A programme to slash vehicle CO2 emissions at one of Britain’s biggest companies has increased the number of sub-150g/km vehicles on its fleet by more than 30% in a year.
Engineering and design consultants Atkins, which is working on projects including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, achieved the dramatic change on its fleet as part of a wide-ranging environmental programme.
In April 2010, high emission vehicles, classed as those emitting 166g/km or more, represented 17% of the Atkins fleet. By April this year, despite the fleet growing from 1,453 to 1,546 vehicles, this had fallen to 9.13%.
At the same time, vehicles emitting below 150g/km, which in 2010 made up 56.30% of the fleet, now represent 75.23%. The downward emissions trend will continue and even accelerate in future as 94% of vehicles currently on order emit 150g/km or less, with average emissions already down to 134g/km.
The company is now exploring the possibility of making even further improvements by focusing on lowering average CO2 further and banning cars with emissions of more than 210g/km.
The drive to cut emissions followed a large scale strategic review conducted by Atkins with its fleet services provider Zenith. It is part of a business-wide drive to cut emissions. In 2008, Atkins launched a Carbon Critical programme to encourage senior managers to engage their teams in delivering low emissions and sharing best practice within the business.
In 2009 an internal campaign was launched called Raising Awareness, Cutting Energy. The campaign had the single aim of reducing energy consumption by 12.5%.
The fleet’s success in contributing to this reduction is the latest stage in a long-term commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
Six years ago, Atkins introduced an incentive scheme which offered a company car allowance bonus to staff who chose a lower-emission car – cutting emissions meant they could add optional extras. This saw some success, with the average CO2 emissions falling from 164g/km to 151g/km.
However, once over the 160g/km threshold, there was no distinction in benefit for selecting lower emission vehicles. The scheme was therefore expanded to de-incentivise vehicles with very high carbon emissions as well as incentivise lower carbon emission vehicles; the lower the emissions, the higher the incentive.
Only vehicles emitting 150g/km or less now qualify for any form of incentive while vehicles emitting 166g/km or more would actually incur a disincentive on to an employee’s company car allowance.
David Parkhouse, regional finance director UK, for Atkins, said: “We have targeted fleet emission reductions for a number of years, as this not only helps us achieve our corporate goals but also supports our staff’s aspirations.
“We are very happy with the progress we have made in partnership with Zenith, and with the way that our staff have responded to the challenge of reducing the impact of travel. Average emissions are down from 164g/km of CO2 in 2006 to just 134g/km today.”
In addition to environmental benefits, Atkins claims there have been financial savings too, which it reports as ‘genuine cost savings’.