When it comes to creating a greener fleet, two key factors critical to succ-ess are teamwork and long-term commitment.
A successful campaign to reduce emissions relies on a wide range of people, from senior managers to drivers, and their involvement may need to be over years to provide the consistency necessary to reach long-term sustainable goals.
At Ceuta Healthcare, these two criteria have been an essential part of the recipe for a green fleet for many years and it has paid dividends by delivering strong environmental benefits when it comes to transport.
The focus on teamwork has ranged from the most senior boardroom members right through to external suppliers, with everyone playing a key part in driving down emissions and costs.
Facilities manager Helen Bolton has been a long-term driver of environmental improvements in the fleet and her work received renewed impetus when a major new environmental policy was announced by the business.
The Ceuta environmental policy was introduced in 2008, directed by the chief executive officer.
It committed the company to reducing its environmental impact wherever possible and challenging suppliers to do the same.
The announcement was the inspiration for Bolton to focus on new initiatives to continue driving down emissions.
She said: “The announcement really boosted my passion for reducing our carbon footprint. We made plans to reduce our CO2 levels, increase fuel efficiency and reduce mileage where possible.”
For the business, it was very much a balancing act as it was important that any changes were implemented in stages and with consideration to the potential impact on the business, including any possible employee motivation issues related to vehicle choice or messages about driving efficiently.
However, with the full backing of the senior management team, a range of initiatives were successfully introduced.
Vehicles have played a key part in driving down emissions, with the latest efficient technology lowering average CO2 output per vehicle on the 120-vehicle fleet towards a target level of 120g/km.
But Bolton recognises that one of the best ways to achieve reductions is by educating drivers and encouraging them and their managers to play their part by thinking about how they drive and the journeys they make.
She enlisted the help of the Energy Saving Trust, which carried out a Green Fleet Review to assess the fleet’s environmental performance and look for potential opportunities to reduce its environmental impact.
One major initiative was the introduction of the EST’s Smarter Driving training programme.
The programme provides low-cost driver training with a focus on techniques that can make a driver more efficient.
Bolton says: “Smarter Driving was brilliant. We had to get management on board and it took a lot of organising to bring staff together, but it made our staff safer and more cost-effective on the road.”
Senior management support was secured by clearly setting out the benefits of the programme to the company and the employee.
As a sales and marketing company, where most employees’ work is target-based, implementation had to be carefully managed to minimise disruption and downtime for staff.
Bolton says: “The course was short, but intensive. This meant we could fit in whole teams in a day, which was extremely helpful.”
The scheme was extended to non-company car drivers to encourage fuel efficient and safe methods of driving both in and outside of work.
“The general feedback from our employees on the Smarter Driving programme was very positive,” Bolton adds. “We were told the training also had positive benefits for them outside of work.”
Such was Ceuta’s success on the course that the business was named the EST’s Smarter Driving winner at its 2011 Fleet Hero awards.
As drivers were being trained to be safe as well as efficient on the road, the programme could be used to support the firm’s safety programme, which includes licence checks and regular incentives for being safe on the road, including a ‘best driver’ award based on risk management data from the fleet.
Accurate data is important to the running of an efficient fleet, so a variety of sources of information are used.
Other data feeds include fuel consumption, based on fuel card returns, which can identify poor fuel economy or excessive use.
Departments are encouraged to compete to be the most efficient through the publication of regular league tables which show the best mpg and fuel costs.
This level of accuracy is achieved because fleet drivers have fuel cards, allowing the company to collate information on the price paid and fuel economy.