Thursday 30 September 2021

Four Sustainability Questions to Ask Ride Services

Blacklane Stand: BTSH130
Four Sustainability Questions to Ask Ride Services
Suppliers who only now are considering EV adoption are late to the game.

While air travel accounts for a majority of corporate travel’s greenhouse gas emissions, companies need solutions to protect the planet across every step of travellers’ journeys. Travel managers looking at ground transportation suppliers can use four questions to discern ride services that greenwash versus those that align with their sustainability values.

Seventy-one per cent of corporate travel managers surveyed by Business Travel news are concerned with their companies’ travel-related carbon footprint. Similarly, a Deloitte survey found that 48 per cent of companies plan sustainability-related changes to their corporate travel policies over the next year.

Already, large companies such as Boston Consulting Group, PwC and Zurich Insurance have announced ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions from business travel. 

While air travel accounts for a majority of corporate travel’s greenhouse gas emissions, companies need solutions to protect the planet across every step of travellers’ journeys. Travel managers looking at ground transportation suppliers can use four questions to discern ride services that greenwash versus those that align with their sustainability values.

  1. What is your carbon offset strategy? Offsetting is the first step for ride services. Suppliers should articulate how they:

    • Calculate emissions for guest rides.

    • Calculate emissions of their own business operations, such as their buildings' environmental performance, IT infrastructure, and travel.

    • Offset those emissions through third parties. Some sustainability projects, such as planting trees, mean well and benefit the environment. But they lack the scientific backing to quantify emissions offsets

To dig deeper, travel managers can ask for suppliers’ offset certifications, how long suppliers have offset, and what they intend to do about emissions from rides and operations that pre-date their offset programs.

  1. What sustainability organisations have you joined? These can range from local groups up to multinational organisations such as The Climate Pledge and Leaders for Climate Action. Committing to third-party organisations shows suppliers’ intent to learn, mobilise and innovate. It means that ride services are introducing new hybrid and electric vehicles and greener business practices.

    Other activities include sponsoring green events or giving staff time off to support local and global sustainability projects.
     

  2. What is your history with and strategy to use electric vehicles (EVs)? Suppliers who only now are considering EV adoption are late to the game. They have missed years of learning how guests value EV rides and how to manage the unique elements of electric fleets.

    Suppliers should also be able to share targets for the percentage of rides performed in electric vehicles in the coming years, and their willingness to consider other clean cars, such as hydrogen vehicles.
     

  3. How do you drive and route vehicles? The most overlooked element in the industry is how to effectively use vehicles. This includes:

    • Driving style. For example, gradual acceleration and maintaining a steady speed on highways reduce fuel consumption. 

    • Vehicle age and maintenance. Newer vehicles are generally more fuel efficient. Keeping cars tuned and tyres properly inflated generates huge fuel savings. 

    • Utilisation. Empty rides add pollution and congestion without giving suppliers any revenue. Regulations called return-to-base laws require empty trips in many cities so chauffeurs do not compete with taxis. Other empty rides take drivers to their next trips. Suppliers should be able to describe how they minimise empty rides by best matching open vehicles with guests’ upcoming trips. 

Chauffeur, taxi and ride-hailing companies have no excuse for failing to achieve carbon neutrality today, neglecting to plan for fleet electrification, or lagging on vehicle usage best practices. These actions help companies meet their sustainability targets and business objectives, and show the responsible path to care for both people and the planet.

This blog was posted by Sascha Meskendahl, Chief Revenue Officer of Blacklane, the global chauffeur service. Blacklane is exhibiting at Business Travel Show Europe 30 Sept - 01 Oct on Stand BTSH130, register here. 

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