In a context of increased regulations and ever-growing environmental responsibilities, the adoption of a fully-fledged environmental compliance program, comprising on the one hand a legal compliance component and on the other hand a continuous improvement approach, allows the company to benefit from a real tool, not only of environmental regulation, but also of environmental risk management, reputation positioning and non-financial value creation.

While the legal framework for the energy transition requires road passenger transport operators to comply with the obligations imposed by its sources and with regard to the environmental issues arising from it (I), compliance alone is not sufficient to ensure a successful energy transition. While compliance is first and foremost a requirement for the behaviour of economic actors to comply with laws and regulations, compliance cannot be limited to the mere observation of compliance with the applicable rules. The scope of environmental compliance (II) leads companies to go beyond compliance, to continuously assess their exposure to the risks of sanctions - legal or financial -, the costs of restoring compliance, and the risks of damage to their image and reputation.

TITLE 1 - The legal framework for the energy transition in the road passenger transport sector

Many factors are disrupting the road passenger transport ecosystem in a sustainable way. New passenger expectations in terms of transport, regulatory reforms, territorial reform, digitalisation, the evolution of technologies and infrastructures are all elements that lead to a rethinking of mobility and its uses. More than ever, environmental issues are at the heart of the concerns of transport stakeholders. The energy transition imposes an obligation on the road passenger transport company to comply with its sources (Chapter 1), while respecting the environmental issues inherent in the road passenger transport sector (Chapter 2).

Chapter 1-Energy transition, a compliance obligation imposed by its sources

The energy transition has become a major concern for the road passenger transport sector. This concern is illustrated both internationally and at European level (Section 1) by means of increasingly precise objectives, as illustrated by its transposition into national law (Section 2)

Section 1 - International and European sources

Paragraph 1 - Unprecise international sources

In the world of international environmental law and its application to the road passenger transport sector, there were initially only objectives, often unambitious, without any real guidelines for measuring, monitoring and achieving them. It was thus previously relatively effective.
The implementation of international environmental sources and energy transition have begun to take into account the need to change modes of travel, which are responsible for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and contribute a fortiori to global warming. At the international level, the main objective was to limit global warming to 2°C.

Paragraph 2 - More ambitious European sources

In addition, in order to ensure a successful energy transition in the transport sector, the European Union has three main missions: regulating polluting emissions, limiting CO2 emissions and using renewable energies for motor fuels. To this end, it has adopted a set of regulatory standards for each given mode of transport, objectives staggered over time followed by regular checks in order to adjust the objectives towards ever cleaner mobility.

Section 2 - Transposition into national law

Paragraph 1 - National objectives

The reference remains Act No. 2015-992 of 17 August 2015 on the energy transition for green growth, known as the TECV Act, which includes in Title III a section devoted to the development of clean transport to improve air quality and protect health.
It includes priority for the least polluting modes of transport (Chapter 1 of the LTECV), energy efficiency and renewable energy in transport (Chapter 2), reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants and air quality in transport (Chapter 3), air quality planning measures (Chapter 4).
In 2017, three decrees will specify the application of the LTECV. They provide a definition of low emission vehicles (LEVs) and impose obligations on fleet managers to purchase or use these low-emission vehicles.
Paragraph 2 - Local objectives
The reduction of atmospheric pollutants is a major health issue and is one of the main components of the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act.
To this end, the National Plan for the Reduction of Atmospheric Pollutants (PREPA) sets reduction targets for 2020, 2025 and 2030. In addition, it provides for the continuation and expansion of the LTECV measures and additional emission reduction measures in all sectors, as well as measures to control and support actions implemented in various sectors, including transport.
The Atmospheric Protection Plans (PPA), the mission of the Atmospheric Protection Plan is to reduce air quality within the area covered by the device to levels in accordance with European standards (limit values) within a time limit set by the plan.

Chapter 2: The challenges of the energy transition in the road passenger transport sector

The energy transition in the transport sector faces several major issues and challenges: reducing the environmental footprint of transport (Section 1) through reducing GHG emissions (Paragraph 1) and reducing emissions of air pollutants (Paragraph 2).

