Are you serious about being carbon friendly?


Are you serious about your business being carbon friendly? Are you really making a difference or are you paying lip service to the concept. Do you have company vehicles? What can you do to reduce their carbon footprint? What are you doing about it? Here are some thoughts from a New Zealand perspective (where I have shown URL’s you will have similar services in your own country):

1.       In order to measure improvement, you need a baseline. Let’s start by measuring how many km you travel per month. Measure this over a year because there are always fluctuations. In addition to measuring km travelled, measure fuel consumption, i.e. km per litre of fuel. If you use fuel cards, you probably already have this information in your monthly reports. If you don’t maybe you should, fuel cards usually also offer discounts.

  1.  Get your vehicles regularly serviced and tuned up. It’s easy to see the ones that aren’t, by the smoke and soot they trail behind them and especially trucks and buses that have huge black patches covering someone’s expensive advertising material.
  2. Car pool. How often do you and your colleagues go to the same event in separate cars when you could have shared?
  3. Drive by the most efficient route. There are many way to do this. If you have a car navigation system, you can usually select the fastest or the shortest route.  Note that the fastest route will usually have fewer stops such as intersection controls. You use far more fuel stopping and starting your car than you do when cruising. If you don’t have a car navigation system such as Navman or TomTom, the most reliable is to use a quality web site that offers driving directions such as www.aamaps.co.nz or www.wises.co.nz.
  4. If you have multiple locations to visit, try to plan the most efficient route to visit all of them. One option for this is to use a site such as www.aamaps.co.nz that not only lets you create via points for your trip, it also allows you to re-order them to create a more efficient sequence.
  5. When you are travelling to visit a client, see if there are other clients or prospects you can visit in their vicinity to save future trips. In the freight industry everyone knows that you should always try to find another load for the return trip.
  6. If you have a vehicle doing multiple deliveries, using Route Optimisation you can establish the most efficient order to do them in. A furniture delivery truck using Route2Go from GeoSmart, could not only reduce travel distance, but also load the truck in the correct order to minimise the drivers workload. If you have multiple trucks, you can set a range of rules that decide which trucks do which jobs in which order and eliminate guesswork.
  7. Using a Fleet Management system, fleet operators can view the location of their vehicles and ensure that the closest vehicle gets the job. Fleet Management solutions also monitor driver behaviour such as ‘clutch riding’ and excessive acceleration to assist in driver training.
  8.  Trip planning on websites such as Wises and AA Maps can also assist with things like petrol and lunch stops, making sure they fit into the route rather than having to drive out of your way when the time comes. The same applies to finding a convenient car park rather than driving around in circles around your destination.

Simple proactive measures can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint and consequently on your profitability.  Vehicle service costs will be reduced along with the inconvenience of not having the vehicles on the road with reduced maintenance costs. Fuel costs will reduce and you will be able to fit more business into the same amount of time thereby increasing productivity. You will also earn the right to announce to the business world that you are genuinely playing your part in reducing your company’s carbon footprint.

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Carbon Emission savings and Mapping Technologies


This is from my blog at GeoSmart Maps Ltd in Auckland where I am gainfully employed in Business Development.

We’re helping you reduce your carbon footprint The movement towards reducing carbon emissions is growing daily and New Zealand’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol in practical terms means that it is going to be high on the roadmap for New Zealand businesses and government. The data we are collecting and providing in our products and services is helping people in simple and practical ways to reduce their vehicle kilometers driven on NZ roads.

With the high cost of petrol and the expectation that it will continue to increase, there are already incentives to reduce the distances we drive in our cars. With more and more evidence of global warming and our commitment to doing what we can to reduce carbon emmissions, especially from our motor vehicles, GeoSmart is doing its part to help.

Many of our products and solutions involve data which can help people travel from A to B more efficiently. For example:

  • Car Navigation is an obvious one. I frequently hear stories of people without navigation in their cars getting lost and driving much further than they should be. Add this to the well warn stories of ‘men don’t ask directions’ and ‘women can’t read maps’ which is proven to be true over and over again and the fact that quality portable navigation devices are now available for under NZ$500 at retail, their is no excuse for this anymore. Add up how many extra km you drive due to error or being lost and especially for business people, these devices will pay for themselves in no time flat. What about all the thousands of Mums and Dads taking their kids to away games on the weekends?
  • Fleet Management. Vehicle tracking solutions combined with our Route Optimisation web services can have a rapid impact on reduced travel with the bonus of increased productivity, reduced maintenance costs, fuel costs, and as a good corporate citizen, reduced fuel emissions.
  • Directions for web mapping. One of the API’s that GeoSmart offers with SmartFIND Web Mapping is the ability to generate printable driving directions from A to B based on the fastest route. There are now hundreds of web sites in NZ using this service. The most well known is of course http://www.wises.co.nz. Going a step further, sites like http://www.aamaps.co.nz allow you to create and print an entire itinerary with turn by turn instructions to take with you in the car. These are no also used i n a number of call centres around the country to provide directions to people on the road.
  • Vodafone Live does the same on your mobile phone so you never have an excuse that you didn’t have access to the Internet. Need your nearest ATM or petrol station, just tell your phone where you are and you will receive turn by turn directions and a route map on your phone.
  • For those who don’t have a problem reading maps, GeoSmart generates map books for Wises as well as the NZ Automobile Association which gives away a HUGE number of maps to members. Of course you do have to use them, but again, why not save your money as well as care for your environment.
  • Doesn’t apply to you? That’s wonderful, but be honest, I’m sure you will recall a time recently where you drove further than you could have.

There have been discussions in the media recently that a Carbon Tax might be applied as a petrol surcharge. Do you need any more incentive for an investment in time by getting directions from one of our client services or buying yourself a car navigation device? Then how about doing it to do your bit to protect our planet? Many people think “I’m just one person, what can I do?” If we all do the same, it will make a difference. It’s nice to be part of a company that is helping to make that difference.