Bye Bye Gas Guzzlers – revisited

In business, Carbon Footprint, RSA, Sustainability on July 11, 2010 at 10:07 am

Back in 2006 the RSA set up a personal carbon trading scheme for fellows, and I joined in.
The result was Bye Bye Gas Guzzlers

Author: RonaldDuncan

Posted: Oct 5 2006 10:03AM Comments: 2439

We are a two car household currently with a 3ltr Subaru Outback and a 4ltr Jaguar XK8, but switching to a pair of Toyota Prius Hybrids.

We get as good a driving experience, quieter and much smoother and 1/3 of the fuel consumption, and if we lived in town we could have got a pair of fully electric cars and made even larger reductions.

For the financially minded the Prius is depreciating very slowly and has an 8 year warranty on its hybrid drive train.

For the technical it has both battery and petrol engine and recharges the battery when you brake thus reusing the energy and saving significant amounts.

It was a popular post, and the switch to our Prius saved us a lot of money as well as reducing our carbon footprint.  However, there was much, much more that we could do:-
The key areas were not as individuals but through our companies and organisations.  In my case I had a really look at my company @UK PLC and how it could help the environment, whilst I am the largest shareholder in @UK PLC, and I started the company, in October 2006 I was in a particularly powerless position within the company.

We floated in December 2005, and things had exploded in September 2006 with our half year results.  My wife Lyn was chief executive and fighting to keep on the board, and I was trying to be an invisible technical director that just kept everything running amidst the mess.

Lyn was ousted after a very stressful battle, our sales and marketing directors were fired and a new chief exec brought in by our non execs.  The new chief exec had no chance because the market had dried up, however it took until October 2008 for enough cash to drain away, and we could start running the company again, and focusing on the future.

@UK PLC is a very low carbon, knowledge based company, so whilst we recycle and try to minimise our impact on the environment a reduction in our companies carbon footprint is not going to have much effect in the overall scheme of things.

However, our solutions make a significant effect on our customer carbon footprint, and primary effect being reduction in the use of paper, and making processes more efficient.  You would think that it is easy to find out the carbon footprint of paper, and so we could quantify our impact.  It was not easy, and it was clear that the information that was passed around the various databases, went back to some fairly rough studies of a rural paper mill that had published its results in an unscientific manner.  This was a disappointment.

It was very clear that there was a real need for a good database of environmental data at product level, and a method for accurately calculating product level environmental footprints.  e.g. Paper uses up a lot of water as well as energy, and cutting down trees, and can produce large amounts of pollution, especially in the developing world.

So, I am delighted that we now have a method to provide environmental data in a comprehensive format with transparent levels of accuracy to provide a complete picture.  This will allow us to get a complete picture of our customers environmental impact, and the effect of the benefits from our solutions.

There are 3 parts to the solution

  1. Our SpendInsight spend analysis that provides a detailed item level analysis in less than 1 week
  2. Our e2class database of over 3.6 million commonly purchased items and their environmental impact
  3. Our new GreenInsight that combines SpendInsight detailed data with e2class environmental data to provide a detailed picture of an organisations environmental impact
This allows us to accurately benchmark our customers, and measure the change from our projects.
It will have a much bigger effect than a family swapping out a couple of gas guzzlers.
  1. Since then Richard Benyon Minister for the Natural Environment launched our Green Marketplace on the 7th of October 2010 and we started the NHS Carbon Footprint Project in September 2011.

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