The Michelin Challenge Bibendum Approach

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The Michelin Challenge Bibendum Approach

Getting together to think and take action for a more sustainable kind of mobility
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 9:00am

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Launched in 1998, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum has become a unique international event that brings together thousands of political decision-makers, industry representatives and scientists to discuss sustainable mobility challenges and solutions.

Created in Clermont-Ferrand, where Michelin’s headquarters are located, the Challenge was originally organized around a road rally that allowed participants to introduce and test new engine and energy solutions.

Over the years, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum has gradually emerged as an indispensable forum for all mobility sector players. It now addresses a full range of sustainable mobility topics in a single venue and without technological bias. Its neutrality enables it to more effectively identify priority actions.

For 2014, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum has evolved into a “Think & Action Tank.” One of the highlights of the event, held this year in Chengdu, China, will be the publication of a Green Paper devoted to priority sustainable mobility projects.

For the occasion, a permanent online collaborative platform dedicated to sustainable mobility is being introduced and is intended to become a benchmark resource. Several hundred people are already using it. Everyone is invited to connect to the platform to gather and share information and to discuss issues with members of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum community.

One objective: offer tangible, applicable solutions to support the mobility of the future

The work undertaken as part of the 2014 Michelin Challenge Bibendum is part of an all-embracing, systematic approach intended to provide decision-makers with tangible, applicable solutions.

The organization of the event, which brings together over 150 companies and partners, is based on the architecture and spirit of the Green Paper: the goal of each conference, workshop and demonstration will be to respond to the major challenges it presents. Designed by Michelin and its partners, the document is based on two fundamental resources:

  • Lessons learned from previous events
  • Michelin’s recommendations presented at the 2014 Chinese Development Forum

Through this global event, Michelin is providing all mobility sector players with a unique opportunity to discuss new technologies and their applications. This collaborative approach will continue after the Michelin Challenge Bibendum.

Game changers to leverage existing solutions

The Green Paper lays out five essential game changers that should be implemented in order to address current urban mobility challenges:

  • Setting ambitious CO2 emissions reduction targets
  • Creating ultra-low emissions zones (ULEZs)
  • Reinventing last-mile delivery logistics
  • Developing creative door-to-door transport solutions for people
  • Mobilizing private investment for sustainable infrastructure

Five actionable levers for deploying game changers

Five levers must be activated simultaneously in order to achieve the desired results:

  • Encourage the emergence of innovative ecosystems to support the development of new sustainable mobility products and services.
  • Support tomorrow’s winning technologies, such as electro-mobility solutions, information and communication technologies, intelligent transportation systems and large database management.
  • Facilitate the introduction of new economic instruments.
  • Introduce targeted public policies that support the emergence of new solutions.
  • Broadly deploy the proposed solutions.


The 2014 Challenge Bibendum is taking place in a different environment. Certain transportation issues are worse today. Since 2007, when the event was last held in China, pollution has increased in cities around the world, primarily due to growth in the transportation sector and in the number of cars on the road.

At the same time, new solutions have emerged. Since 2011, our behavior and expectations have changed. We are more connected and our dealings with digital technologies are more spontaneous and natural. Today, this upheaval is a source of important progress. In just a few years, new technology companies have become key players in the transportation sector. The user is once again at the center of mobility, both now and in the future.

Chengdu 2014 will not focus on new prototypes, as was the case with previous events. The deep-seated revolution that we are entering is a revolution of use. Mobility is becoming fluid and accessible. It is adapting to the user rather than the other way around.

Lastly, Chengdu 2014 would never have become a reality without the support of a large number of Michelin’s partners. All of them are involved in the change and will be present during the event to discuss, present and share ideas with the entire Michelin Challenge Bibendum community.

The 3rd Michelin Challenge Bibendum held in China

This year, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum is being held on November 11-14 in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, under the supervision of Wan Gang, China’s Minister of Science and Technology.

The emergence of many cities in China and the rapid urbanization of its people have made the country more than ever one of the leading markets for the transportation industry. This situation puts China in a position to play a pioneering role in the development of innovative mobility solutions, which might then inspire other parts of the world.

The west of China is now the country’s most dynamic region. Thanks to China’s Western Development Program, Chengdu offers excellent prospects for the future. The capital of Sichuan Province, the city is ideally positioned to serve as a hub for transportation, communication, finance, science and technology in the western part of the country. With a 40% increase in automobile production in 2014, Chengdu is now China’s third-largest car producing city. It’s also one of the major centers for the country’s aviation and rail industries.

Home to 15 million people, Chengdu has a history that dates back 4,000 years. Firmly rooted in the past and resolutely turned toward the future, Chengdu is fully aligned with the spirit of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum. 

The program

The summit was designed in line with the content of the Green Paper and its action proposals for innovative, sustainable, multimodal mobility. It will provide the keys for meeting global mobility challenges by allowing the emergence of new ideas and innovations designed to address them. Decision-makers from around the world are invited to agree on certain actions that must be deployed to achieve the best results.

The Green Paper will be given to all participants at the beginning of the event and will serve as the basis for discussions.

