Fleet buyers are being urged to start decarbonising vehicles now to avoid more painful action down the line.
Simon Barr, public sector and specialist sales manager at leasing company Athlon, said it was “better to buy ahead of the stick when the carrot is there”, as the UK heads towards the 2030 deadline when sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans must stop.
Speaking at the CIPS Embracing Sustainable Procurement Breakfast Briefing, Barr said: “The key factor with any sustainable procurement policy is, if we don’t act soon, will there be a greater impact in years to come when we have to do it?”
Barr said a credible policy to decarbonise fleets could be a selling point when bidding for new work, but it was important to make marginal gains rather than try to achieve this all at once.
“If you can make one very quick improvement you will start to bring people on board – you can demonstrate savings to the bottom line, you can demonstrate savings to your employees,” he said.
“During Covid we have reduced journeys out of necessity. I think this is a factor that will stay with us. Journeys are going to become less and I think that can only be a good thing. Less miles means less maintenance.
“The average range of an electric car is now above 200 miles. As journeys decrease in the business world electric vehicles will become more and more of an option.”
Barr said legislation to reduce CO2 emissions was going to be the driving force behind fleet policies. “Be brave, ask yourself what’s right, not just for the bottom line but for your employees as well,” he said. “I would advocate lowering CO2 to as low as you can get.
“Consider carbon offsetting to drive CO2 down even further, while maintaining some of the necessary diesel vehicles on the road.”
Barr said reducing CO2 would lower fuel costs and National Insurance contributions and produce savings around benefits in kind and company car tax. “The lower the CO2, the more savings you’ll make,” he said.