Section 1 - Reducing the environmental footprint of transport

Paragraph 1 - The reduction of GHG emissions

"What is not measured cannot be managed", "We only manage well what we measure", "We only improve what is measured".
The regulation of greenhouse gas emissions aims to reduce global pollution, of which CO2 is a part, that affects global global warming.
The objective of GHG information for transport services is to raise awareness among all actors in the transport chain of their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and, if necessary, to enable them to direct their choices towards less emitting solutions. It should be noted that the GHG information for transport services should take into account a set comprising the operating phase (from fuel to wheel) and the upstream phase (from well to wheel), from extraction to its use.

Paragraph 2 - The reduction of pollutant emissions

Despite a significant improvement in air quality since the 1990s, air pollution is still a major public health issue. Assessing the impact of air pollution on human health remains difficult to assess. Air pollution is a complex phenomenon, resulting from the combination of a large number of substances, which interact in different ways with each other and with the environment around them.
Today, air quality monitoring meets European standards and European Union Member States are sanctioned for exceeding regulatory thresholds. Thus, the transport sector is also subject to monitoring and dissemination of its polluting emissions, while setting targets for their reduction.
It is therefore no longer uncommon for liability actions against the State to increase, particularly for culpable failure to take the necessary measures to protect and maintain air quality.

Section 2 - Research and development of alternative "green" technologies

The transition to a net zero emission economy requires a shift from high emission activities or production patterns to low emission activities or production patterns. To achieve this, it is necessary to encourage the growth of carbon-free energy.
Under the LTECV of 17 August 2015 and Decrees Nos. 2017-21 and 2017-23 of 11 January 2017, adopted pursuant to article 37 of the Act defining the regulatory framework for the purchase of clean vehicles by public transport operators, "the State and public actors[...] make responsible purchases with obligations to renew the fleet in favour of more energy efficient vehicles. »
There are three main families of energy sectors that can accompany the energy transition: the sector including so-called transition fuels: ED95, HVO, GTL), the gas sector: CNG, biogas, LNG, the electric sector: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and the hydrogen sector, studied from the perspective of the fuel cell, strictly belongs to the electric sector.
TITLE 2: The scope of the energy transition in the activities of the road passenger transport company.
Chapter 1: The obligations of the road passenger transport company
As we have seen, the energy transition has become an obligation for the road passenger transport sector, while respecting the issues inherent in this challenge.

Chapter 1: The obligations of the road passenger transport company

As we have seen, the energy transition has become an obligation for the road passenger transport sector, while respecting the issues inherent to this challenge. Thus, compliance with the environmental principles relating to the energy transition resulting not only from the duty of compliance is the responsibility of road passenger transport operators (Section 1), but compliance alone is not enough. Successful energy transition is also a necessity to go beyond compliance (Section2).
Section 1 - Compliance with environmental principles by road passenger transport operators
Compliance with environmental principles is ensured on the one hand by all public actors involved in the environmental sphere and on the other hand by road passenger transport companies.
The mobility organising authorities are in charge of implementing solutions adapted to specific territorial conditions. To this extent, they are equipped with numerous regulatory and control instruments.
At the level of economic actors, compliance policy requires the implementation of a number of principles that now embody the notion: these include vigilance, transparency of information and its availability, the need for a third party outside the action (audits or other) and decision-making.
The same is true of environmental compliance, and it is these principles that are now being applied in this area. The response provided by each company will differ according to its own business sociology considerations and the specific characteristics of the sector in which it operates.

Section 2 - Environmental compliance, a need to go beyond compliance

Environmental compliance goes beyond compliance with the body of rules governing the energy transition in the road passenger transport sector. Environmental compliance is an obligation of means (Paragraph 1), a voluntary approach by the company with the aim of continuous improvement, exceeding its environmental performance and seeking to position itself more advantageously in relation to the competition. This means going beyond compliance (Paragraph 2).

Paragraph 1 - Environmental compliance, an obligation of means

Engaging in an environmental compliance approach involves staggered and precise procedures in order to achieve an objective, in this case, that of successfully making a successful energy transition.
The first step is to carry out an inventory of the environmental requirements to which the company is subject and then what means have been implemented to ensure the presence of an optimal level of protection for economic actors, namely the company for which this environmental compliance approach is being implemented.

