Fleet News

Green transport: Step-by-step guide to ‘greening’ your fleet

THE motivation for wanting a greener fleet usually boils down to two issues – the need to save money and the desire to be more responsible towards the environment.

But whatever the driving force may be, fleet operators often need help in getting started on the green road.

TransportEnergy, a division of the Energy Saving Trust (EST), has published a Best Practice Fleet Management Guide, which details the basics for implementing a green fleet policy.

It has been designed to help car and van fleet managers take the first steps towards running a cleaner and more efficient fleet and acts as a good starting block for fleets which have yet to introduce any green measures.

Covering aspects such as fuel consumption, reducing mileage and energy efficient vehicles, the guide outlines simple steps fleets can take to ease the conscience of today’s motoring.

A spokeswoman at the EST said: ‘We see this guide as the best way for fleet managers to learn and understand more about what can be done to make fleets more efficient, less harmful to the environment and, in the process, lower their fleet operating costs.’

The EST claims that fleets could see financial gains within 18-24 months of introducing green measures, with the environmental benefits seen even sooner.

However, the guide warns: ‘Any action plan will only work if it is given time and resources. This involves planning changes carefully, and discussing them with all relevant parts of the business.

From the known starting points and the arrangements to measure progress, establish key milestones for targets and completion dates.’

The EST says it is vital that fleet managers periodically review the whole process to ensure that progress is being made.

The guide states: ‘Be sure to include regular progress reports to senior management and drivers. Applaud performance better than expected. If people are kept informed, they will want to stay involved.’

It is also vital to have backing from the board or senior management team members for any green initiative to succeed, according to the EST.

The guide states: ‘It is essential to have senior management backing for the initiatives. The fleet manager does not usually have the authority or motivation to implement many of the measures required for green fleet management.

‘The senior management must be persuaded of the commercial benefits that can be achieved. ‘In addition, it is also useful to consider the role of those responsible for environmental and health and safety policy as they may see the advantages of the initiatives in helping their activities.’ Support from those at the top is required for several reasons including financial support, additional training and changes to policy documents.

  • To view the full EST guide on fleet management, visit www.est.org.uk

    Target deadline?

    THE Energy Saving Trust (EST) believes fleet managers should set targets outlining green initiatives to be achieved. This gives the fleet manager something to work towards and can be used as a benchmark of how successful the scheme is.

    Examples of targets include:

  • Producing a leaflet detailing public transport links available to the site and ensure staff receive a copy - by August next year
  • Setting up a car share database - by July next year
  • Completing an audit of the travel and subsistence policy and post on company intranet – by May next year

    Energy saving trust guidelines

  • Instruct drivers to buy cheaper fuel – aim to complete by end of quarter
  • Check business mileage claimed by drivers to ensure the company is only paying for business fuel, not private – aim to complete within six months
  • Evaluate route planning software for sales/service staff to reduce annual mileage/extend replacement cycle/lower costs – aim to complete by end of quarter
  • Assess current expenses reporting documents and systems – for better and easier capture of costs and mileages – aim to complete by end of quarter
  • Evaluate and implement acquisition policy for low CO2 emitting vehicles – it will reduce CO2 output and reduce costs – aim to bring in line with the current replacement cycle

    Key steps

    THE EST has devised an action plan for fleets to use as a starting point for a greener fleet:

  • Assess current position: Take nothing for granted, establish actual performance in terms of numbers of vehicles, annual mileage patterns, overall costs and fuel consumption to provide a baseline against which progress is measured
  • Identify outline objectives: Cost savings, reduction in fuel used, reduction in overall mileage reduction in emissions
  • Time scales: Realistic target for objective to be reached
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