Reducing your vehicle emissions


Businesses often need to transport people and goods, but the way your organisation uses transport can also offer opportunities to improve your environmental performance and reduce costs.

Vehicle use can cause environmental harm. Vehicle emissions, such as CO2, contribute to climate change. Dust and other air pollutants can also lead to poor air quality and ill health.

In addition to reducing your environmental impact, better use of transport can benefit your business by saving you money, increasing business opportunities and improving its image. This could help attract new employees and increase your customer base.

This guide explains how to choose and use greener methods of transport, for staff travel and your supply chain, and identifies the advantages. It will also help you to identify the free advice programmes, training, tools and financial incentives that can help your business take action to reduce your carbon footprint and transport costs.

Benefits of reducing your vehicle emissions

Limiting your vehicle emissions can help you to reduce your environmental impact and benefit your business.

Emissions from vehicle exhausts are a significant source of air pollutants including:

  • CO2
  • carbon monoxide
  • fine dust particles
  • nitrogen oxides
  • unburnt hydrocarbons

You should try to limit the amount of vehicle emissions that your business produces as they may:

  • lead to ill health, such as respiratory problems, among your staff and the public
  • cause a nuisance to your neighbours
  • contribute to roadside levels of pollution in urban centres
  • contribute to climate change

You can also reduce your transport costs, such as fuel bills and vehicle tax, by choosing vehicles that are more environmentally friendly and using them more efficiently.

Financial savings

By using vehicles more efficiently you can make significant financial savings through reduced fuel costs and less wear and tear which could help save money by using employees’ time more efficiently and by finding new uses for land previously used for parking.

The Energy Saving Trust suggests that a business with a car and van fleet of 100 vehicles could save up to £90,000 a year by implementing green fleet policies. Find free advice and support on reducing the environmental impact of your fleet on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Investing in vehicles that are more environmentally friendly may also make you eligible for enhanced capital allowances and other tax breaks. See the page in this guide on tax breaks for low-emission vehicles.

Find CO2 emissions and fuel costs of new and used cars on the Act on CO2 website.

Improved business’ image

Reducing your environmental impact can help to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and improve the image of your business.

Awareness of environmental issues is growing, and customers, investors and other stakeholders increasingly prefer to deal with businesses that have good environmental credentials. Having environmental policies and procedures in place is likely to be viewed positively and can also help you win contracts when you tender for business.

Employee benefits

Educating your employees about the environmental impacts of transport and encouraging them to walk, cycle or use public transport for commuting and business travel can benefit their health and finances. It may also contribute to reduced sickness absence, increased staff retention and improved local air quality.

A workplace travel plan can be a cost-effective way for you to put these policies in place. See nibusinessinfo’s guide on how to create a workplace travel plan.

Training your employees to drive safely and efficiently and to maintain vehicles can help reduce vehicle emissions and the number of work-related road incidents. Employees also benefit from a cleaner and safer environment and save money if they drive carefully outside of work. See the page in this guide on using work vehicles efficiently.

Business continuity

Fuel-efficient driving may also enable you to continue with your normal operations if there are temporary disruptions in the fuel supply.

Download guidance on business continuity management for fuel shortages from the Cabinet Office website (PDF, 118K).

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