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Advertorial: TransportEnergy BestPractice

March 2004 Drivers – the key to unlocking the green door? At a recent event I was asked if I knew of any organisations that rewarded staff for using lower emission vehicle. The delegate was keen to implement a green fleet strategy but wanted advice on how to get drivers involved in the process.

I suggested that getting company drivers engaged with your green fleet policy is key to its success. Without this essential support the policy will only pay lip-service to fuel efficiency and emission reductions and is doomed to failure. Go too far, however, and the policy will be seen as too restrictive, thus resulting in unhappy staff and an annoyed HR department.

There are three main ways of approaching this potential HR minefield: you could disallow all high emission vehicles; you could disincentivise the high emission culprits; or you could incentivise the low emitters. Each of these solutions will work, however a more balanced approach of incentives and disincentives should be applied to gain the best effect.

For example, Yorkshire Building Society introduced an environmental policy that aimed to address and manage the environmental impact of its business. As the policy included their fleet operations the Society increased the monthly allowance of any driver who chose LPG by 15%. Thereby incentivising drivers to choose a cleaner vehicle.

This simple incentive scheme saw the number of LPG powered vehicles in the fleet increase from one to eight within the first year of its launch. Another two LPGs will bring the percentage of alternative fuelled cars on the fleet to 5%.

A more rigorous incentive/disincentive policy might be adopted and Whitbread Plc are an example of this. In 1998 it became clear to Whitbread that running a green fleet represented a major opportunity to save money whilst demonstrating their commitment to improving the environment.

In their drive for efficiency gains Whitbread modified their drivers monthly allowance to take into account fuel efficiency and insurance group. A standard of 40 mpg was applied and, using manufacturers' combined consumption figures, for every mpg higher than 40, £2 was added to the allowance but for every mpg lower £2 was deducted. The same principle was applied to insurance, with a benchmark of group 10, and steps of £5 deducted for each group lower and added for each one higher.

This green policy gave drivers a clear incentive to choose a more fuel-efficient car, which also had a lower insurance group. This resulted in Whitbread reducing their overall fleet transport costs by approximately £200,000 per annum.

Including such simple driver incentives can have a significant impact on the economic and environmental performance of your organisation. TransportEnergy BestPractice offers free advice and consultancy for fleet managers trying to introduce policy change. Information is provided in the form of Best Practice Guides and videos that highlight the techniques to improve and run an efficient fleet. Case studies giving examples of effective green fleet management practices are also available.

For further information call our Hotline on 0845 602 1425 or alternatively go to the website www.transportenergy.org.uk and follow the links to BestPractice.

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