Avis Leads the Carbon Neutral Drive in Car Rental

1st September 2009

Avis strengthens its sustainability commitment by achieving CarbonNeutral® fleet and energy usage accreditations.

Today, Avis Rent a Car SA is proud to announce that it has achieved CarbonNeutral® accreditation for the offset of its internal fuel and energy usage CO2 emissions.

Avis is well-known for its already strong heritage of CSI initiatives, transformation and investment. This prestigious accolade is another step towards its continued commitment and responsibility to its people, environment and community.

Wayne Duvenage, Avis Chief Executive, explains, “For Avis South Africa, becoming Carbon Neutral is an important step not only for our business, but for the industry as a whole.

By committing to reduce its internal business CO2 emissions of 11,000t to net zero, Avis has set the benchmark within the industry, and this we hope will encourage more businesses and also our customers to start taking action for their own carbon footprint.“

Duvenage continues, “World sustainability issues are at the heart of ‘Avis Cares’ and we understand that larger and significant efforts need to be made to conserve the planet for future generations. We believe everyone should - and will eventually - be involved in this process."

Every tonne of CO2 that Avis South Africa produces is counterbalanced with a tonne, saved by a validated emission reduction project, which has met international standards

From 1st October 2007, Avis South Africa began its four-stage programme which firstly involved measuring its own internal CO2 emissions from the areas with the greatest environmental impact: business fuel use in non-customer vehicles and electricity consumption from all sites.

Avis South Africa worked with The CarbonNeutral® Company, one of the world's leading carbon offset and carbon management businesses, to cut emissions to net zero through carbon offsetting. This means that every tonne of CO2 that Avis South Africa produces is counterbalanced with a tonne, saved by a validated emission reduction project, which has met international standards.

The two projects Avis has selected to support include the Hufu Waste heat recovery project in China – which recovers waste heat from a cement plant and uses it to produce clean electricity – and secondly, the Govindapuram Wind Power plant in the Tamil Nadu state in India, which uses wind power to produce clean electricity.

Naturally, Avis’ desire would be to support local or African clean energy initiatives but there are none in place (at this stage) which have received verified accreditation as per the international carbon offset protocol.

Currently, Avis is at the stage of communicating its CarbonNeutral® accreditations and embarking on an internal carbon reduction programme which includes energy audits; installing lower electricity consumption technology; installing motion senses into lighting systems in certain areas of the business; and appointing ‘Green Champions’ recycling initiatives. These initiatives are to be supported by internal staff awareness campaigns which are currently being rolled out to all Avis Brand Ambassadors.

The next phase will be to include customer rental carbon offset opportunities. From September 2009, all Avis invoices will reflect carbon emissions for each rental, enabling customers to measure their own carbon footprint. For corporate customers, Avis will be able to provide management information on CO2 for their entire rental account with Avis. In the future, Avis plans to allow customers to offset their rental carbon emissions with Avis.

In 2008, Avis upped its stake in corporate social responsibility by appointing a full time Sustainability Manager, Jessica Branco, to bring Avis’ vision and philosophy around CSR to life. Jessica commented, “Environment, community and people are at the heart of the Avis Cares philosophy, which focuses on improving recycling, community upliftment, internal training and development, and procurement through suppliers made up of previously disadvantaged individuals. We all feel honoured to be involved in this process.”

As part of its efforts to contribute towards a greener South Africa, Avis has already invested R1.9-million in the introduction of water recycling plants at its three new main depot car wash facilities in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Together, these plants save and recycle 95-million tons of water every year. In addition, the new Cape Town facility has activated its 180,000 litres underground water reservoir, designed to catch and redistribute rainwater.

Neil Braun, CEO of The CarbonNeutral Company, said, “We would like to congratulate Avis in South Africa as it extends its leadership position on sustainability within the car rental market. By taking responsibility to measure and reduce the carbon footprint that it produces and by achieving CarbonNeutral® fleet and energy usage accreditations, Avis has demonstrated environmental leadership to its customers.”

Avis is proud to have achieved CarbonNeutral® certifications and will continue to drive efforts, in conjunction with motor manufacturers, to introduce lower carbon emission products into its fleet.

Wayne Duvenage concludes, “Avis’ commitment is for the long term and carbon management is a key part of its business strategy. We’ve taken action because we believe it is the right thing to do and will continue to develop ways to minimise our impact to help protect our world for future generations.”