The opening ceremony

The opening ceremony on November 12 will set out the major mobility challenges and define the objectives and framework for the 12th Challenge Bibendum. Societal demand is growing for mobility that is easier, cleaner and more pleasant. This demand needs to be addressed quickly, especially in the areas of:

  • Road safety
  • CO2 emissions
  • Urban congestion
  • Access to mobility
  • Accessible mobility for everyone

The ceremony will also be the occasion to lay the foundations of one of the summit’s key discussion topics: the transition to the digital era. Today, mobility involves the networking of data and the Internet of Things. This trend, which will grow in the years to come, provides a remarkable opportunity for designing a type of mobility that is safer, cleaner and more pleasant.

The TEDCity2.0 conference

After the opening ceremony, the TEDCity2.0 conference will enable participants from all industries to present original visions of society’s demands, thanks to the partnership between the TED Foundation and the Michelin Foundation. 

Theme conferences

Solutions to the challenges of urban mobility are the key component of the Green Paper that will be published during the summit. They are described in ten chapters, each one corresponding to a conference: the 5 objectives and 5 actionable levers, as well as two additional conferences on societal demand and multimodal convergence.

Leaders’ Forum

Scheduled for November 13, the Leaders’ Forum will provide additional insights into the 12 themes. High-level political figures and economic decision-makers will discuss the Green Paper’s proposals and provide an overall vision of the next steps for the development of mobility that is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more connected. The discussion will be led by Pat Cox, former President of the European Parliament.

Leaders' Round Table to Provide a Global Vision

Leaders attending the Challenge will be invited the next day – November 14 – to get together for a closed-door round table session during which they will discuss the priorities and measures necessary to make mobility more sustainable.

These discussions should lead to an edited version of the Green Paper that will be a summary of the position supported by industry players and which will be useful at national and international level when making decisions in the future and when preparing action plans.

This represents a key step in promoting the Michelin Challenge Bibendum as a true “action tank”.

The Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony on November 14 will provide a summary review of the event and a perspective on future actions to be pursued.


The Green Paper published for the Michelin Challenge Bibendum is a fundamental working tool for industry players. It provides a basis that will be discussed, criticized and enhanced during the three days of the global summit.

At the 2014 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, discussions will be held with an ecosystem that has been renewed compared with previous events. Because of the trend towards a more connected mobility, new players in the areas of high technology and project financing will also be showcased.

The approach taken by the Green Paper and the Michelin Challenge Bibendum is based on the firm conviction that sustainability and growth must move forward hand in hand. The 2014 event will enable the mobility sector as a whole to express its position on these issues.

Global Challenges

Demand for easier, cleaner, more pleasant mobility is increasing worldwide. These expectations are especially strong in cities where, because of demographic pressure, the main economic, social and environmental challenges of the future are concentrated. These expectations concern all mobility stakeholders.

  • Health has become a top priority and society expects a reduction in stress, noise, pollution and accidents.
  • The issue of greenhouse gases has also become critical. This has led to questions about the energy transition in the area of transportation and the issue of energy efficiency.
  • While aware that their attractiveness depends in large part on the effectiveness of their transport systems, cities often lack the public financing needed to rise to the challenge of modern mobility. At the same time, congestion is a serious social and economic problem, and the need for much more inclusive mobility is rising, in particular to support economic growth and job creation.

This legitimizes the objective of building new mobility models together.

Five Game Changers

Strengthened by its international expertise and wide-ranging experience, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum community recommends that we focus on five game-changing initiatives. Leveraging innovation and the search for a better quality of life, these solutions must be activated together.

They call for:

  • Setting ambitious global medium and long-term CO2 emissions reduction targets for all human activities and implementing relevant economic instruments suited to the transportation sector.
  • Creating ultra-low emissions zones (ULEZs), which will also be high road safety zones in large cities.
  • Providing creative solutions for transporting people door to door. These will complement current “station to station” services, strengthen social ties and comprise a potential for innovation, in particular those that involve customized Internet applications.
  • Reinventing last-mile delivery logistics. This economic sector is destined to grow considerably but the technological and ecosystem changeover is not yet complete.  
  • Promoting investment – through private funds – in innovative transport infrastructure and mobility services.

Five actionable levers:

  • Encourage the emergence of innovative ecosystems, to support the development of new mobility products and services. They should challenge traditional boundaries between the public and private sectors and develop profitable business models while serving as many people as possible.
  • Promote tomorrow’s winning technologies, particularly those required by all modern transportation modes, such as electrical power supply, information and communication technologies, automation techniques, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and large database management.
  • Introduce the strict minimum of targeted public policies to support the emergence of new solutions, create the conditions for broader, fair competition, stimulate individual and collective initiatives and set ambitious objectives. These will speed the growth of the mobility market.
  • Facilitate the introduction of new economic instruments, including carbon pricing mechanisms. They will create financing opportunities for sustainable mobility and a different economic rationale.
  • Lastly, because the need for mobility will necessarily increase and the challenges involved are already immense, we need to focus on broad, coordinated deployment of these five game changers.

Today, when expectations are changing and new technologies can be effectively harnessed, we have a window of opportunity to initiate radical change.

Keywords: #Environmental Sustainability | Events, Conferences & Webinars | Advocacy | Business & Trade | Energy | Environment & Climate Change | Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Global | Leadership | Michelin | Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

CAMPAIGN: Michelin Challenge Bibendum

CONTENT: Article