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GreenFleet gets businesses moving

www.sustainable.org.nz
12th May 2004

GreenFleet gets businesses moving

An exciting new programme is being launched by the Sustainable Business Network - “GreenFleet”.

With the heat of climate change issues, an unsettled global political arena and Kyoto obligations as a context, there is an urgent need for New Zealand to find practical ways of managing energy use and reducing emissions. New Zealand businesses are likely to feel the pinch even more when the proposed 2007 carbon abatement tax will impact on energy bills and transport costs. Another, more immediate problem is the level of traffic congestion on our roads and the imminent rise in the cost of petrol. This can affect an organisation’s workplace travel costs, employee travel time, and can even prevent business.

To help businesses cope the Sustainable Business Network is launching “GreenFleet”. According to Jami Williams Chief Executive of the Sustainable Business Network, “GreenFleet is a sustainable transport program set up to enable businesses to do something to reduce their transport costs, develop more efficient travel behaviour, support the local community, and help sustain our environment”.

The program provides practical methods that enable a business to tackle both the cause and effects of transportation. A GreenFleet member business will firstly treat the cause by finding out the best methods to manage workplace travel and encourage employees to identify alternative ways of getting to work e.g. cycle, walk, ride-share, bus, train, telework, flexi-time. GreenFleet will provide a number of tools to help members manage their workplace travel and develop an employee travel plan.

The second step in the programme involves keeping businesses informed about the latest fuels and technologies available and so that members can make educated decisions when it comes to transport purchasing.

The final step in GreenFleet involves managing one of the effects of transportation – carbon emissions. Since trees require carbon to ‘breathe’, GreenFleet invites members to plant 22 native trees per vehicle to offset the amount of carbon their vehicles ‘exhale’ every year. The SBN emphasises that this is not a solution for ‘writing off’ the effects of vehicles – the most effective means by which to reduce the impact of transport is to treat the cause. The tree planting aspect is a short-term practical measure by which an organisation can take transport management a step further.

“It is also an excellent and creative team-development tool as businesses who join GreenFleet are provided the opportunity to get their team together and get their hands dirty with a fun planting day, and since tree planting initiatives will be undertaken with local community groups, this is also a wonderful means by which businesses can reach out and actively support their community”, says Ms Williams.

The SBN has support for GreenFleet from the Minister of Energy and Transport, Hon Pete Hodgson, “Over 40% of all New Zealand’s energy is used for transport, and it is the fastest growing energy sector. Government is committed to ensuring New Zealand has a sustainable energy future, and consequently is particularly keen to see practical measures that contribute to both energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

GreenFleet does exactly this - it is a great example of business taking ownership of travel demand, fleet management and fuel issues, in their interests, as well as New Zealand's. I encourage business to support this initiative from the Sustainable Business Network”.

Auckland Regional Council Chair Gwen Bull believes that action is needed at all levels to improve our environment, from central government, regional and local government to businesses and individuals. “ARC is very pleased to be a foundation sponsor for the GreenFleet programme, which provides businesses with a practical programme to reduce the environmental impacts of their vehicle fleet. Vehicles are the main source of air pollution in Auckland. We hope that Auckland businesses will do their bit for air quality by joining GreenFleet,” says Councillor Bull.

The Sustainable Business Network is very grateful to key supporters of GreenFleet - Auckland Regional Council, Toyota NZ, Honda NZ and LeasePlan NZ.

“For Toyota, sustainable business is an extension of our corporate culture which is founded on two principles - respect for people, and continuous improvement. These naturally lead us to creating a culture that has a high level of environmental responsibility, which is something all New Zealand companies should aspire to”, says Bob Field, Chief Executive Toyota NZ. “The education and awareness offered through organisations such as the Sustainable Business Network can play an important role in developing this culture. We are pleased to be a gold foundation member of SBN’s GreenFleet programme which promotes efficient transportation and supports the shift towards environmentally-friendly vehicles such as the Toyota Prius hybrid”.

Graeme Seymour, Managing Director Honda New Zealand believes, “The GreenFleet programme will enable businesses to step up and take a leadership role towards a cleaner environment. Careful selection and management of their vehicles can make a difference and reduce the lifetime cost of their fleet. In addition to Gold foundation membership of SBN's Greenfleet programme Honda NZ is offering every company who purchases a Honda Civic Hybrid up to $1000 towards GreenFleet membership fees. Honda NZ is committed to a cleaner environment and is also funding the planting of 10 trees for every new car sold, amounting to over 60,000 trees per year".

The Sustainable Business Network has also formed a partnership with fleet management and vehicle leasing specialists LeasePlan where they will invite their clients to contribute $1/vehicle/month to go into a fund for tree planting. The SBN will work with LeasePlan to encourage their clients to choose fuel efficient, low emission vehicles and hybrids for their fleets.

The SBN will be hosting a series of breakfast seminars around NZ to introduce GreenFleet with the first occurring in Auckland on 18th May, and Toyota and Honda will have hybrid vehicles at the venue for test driving.

To find out more about GreenFleet or to attend the seminar call the Sustainable Business Network on 920 2400 or visit www.greenfleet.org,nz

END


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