Pilot project for the CFE - Durangaldea Cycle Friendly Employer Certification
City/Region : Mancomunidad de la Merindad de Durango , Spain

Encourage public-private collaboration to normalize the daily use of the bicycle to go to work. Due to its importance and proximity to its employees, we want to involve public and private workplaces in the design, implementation and continuous improvement of public policies to promote sustainable mobility and the decarbonization of our society by following quality standards previously defined by the European Cyclists’ Federation and that will allow us to transfer knowledge to other cities and regions across Europe.

Agendas addressed
Urban mobility
Pathways followed
  • Implement sustainable procurement principles

The Mancomunidad de la Merindad de Durango is characterized by being a very affordable territory for cycling, with very short distances (less than 20km) and also has a deeply rooted cycling culture. In addition, there is a strong commitment on the part of the public administration to consolidate the daily use of cycling together with the companies and other Stakeholders of the region. However, current conditions for traveling by bicycle are not very favorable (less than 1% of daily trips are by bike, non-compact territory, lack of continuous and safe cycling infrastructure, excessive use of private vehicles, unevenness, prejudices associated with cycling as a vehicle, ignorance of the benefits associated with the use of the bicycle to go to work…).

In Action

The project is based on a territorial diagnosis that had the participation of the main Stakeholders of the region, and the design of an action plan with the most appropriate actions to carry out the common CFE certification of public administrations, companies, educational centers and citizenship of Durangaldea (quadruple helix). In addition, a project team is created made up of representatives of the region and CFE Spain, coordinated by a Territorial Host, the visible face of the project who acts as a link between this team and the Stakeholders attached to the project and guarantees fluidity and close communication at all times. Returning to the action plan, it focuses on 5 main aspects: 1) to assist companies and organizations in obtaining the CFE certification (during the first year we have achieved that 23 public and private workplaces have already obtained this certification, two of them obtaining the highest level), 2) to invite experts to participate in training sessions to improve the conditions of the workplaces in Durangaldea (these sessions have been co-designed according to the needs indicated by the companies themselves, and have focused mainly on the improvement of cycling infrastructures and marketing strategies to motivate people to cycle more often), 3) to organize regular campaigns to encourage and reward cycling, 4) to guarantee the internal and external communication of the project (the project has been presented in 2 international forums promoted by the European Federation of Cyclists such as VeloCity Lisboa 2021, and internal channels has been designed to keep all Stakeholders informed about the progress of the project), and 5) to work so that other companies and organizations join the project (currently another 10 companies are already in different stages of the certification process). Is specially remarkable that companies and organizations were able to benefit from a special reduction in the cost of the CFE certification (50 to 100%) through a grant granted by the Basque Government (IHOBE - Public environmental Management Society), and the cost of organizing all the activities foreseen in the project was assumed 100% by the Commonwealth of the Merindad de Durango through own funds.



In October 2021 we conducted a survey to assess the impact of the project among member companies and organizations. The main results obtained are shown below:

  • 24 companies and organizations successfully certified (11 public administrations, 9 companies and 4 educational centers).
  • 10 new companies and organizations in the process of joining the project in a second phase.
  • High participation in all in person sessions, both training and informative, always counting between 60-80% of the participating companies (as opposed to low participation when these sessions were in telematic format).
  • High participation in common promotional campaigns on the use of bicycles (especially in the 2020 edition of the 30 Days Cycling challenge, where 299 people actively participated, accumulating 15,000 km by bicycle throughout the month).
  • Significant increase in the number of cyclists in those companies and organizations that have actively participated in the different actions of the project (3 out of 4 of these companies consulted indicate this).
  • Demand for more actions, accompanied by incentives (not just financial).
  • Recognition by the European Federation of Cyclists as a good practice with the capacity to be replicated in other cities and territories in Europe.

The objective of this initiative was to generate a cultural change in the way of commuting to work on a regular basis in the region, with the aim of extending the daily use of cycling for all citizens. People usually spend a third of our time in the workplace, and if healthy work environments are generated where the bicycle has a high presence, this change can occur more quickly and naturally. In addition, due to its socio economic importance in the region, we wanted to involve companies in the definition and implementation of public policies to favor the transition towards a new model of society where active and sustainable mobility plays a main role. During the first year of the project's life we have been able to verify that the companies and organizations of Durangaldea have a great interest in adapting their workplaces to cycling, since among other causes they know all its associated benefits. By promoting common actions (especially training sessions and communication campaigns) and special tax incentives, we have achieved that 23 of the main Stakeholders are already certified and another 10 in process, translating into a progressive increase in the presence of bicycles both in companies and cities through regular surveys and feedback sessions with the representatives of these organizations. However, we are aware that the project is generating an impact that goes beyond the increase in the number of bicycles (for example, impacts on health, productivity, economy, brand image...). That is why the next step should be to develop models that allow us to know all this data in real time and thus continue to increase the number of interested companies and organizations in the project.

Challenges and lessons learned

Organizations need constant support to promote the bicycle in their workplaces especially in  initial phases. In addition, the necessary investments can represent a barrier that paralyzes this commitment. Finally, working together to achieve common objectives between the public and private Stakeholders of a region has a great impact and helps to continue believing in the project. That is why we consider it is essential to fully reinforce this participation working group where public administrations, companies and educational centers work to solve all the problems that may arise, and work on an ambitious program of incentives



ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
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