Industry Research

Sustainability Survey: Operators Show Their Green Leaf

Posted on June 26, 2009 by Jon LeSage

Environmental sustainability is a concept that's been part of federal regulations and policies since 1969. It's about maintaining what we have now and planning for future generations.

Such a balancing act involves building a strong economy while also reducing emissions and waste, and increasing energy efficiency. Operators are more focused than ever on creating sustainability programs that meet the needs of their corporate clients and local communities.

For the first time ever, Limousine Environmental Action Partnership (LEAP) created a benchmark survey for operators on environmental-related programs. The survey was co-sponsored by LCT Magazine.

LEAP is a business development consulting firm dedicated to helping executive ground transportation companies meet customer needs with greater sustainability.

Operators have become more concerned about creating effective green programs as it becomes part of the infrastructure for ground transportation. LEAP created the online survey to provide tools to operators who are analyzing industry standard practices while fine-tuning their own.

As you'll see in charts in the June issue of LCT Magazine, for those planning environmental sustainability structures, there are priorities and practices that are helpful to track:

  1. Nearly two thirds of chauffeured transportation operators who took this survey expect to see environmental sustainability become increasingly important in the future. Even with the economic downturn and reduced corporate travel this year, green is not going away.
  2. Increasing a company's energy efficiency is a top priority now, even more important than reducing waste and developing green services.
  3. Influential programs shaping green programs: What your customers ask for is top priority and a bigger concern than federal mandates. What your local community and public care about are also an influence.
  4. Decision makers: You're most likely to see one or two top operations executives making decisions for environmental sustainability. It's not a group or committee decision as it is with corporate and government clients.
  5. When it comes down to who takes responsibility and accountability for the program; that's being done by the owner, followed by senior staff.
  6. Fuel usage: Of course, gas/electric hybrids are the largest factor; nearly half of the surveyed operators are using them. Surprisingly, E85 flex fuel vehicles are being used by a third of the respondents. But it's not surprising, when factoring how many of these products are now available from manufacturers. Biodiesel blend and CNG are also important, and should be growing in usage for chauffeured transportation and charter and tour fleets.
  7. Technical rules and standards are the largest regulatory category to take place at federal, state and local governmental levels. What follows? The carbon tax and cap-and-trade. This could have a less immediate direct effect, since it applies primarily to U.S. power plants, oil refineries and manufacturers. About a quarter expect regulations to be enacted within one to two years, and 45% think this will happen within three to five years.
  8. Only 20% of operators have a written green policy in place. One third are selectively acting on green concepts, but without a master plan in place. As green programs return to priority level for corporate clients, you can expect to see written policy practices increasing.

Jon LeSage, who was managing editor of LCT Magazine until March 2009, is the communications and research consultant with LEAP.

Related Articles:
Operators Green Up Their Rides
Econation Grows Its Green Brand
Sabertec's Blade Carbon-Emissions Filter

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