course, there are pitfalls, says Nicolas Galet: “People try to tell us that it can’t be done, it’s too complicated, etc. But it’s our job to remove those objections. Internally, the task can often be simpler.”

New model

“We have invented a new model in which carbon is considered a key element in our strategy,” says the Carbonologist-in-Chief. “Eventually, the idea is that our business units will use carbon as a firm base from which to address a whole range of environmental issues such as the circular economy or biodiversity.”

Nicolas Galet believes this to be a winning strategy: “The commercial impact for our customers is more than positive, because our structured approach based on carbon exemplarity and proactivity is way ahead of the market. And internally, our teams see our approach as a real differentiating factor that gives their work greater meaning.”

*QuickScan is a quick method for measuring the emissions specific to our customers and prospects.