Paragraph 2 - Going beyond compliance
Environmental compliance is a voluntary process initiated by the company itself, which simply wishes to be in compliance and control its compliance with respect to normative changes, but also to stand out by making continuous improvements in terms of the environment, while working with its employer brand. It is interesting to note that current generations, more concerned about environmental issues, are more likely to work in companies or structures that are aware of their environmental footprint and take measures to mitigate it, beyond any monetary or economic consideration.
For example, companies can go beyond simple compliance by relying on the deployment of an environmental management system such as ISO 14001 certification, benchmark against competitors to learn from good environmental practices, deploy eco-driving or develop mobility plans, while ensuring strong communication, for example through the Extra-Financial Performance Declaration.

Chapter 2: Sanctions, liabilities and comparative law

"The environment is expensive and doesn't pay off." This is the most common reason given for delaying the consideration of the environment in the company. This is still the feeling of many small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, but it is also often expressed in smaller companies. No one can deny the inaccuracy of the first part, but fortunately, the second part may not be accurate.

Section 1 - Legal and financial sanctions for non-compliance

Paragraph 1 - Legal sanctions that are too weak a deterrent

"Nemo auditur propriam turpitudinem allegans." This Latin expression, well known by any lawyer, is an expression that can be translated as: "no one can claim his own turpitude", the term "turpitude" meaning negligence, fault, illegal behaviour or fraud. Thus, it is an offence simply to ignore an existing law, which is applicable to you. Thus, ignorance of the law is no excuse for non-compliance. In view of the proliferation of transport regulations and their environmental footprint, it is therefore all the more important to have a real tool and an environmental compliance approach.
However, there are few or no legal sanctions for non-compliance with climate protection and energy transition regulations. And if sanctions exist, they are too weak a deterrent, especially for larger companies. Most of the penalties will be monetary (and will be addressed in Paragraph 2 of this section), but sometimes seem insufficient in view of contemporary climate issues. There is a significant risk of liability of managers, extraterritorial liability issues, particularly for multinationals, and the risk of class actions, a system reviewed by the European Commission following the Dieselgate scandal.

Paragraph 2 - Monetisable economic sanctions

It is important to note that an environmental accident is not necessarily caused by a sudden malfunction of an installation or a bus. It may simply result from a prolonged practice that has generated effects that have proven harmful to the environment, whether it is an ignored or even legally permitted practice. For example, in the field of transport, the prolonged use of a passenger transport vehicle exceeding the limits of CO2 or atmospheric pollutant emissions, even though the law prohibits it to date, constitutes an offence that may have harmful consequences on the health of residents but also on the environment.
The monetisation of the environmental impacts of road passenger transport vehicles over their entire lifetime can be done according to these three parameters: either an energy-based calculation, a calculation based on air pollutant emissions or a calculation based on CO2 emissions. It should be noted that the price of a vehicle alone is no longer sufficient for its purchase. For example, a vehicle running on euro 1, 2 or 3 may certainly cost less than a new vehicle running on euro 6, but the environmental cost remains lower over the entire life of the new vehicle.

Section 2 - Energy transition, multisectoral comparison and comparative law

As a reminder, France has set itself the objective of reducing its GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve this, the contribution of sectors other than transport, which is mainly addressed in this study, must be brought to bear.

Paragraph 1 - The energy transition: a multisectoral comparison

Environmental compliance, throughout its approach, can just as easily be applied in each of the key sectors that are required to make a successful energy transition: the building, industrial, air, nuclear and agricultural sectors. As we should remember, environmental compliance is not just compliance at a given time T with the regulatory contours governing each of the above-mentioned sectors. It is even more about going beyond compliance in a continuous improvement process.

Paragraph 2 - Energy transition and comparative law

The objectives for a successful energy transition differ from country to country and according to geographical location, the priorities are not the same.
The coordination of policies, or the implementation of an environmental policy and strategy, particularly for a multinational, is a real challenge that requires taking into account the specificities of each territory, as well as the regulations that govern it. The difference in legislation in each territory reflects the difficulty of coordination for a group operating internationally.

However, choosing to use the right to contribute to the energy transition also and above all means keeping busy for the next fifty years and working to contribute, promote and offer a "right to a healthy environment".