Fleet News

Offsetting ‘only part of solution’

Fleet industry figures have thrown their support behind MPs’ recommendations that businesses be encouraged to offset their carbon emissions.

But they warned against relying on offsetting over more substantial carbon reduction measures.

The House of Commons environmental audit committee published its recommendations in a report entitled The Voluntary Carbon Offset Market.

It said: “We believe that the voluntary carbon offset market does have a role to play, both in reducing carbon emissions and raising awareness of climate change issues.

“We urge the Government to explore measures which would incentivise businesses to encourage their individual customers to offset. We recommend that Government makes it compulsory for more carbon-intensive activities and for associated businesses to offer offset services themselves or through a provider.”

David Yates is marketing director of ALD Automotive, which operates its own carbon-off-setting initiative.

He said: “We welcome the MPs’ backing for carbon offsetting. We hope more businesses and individual comp-any car drivers will recognise that initiatives such as ours have a role to play alongside reducing emissions at source.

“That can be through a combination of reduced business mileage, operating vehicles with a lower CO2 rating or through improved driving techniques.”

But Stewart Whyte, director of Fleet Audits and also of fleet operators’ association ACFO, urged caution. “One would want to be very careful as to the motives being used,” he said.

“There’s a danger that it’s being seen as throwing money at a problem, rather than addressing the problem itself. There’s a good case for carbon offsetting as one tool for businesses that want to be seen to be doing something very serious about their responsibilities. But it’s very seldom a complete answer in isolation. It can be a very useful tool if part of a carefully thought out strategy.”

Nigel Underdown, head of transport at the Energy Saving Trust, agreed.

“While we believe that carbon offsetting schemes have their place in helping to tackle climate change, they should be secondary to sound management practices that reduce carbon emissions in the first place,” he said.

“Once a company or organ-isation has reduced its fleet’s carbon footprint as much as it can, it could then look into offsetting the remainder through a reputable company.”

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