Making Your Business’s Driving More Ecologically Friendly

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Nearly all businesses rely on cars and vans these days. Regardless of whether your business is a large freight carrier or if people use company cars to travel to external meetings, your organisation will use vehicles in some capacity.

How can you reduce the use of vehicles in your business, alongside making your essential vehicle use more environmentally conscious, subsequently helping play your part in saving the planet?

Why should your business consider greener driving?

There are several reasons why your business should take the time to review its driving policies. Some of the most important include the following:

  • Reduction in emissions – road transport contributes to 20% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. The simplest way to cut down emissions is to use less vehicles. When you consider how many are used to carry a single driver to and from work, this is potentially one of the areas where it might be easier to cut car use.
  • Saving money – if your business gives workers company cars or a petrol allowance then a smart vehicle or carpooling could reduce outgoings. Additionally cars that run more efficiently will cost less in petrol too.
  • Less reliance on fossil fuels – everyone knows that fossil fuels are bad for the planet and they are also running out. Committing to using less petrol and diesel in your business is a big step to becoming green and meeting your environmental targets.

How to implement greener driving policies in your business

There are several changes your business can adopt in order to make your use of vehicles more ecologically friendly. These range from simple activities to improve fuel efficiency through to wholesale revisions of your fleet policy to include greener vehicles.

How to help your workforce become greener drivers

Some changes that you can make to your driving policies do not even require you to adjust your vehicles. By implementing more sensible car use it is possible to dramatically improve efficiency and reduce emissions:

  • Car sharing – or carpooling as it is sometimes known, is the practice of encouraging your workforce to take turns picking everyone up from home and driving them to the workplace in a single car. If used properly this can reduce overall vehicle use by 2-3 times.
  • Planning ahead – although sat-nav equipment will tell you the best route from A to B, it might not factor in traffic problems and road works. Make sure that your staff are taking the most fuel efficient route by staying on top of traffic news and roadway repair notifications.

Ensuring that your fleet is properly prepared

Check that your vehicles are in the best shape possible to maximise fuel economy by ensuring the following:

  • Reduction in drag – the less streamlined your vehicle, the greater the fuel use. Remove roof racks, roof boxes and bicycle carriers when they are not required to help cut down the amount of fuel used by a vehicle.
  • Tyre use – if a vehicle’s tyres are under inflated, this could mean that you will have poor, uneven contact with the road surface, requiring more energy and fuel to push your car forward. Equally over inflated tyres have less contact, increasing braking distances and reducing traction.
  • Vehicle weight – the heavier your car, the more fuel it needs to get moving. Remove any unneeded articles from your company vehicles before allowing them to embark on a journey. This could be more difficult with works vans, but with the proper planning you can achieve efficiency.

Driving policies for fuel efficiency

With a little forethought behind the wheel it, is possible for your company drivers to cut emissions, reduce the wear on tyres and engines and make journeys more pleasurable. Some of the simplest tips can make a difference to fuel economy:

  • Looking ahead – encourage your drivers to be more smooth and composed behind the wheel, cutting down on braking and accelerating gently. Key to this behaviour is looking ahead on the road and making sure that drivers anticipate problems a long time before they happen.
  • Training drivers – make sure that your employees understand the best way to operate your cars to ensure fuel efficiency. For instance do they know that with modern ECUs, cars no longer need to be warmed up before going out on the road or that it is more efficient to have the air conditioning on in the heat than opening windows at speed?

Greener vehicles

Perhaps the ultimate move for any company to make is changing out your vehicles for greener cars and vans. There are now many different makes of hybrid cars that use less fossil fuels than their counterparts, and with brands like Tesla blazing a trail for other manufacturers electrical vehicles are slowly gaining more popularity.

Finding alternatives to fossil fuel powered cars is becoming an even more prominent issue for governments globally. The UK government plans on all new cars being “effectively zero  emissions” by 2040. Get ahead of the curve and start using these vehicles in your business now.

Can ISO 14001 Help with A Greener Vehicle Policy?

With ISO certification it is possible for you to set your own environmental targets in the business using an environmental management system. Choose emission reduction goals and set up systems for continually revising and improving policies and directives, as part of a wider program of change within the business.

ISO 14001 certification is a great way to show your customers and supporters that your organisation is making a serious commitment to reducing your overall environmental impact. It could even inspire them to follow suit in their own lives.

Your Next Steps

As with all green activities, reducing your company’s emissions may seem like a difficult task. However, even small changes in policy can make a dramatic reduction in the amount of fuel you are using, reducing costs and helping save the planet.

Change doesn’t have to be made in huge steps, small differences can be implemented every month to slowly improve your company’s vehicular behaviour and make a contribution towards the health of our planet.

For weekly business eco-friendly tips and first glances at our new environmental guides, follow @TheBABOfficial on Twitter and join the conversation!

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Written by Neill Gatley

EMS Scheme Manager - Experienced management systems Lead Auditor and EMS Scheme Leader. Assessing clients management systems to the requirements of ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 45001, OHSAS 18001.