Change Alley

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Baby, You Can Drive Our Car

with 4 comments

A report from the Energy Savings Trust finds that adopting Green Fleet Management practices could save UK firms £2.6bn on their company car schemes, often a business’s second largest overhead.

The “Behind The Wheel” report reveals a significant indifference from many companies to the impact their fleets have on the environment and, perhaps more surprisingly, on their profits.

  • Only 48% of companies surveyed had Corporate Social Responsibility or environmental policies
  • Of those, only 42% consider the environmental impact of their vehicles in their policies.
  • Only half of U.K. businesses believe they can save money by running a greener fleet.
  • Only a quarter of companies offer incentives to employees to choose a car with lower CO2 emissions.
  • 21 % of companies still insist that eligible employees drive a car ‘appropriate’ to their status and salary; in practice, promotion means higher CO2 emissions.
  • Only 11% of U.K. companies that offer company cars have conducted a review of their fleets’ carbon footprint.
  • A company with a fleet of 100 vehicles could be saving up to £90,000 a year by implementing green fleet policies.
  • About a third of companies think it will cost money to introduce a greener fleet.
  • Almost two-thirds of companies that have taken steps to reduce emissions have saved money as a result.

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said “When it comes to company car fleets, the business case is the environmental case. Yet we frequently find that fleets are not being discussed at the right level in companies. Very few organizations discuss their company car fleet as a boardroom agenda item.”

It’s time for stakeholders in large companies to start asking serious questions about car schemes.

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Written by Pete Smith

June 26, 2007 at 12:19 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Are there really that many car makes & models out there for them to choose from, similar to the Prius? And I’m not talking biodiesel as that is encouraging deforestation and/or higher prices of food staples.

    The greater use of smaller & more efficient petrol/diesel cars, sure, that needs to be encouraged.

    matt

    June 26, 2007 at 4:50 pm

  2. Making hybrids available as a car choice is just one option. They’re looking at things like journey planning to reduce mileage, reviewing vehicle choice lists to include fuel-efficient and low emissions models, driver education, efficient driving techniques, fuel economy measures.
    One problem for companies is that, having put schemes in place to offer cash as an alternative to the company car, they have no control over staff car choice. Firms end up paying staff for the work mileage they do in their private gas-guzzlers. So incentives and reimbursement schemes are in the mix as well.
    Dare one hope that now the Prius is becoming the Hollywood stars’ vehicle of choice, middle management might prefer it to the traditional 2 litre Vauxhall?

    Pete Smith

    June 26, 2007 at 5:41 pm

  3. As green issues grow in importance for the public, high profile gas-guzzling can have a detrimental effect on company image. While Marks and Spencer trumpets its latest green initative, chief executive Stuart ‘Two Bentleys’ Rose gets all the publicity for using a Bentley Silver Spur, 5 times the fuel consumption and 4 times the emissions of a Prius.
    Rose’s plan to acquire a BMW Hydrogen 7 have fallen through. Said an M&S spokesperson: “There is a longer waiting list than we had realised. They are not available in the UK. He is now looking at other options.”
    Sounds like an excuse to me. I’m sure Rose has the clout to jump the queue if he tried. I suspect the real reason the deal wasn’t done is that the Hydrogen 7 looks just like what it is, a boring old 760iL which just happens to use duel fuel. Not the sort of thing a top exec should be seen in.

    Pete Smith

    June 26, 2007 at 6:21 pm

  4. > …. having put schemes in place to offer cash as an alternative to the company car, they have no control over staff car choice.

    I know of someone who works for Gillette who uses his annual car allowance to finance his hobby of racing Minis!

    > Making hybrids available as a car choice is just one option.

    Yes, video conferencing has some role to play too. Means that that career Mum or Dad can be home for the kids bedtime story, rather than overseas by themselves sleeping in some boring hotel room for the night. Assuming of course that travel plans include cutting down on jet travel as well as car use.

    matt

    June 26, 2007 at 6:58 pm


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