A concerted focus on carbon footprint reduction and at-work driving risk management means that Britains fleets are becoming greener and safer, according to a survey of fleet decision-makers by Jaama. The fleet software and risk management provider quizzed 114 fleet decision-makers, who attended its eight recent Fleet Management Essentials seminars.
The survey has also highlighted that anecdotal evidence that businesses are extending fleet replacement cycles in a bid to cut costs during the recession was slightly wide of the mark. Although, organisations running commercial vehicles or who own their company vehicles have extended replacement cycles, the majority of company car fleets are leaving fleet replacement cycles unchanged.
This, say the companies, is because they want to replace current vehicles as soon as possible with new lower emissions models that will not only reduce their carbon footprint but deliver cost savings due to advantageous tax rules and improved fuel economy. Driving down vehicle emissions was a clear target of all delegates at the seminars as part of their employers corporate social responsibility and carbon footprint reducing goals.
The catalyst for the increasingly rapid introduction of low emission models is due to a vehicle-related tax regime benefit-in-kind tax, Vehicle Excise Duty and capital allowances - that rewards CO2-friendly company cars. In addition, the lower a cars CO2 the better its MPG so fuel bills are also cut, while lower company car driver benefit-in-kind tax bills deliver National Insurance contribution savings for employers.
Jaama managing director Jason Francis said: Without exception all the seminar delegates reported that they expected their fleets carbon footprint to reduce over the next 12 months due to taxation-inspired changes in company car choice lists. And, unlike the last seminar delegates survey three years ago, the changes are taking place across the board and are not limited to larger fleets.
Mr Francis said: Three years ago decision-makers in charge of smaller fleets seemed little interested in the environmental performance of their fleet or how operating low emission vehicles could deliver cost savings. But today, awareness levels are such that they now understand the cost benefits of running a cleaner fleet. Additionally, they recognise that from a commercial viewpoint, corporate investment in carbon footprint reducing green policies and CSR programmes is good public relations.
Mileage management is also a focus for businesses with just over 50% of delegates saying they had reduced carbon emissions and cut fuel bills by analysing staff trips and encouraging the reduction of non-essential journeys. Analysing and reducing the number of business trips made by car is not only good for the environment, but it is also a part of best practice risk management and will cut fuel use, said Mr Francis.
Previous seminars have highlighted that SMEs particularly have not historically monitored fuel spend. But, the indication from delegates at our latest seminars is a reversal in that trend. It seems that companies that have introduced an intuitive software system are using the various modules to improve their fleet management and part of that is improved fuel management.
80% of the fleets questioned already have in place comprehensive occupational road risk management policies with the remaining 20% in the process of implementation.
One of the key reasons for many attending a Jaama seminar was to ensure they had all risk management issues covered in their new safe-driving policies and procedures. However, even those who already had policies in place, the majority identified room for improvement as a result of seminar attendance.
Although, company bosses found guilty of a serious offence as a result of a work-related road crash could be jailed, around two-third of delegates doubted that would happen.
Mr Francis said: Companies understand that they have a legal duty of care towards their employees and other road users in respect of at-work driving. They also understand that the implementation of best practice at-work driving policies can deliver a raft of financial savings, such as insurance premium savings, due to fewer crashes occurring.
But, most delegates told us at the seminars that they believed the trend for some risk management suppliers to highlight that bosses could be jailed in the event of an employee being involved in a serious road crash was a scaremongering tactic by them to sell their services.