In practice Tackling CO2 emissions

It is possible to measure the amount of CO2 produced by anything – from a single piece of direct marketing through to an entire company or manufacturing process.

Key steps in the process of tackling CO2 emissions

Step one: measure
It is possible to measure the amount of CO2 produced by anything – from a single piece of direct marketing through to an entire company or manufacturing process. A piece of print produces roughly its own weight in CO2; a 65-person office produces about 500 tonnes of CO2 per year, a CD produces 1.37kg. 

Step two: internal reductions
From your footprint, you can prioritise how you might reduce emissions. Can you switch to green electricity? Swap paper source? Introduce carbon responsibility to yoursupply chain? Do you want to move customers online? Since travel can account for 25% of a carbon footprint, you could consider changing the profile of your vehicle fleet. And use video-conferencing facilities where you don’t need face-to-face meetings. 

Step three: external reductions (carbon offset)
Scientists say we need dramatic reductions in CO2; beyond some obvious big wins (onsite green electricity), many steady state businesses can only achieve 10-15% reductions through internal efficiencies. Not enough. 

To help meet targets or achieve net zero CO2, you can pay for reductions to be achieved externally (carbon offset). Through this mechanism, for every tonne of CO2 you produce, your money can save one tonne more easily and more efficiently through a project somewhere else in the world. Projects include replacing carbon intensive kerosene burners in India for solar power. 

Step four: communicate
Good communication is vital – to let everyone know what you have done, and to encourage others to follow suit. *

Key questions to ask a climate change service supplier

Do you offer measure, reduction and offset -services? You might not need them all, but it’s useful for your supplier to know how the chain fits together
Who does the measurement of carbon emissions? Look for a third party
What kinds of reduction advice can you offer? What kinds of carbon offsets do you offer? What are the selection criteria, what type of carbon credit standard?
What do you use to measure emissions reductions of projects? How are the projects verified?
Do you guarantee the delivery of carbon offsets purchased from you? Buying CO2 is not a donation. A customer is buying a reduction of one tonne of CO2.
Do you have third party auditing of your company and your carbon and are reports available?

* Information provided by The CarbonNeutral – Company

Case study: Avis and The CarbonNeutral Company

Key steps in the process of tackling CO2 emissionsKey questions to ask a climate change service supplier

In 1998 Avis became the first car rental company in the UK to join forces with what was Future Forests, now The CarbonNeutral Company. Avis is committed to ensuring its vehicle fleet is carbon neutral. To offset business mileage, CNC plants trees in its forests throughout the UK. Avis has also dedicated one tree for every car in its rental fleet.

Avis can also offer customers the opportunity to offset the emissions of their rental by donating £1 to The CarbonNeutral Company.

Avis has also been awarded an external environmental accreditation from the Safety and Environmental Risk Management Rating Agency. Avis leads the rental industry in the UK with an A-, compared with a transport industry average of BBB.

Finally, Avis is a member of the FTSE4Good Index, which acts as an investor guide to corporately responsible organisation and has received commendations for Business Commitment to the Environment.

Three broad environmental objectives to reduce CO2:
1. Reduce emissions – primarily through improving energy efficiency in offices and rental stations.
2. Offset non-reducible emissions – emissions are measured annually and offset through tree planting and other CNC-backed projects. This gives Avis CarbonNeutral status.
3. Enable and encourage Avis customers to offset emissions from rentals.

Progress made by Avis:
Avis reported a 14% reduction in emissions in 2005 and is analysing 2006 data and setting targets for 2007. All Avis emissions are audited by a third party, The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management.

In 2006, Avis achieved full carbon-neutral status by offsetting all emissions generated by its European business. Avis Europe has planted one tree for every car on its corporate fleet – more than 100,000.

In the past five years Avis has offset 76,500 tonnes of CO2 through a combination of projects, including the support of the Querrien forestry project in France.

Last year the number of customers choosing to do this rose by over 50%. Avis is looking to develop this project to increase the volume and conversion for 2007.

Environmentally friendly cars on the fleet:
Avis Rent A Car has expanded its environmentally friendly fleet in Europe with Avis Scandinavia, Germany and Portugal leading the way in reducing customers’ carbon footprint.

In February 2007, Avis Germany introduced natural gas VW Tourans to its fleet at 19 locations in 15 cities across the country. Avis Portugal introduced hybrid cars to its fleet in 2005 and currently operates 50 hybrids across the country, reducing its CO2 emissions by more than 50 tonnes. Meanwhile, Avis Scandinavia is also offering customers the chance to rent environmentally friendly vehicles with more than 400 ethanol-powered Saab 9-5 BioPower cars, 75 Ford Flexi-fuel and 20 Toyota Prius vehicles on its fleet.

Avis UK is looking at the possibility of trialing the new Toyota Prius this year; this model is exempt from the congestion charge.

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