Fleet News

Carrot or stick: Which is best to encourage green behaviour?

At a recent Fleet News discussion group, most fleets felt that using a stick approach towards drivers to force them to adhere to the company safety policy was the most effective approach.

But would the same approach work for environmental initiatives?

Companies can choose from a range of tactics when it comes to ensuring that their staff choose greener vehicles, the most stringent is to limit their choice under a CO2 cap.

However, this is more difficult to implement on an HR-driven perk fleet.

Instead, an incentive-based approach can work just as well, while giving staff the impression that they still have as much choice as before.

Contract catering and support services firm Compass Group has brought its CO2 figure down from more than 160g/km to 135g/km thanks to its incentive scheme.

Compass pays staff a one-off green allowance of £10 per gram of CO2 below 140g/km, rising to £20 per gram for cars below 120g/km.

The maximum payment, for employees who plump for a car below 110g/km, is £500 either as cash or to spend on car accessories. The concept is intended to help bring CO2 emissions below 100g/km as quickly as possible.

“Over three years this payment is a no-brainer to us in terms of lower VED and fuel costs – we can recoup the cost easily,” Compass buyer Johann Toubkiss told Fleet News.

Centrica incentivises its staff to travel fewer business miles through home working – it has 10,000 engineers based at home, along with much of its management.

In return, home-based drivers are required to have at least one travel-free day each week.

Staff are also encouraged to use Live Meeting, a desktop video conferencing application for both internal and external meetings.

Commercial Group uses Skype, tele-conferencing and home-working as alternatives to grey fleet travel. It encourages staff who need to make a journey to share vehicles or use public transport.

“If staff need to go up to London we encourage them to piggyback with one of our delivery drivers,” says distribution and logistics manager Rob Paddock.

Driver of the year contests can help to incentivise staff if they include a green driving element. Alternatively, a monthly bonus can be offered to staff who beat the manufacturer’s official mpg figure.

Several fleets compile efficiency league tables which are circulated to staff and department heads. It creates competition and helps to drive improvements – no-one wants to be at the bottom.

Tesco.com, meanwhile, monitors drivers’ performance via its telematics system.

The data is assessed with drivers in a five-minute de-brief after every shift, including fuel consumption, driving in the sweet spot (1,200-2,500 rpm), idling times and instances of speeding.

Fuel consumption varies depending on route and driving style.

The best drivers achieve 45-50mpg, the worst 10-12mpg.

But because it is being monitored, average consumption has improved by around 10% in the two years since the de-briefs were introduced.

North Star Housing has introduced a sustainable travel plan, including lower fuel reimbursement rates for business mileage.

“We have seen success in the number of staff changing to lower- CO2 vehicles and who now think much more creatively when planning their work and the journeys they need to make,” says an HR spokesman.

“Staff now talk about cars in a way that we have not experienced in the past – CO2 emissions are
the language and their understanding of the impact of vehicle use on the environment has increased significantly.”

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