How Eco-Friendly Transport Can Help A Business
Global warming, fracking, pollution, and the impact on public health – these are just some of the green issues that concern consumers and governments today, and the business world also needs to take these concerns on board. Increasingly, across the globe, businesses are waking up to the fact that their day-to-day actions have a real impact on the environment, public health, and the future of our global ecosystem. And for businesses willing to take on the challenge to ‘go green’, the benefits are far reaching.
As well as helping to improve our quality of life today and protect our environment for future generations, there are serious cost benefits too. In the distinctly black and white world of business, going green presents innovative ways to cut costs, increase revenue, build brand prestige and improve growth.
In a global economy still in recovery from the shock of the economic crisis, businesses at every level are more keenly in search of new ways to cut costs and boost revenue where they can. Making the switch to eco-friendly transport can help businesses do this.
Johnathan Lingham of specialist van and truck dealer S&B Commercials explains the attraction for modern businesses: “With sustainable travel becoming an ever increasing responsibility for businesses, many of the partners we supply to are developing strategies with the environment in mind and have found the features of our Mercedes commercial vehicles to be crucial to their eco objectives.”
With the cost of eco-friendly vehicles dropping, the range of vehicles increasing, and government incentives designed to help businesses get on board, going green is now a realistic option for businesses of all sizes. As a result, companies up and down the country are choosing to add eco-friendly vehicles to their fleets to help cut their costs.
Here are some of the key benefits for businesses making the switch to eco-friendly transport.
Fuel costs are a serious burden to businesses, regardless of sector or size. One of the biggest benefits to businesses going green is the increased savings on fuel costs. By introducing electric of hybrid vehicles to their fleets, businesses can avoid paying for soaring diesel and unleaded petrol prices. Over the past three years, fuel costs have risen by a substantial 39%. Unleaded petrol prices stood at 87.3p per litre in January 2007, and rose to a staggering 130p per litre in January this year.
It’s figures like these that are driving companies across the country to green-up their fleets. According to a Plugged-in Fleets Initiative report funded by the Department for Transport last year, organisations adding plug-in vehicles to their fleets were benefiting from fuel cost savings of up to 75%.
“Saving on fuel costs is often one of the key considerations for many of our clients,” explains Jonathan. “Although the slightly higher initial costs of investing in eco-friendly alternatives are sometimes off-putting, businesses who take time to see the bigger picture have been seen to reap the benefits in the long run.”
Low Emission Zones and improved transport links
One of those benefits is of course reducing the costs of entering controlled areas, where Governments across Europe are making serious efforts to reduce air pollution. More than 200 cities and towns in 10 European countries have now introduced Low Emission Zones (LEZs). For higher emissions vehicles, especially diesel trucks and lorries, trying to enter these LEZs means paying costly fees. In some LEZs, higher emission vehicles are banned altogether. Eco-friendly transport is welcomed, however, not only reducing transport costs for firms, but also allowing them to create and keep more extensive transport networks throughout Europe.
“As awareness of environmental issues has grown, businesses in recent years have been seen to play a vital role in improving our environment,” says Jonathan. “Increasingly, many of our clients find customers and stakeholders prefer to deal with businesses that have good environmental credentials and we’ve seen first-hand, that by investing in eco-friendly transport, businesses are more likely to be viewed positively by their potential clients.”
For businesses operating in the UK, congestion charging is fast becoming the equivalent of LEZs. Introduced in London in 2003 to reduce traffic flow in the capital, it adds to the cost of business transport by charging vehicles to enter the city. The standard charge currently stands at £11.50 per day, with mayor Boris Johnson announcing that, in future, drivers of diesel vehicles will have to pay an extra £10 surcharge on top of that.
Congestion charging is something that a number of councils across the UK are now considering rolling out as a means of raising revenue, and cutting the air pollution that has a very real impact on public health and NHS costs. The European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK may soon see the introduction of LEZs if it fails to clean up its act, and meanwhile Sheffield has recently ruled out the idea, Birmingham and Portsmouth are two areas keen to go ahead with charging plans.
Benefit from UK Government assistance
The UK government is keen to do everything it can to encourage businesses to switch to eco-friendly transport, not only because of its climate change targets but also due to the number of premature deaths caused each year as a result of air pollution. As a result, businesses can now access 25% off the cost of ultra-low emission vehicles purchased via the Plug-In Car Grant scheme, and already more than 11,000 claims have been made here. In 2012, the government also introduced the Plug-In Van Grant, which entitles businesses to 20% off ultra-low emission vans.
Reliable business vehicles that deliver
“We see many business owners now choosing to invest in Mercedes eco-friendly transport as the vehicles are not only renowned for being reliable and cost-effective to operate, but the three-point star has always been at the forefront of technological change,” explains Jonathan Lingham.
The latest electric vehicles are the most practical and affordable yet, such as the Mercedes Vito E-Cell, which can be fully charged to an 80-mile range in as little as six hours. With companies like Mercedes pioneering eco-friendly van design in the 1970s, they have spent decades fine-tuning and improving eco-friendly transport options for businesses today.
In a world striving to go green, the substantial long term cost benefits of eco-friendly transport, and with governments doing their bit to help reduce the initial outlay, the incentives are certainly there for businesses to make the change. As the European Courts continue to hold government to their climate change targets, the future of both public and business transport can only get greener.