Essex Auto Group recognises the potential risks from climate change caused by too much CO2 being released into the atmosphere. Transport plays an important role in this – for every mile we drive, further CO2 is emitted through our vehicles. As a result of this Essex Auto Group have partnered with Castrol in taking action on their carbon footprint.
To support ongoing strategies to reduce their impact on the environment both locally and globally, they have offset the CO2 from their vehicles and buildings (including all company, staff, and demonstration vehicles) through a new programme called Castrol Carbon Neutral.By calculating the impact of their vehicles and dealerships it was calculated that on an annual basis Essex Auto Group emitted a total of 1,547 tonnes of CO2e (“carbon dioxide equivalents” – a measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential). That is the same as 3,825 trips from London to Aberdeen or 130,116 average days of driving one car and would require a 294-acre forest in order to extract that level of CO2 from the atmosphere!
Essex Auto Group reduces its carbon footprint using many methods, including support for Essex Wildlife Trust, using energy-saving technology and environmentally-sensitive materials when building new dealerships, and using Castrol Professional (the world’s first certified carbon neutral oil) in all of their services.
Philip Maskell, Chairman of Essex Auto Group, explained: “We’ve had a 27-year business partnership with Castrol, which has been beneficial for both sides – it is a true partnership. To be part of this carbon neutral programme is a massive pride point and privilege for my company.”
“Carbon neutral is very important to us. We already have an energy conservation programme that we’ve been running for about the last 5 years where we have actually achieved about a 20% reduction in our cost of energy across our dealerships and also a similar reduction in carbon production. So energy conservation leading on to carbon neutral with this partnership arrangement with Castrol takes us to the next level.”
Greenhouse gases are still produced though, so their effect still needs to be neutralised. Carbon offsetting is a way of cancelling out the impact of CO2 by either avoiding the release of a tonne of CO2 elsewhere in the world or absorbing a tonne of CO2 from the air that otherwise would have remained in the atmosphere. Essex Auto Group invests thousands of pounds in the Castrol Carbon Neutral programme to offset its footprint through BP Target Neutral – a not-for-profit organisation that ensures that every penny goes to low-carbon development projects.
Andrea Abrahams, Global Director at BP Target Neutral, said: “BP Target Neutral is a carbon management and reduction programme that is run within BP that we offer to our customers and our partners. The idea behind it is to try and collaborate around carbon reduction, so we offer simple, easy-to-use tools and methods to allow all of our customers to reduce carbon with us.”
“We’re delighted to have Essex Auto Group as our first ever carbon neutral franchise in the UK. They really are a leader in taking great steps to show others what can be done.”
“BP Target Neutral has a portfolio of carbon reduction and offset projects. All the money from carbon offsetting goes towards supporting carbon reduction initiatives, which would not otherwise happen without this funding. The projects range from renewable energy, for example wind farms, to fuel switching where you switch out a high-intensity carbon fuel with a low-intensity option, or even projects like forestry. Forests are called the ‘lungs of the Earth’, so they absorb carbon emissions and some of our projects help towards protecting precious rainforests around the world.”
This creates a balance between the CO2 emitted and the CO2 that is saved by these projects. Essex Auto Group are therefore “carbon neutral” from their Scope 1 and 2 emissions – the first Ford dealership in Europe to achieve this. What’s more, the projects that carbon offsetting supports often have other positive social and economic benefits effects, such as creating local jobs in rural economies or improving air quality.
BP Target Neutral invests in a range of important carbon-reducing projects around the world. One example is reforestation in Africa, a project that involves over 8,000 farmers in Kenya who plant trees around the slopes of Mount Kenya. The farmers are paid for each living tree, which are quantified annually by locally trained and employed project quantifiers, and 70% of the carbon revenue generated from the sale of carbon offsets.Another project involves over 100 small cyclone-resistant wind turbines in two locations within New Caledonia. Small islands in the Pacific are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Through carbon offsetting, approximately one in ten people in the region will have their energy needs met by wind power.
A.S. Ramchander, Global Marketing Director and Vice President at Castrol, said: “The car dealership market is very competitive market and the margins are shrinking, so a car dealership typically needs something to differentiate itself from the competition and being carbon neutral gives most dealerships a unique selling point to talk to consumers about something they really care about.”
“Congratulations to Essex Auto Group for launching this offer to the market. I think it’s a pioneering move. It means a huge amount to Castrol because Castrol is a pioneer in many areas of business in the world of oils and lubricants. We’re trying to test this offer out and if we have partnerships with organisations like Essex Auto Group, we can really make this successful and roll it out to a much, much larger target market.”
You will soon be able to help too! Essex Auto Group are currently developing an offer that will allow their customers to offset their own CO2 when purchasing a new car or between regular services.
You can cut emissions by lowering your fuel consumption with a more efficient car (such as the All-New Kia Niro crossover hybrid SUV), reducing drag on your vehicle (keeping the weight carried in the boot and cabin to a minimum, closing windows at speeds over 50mph, and maintaining the correct tyre pressures), and using high-quality fuels and oil.To find out how you can offset your carbon emissions, you can use Castrol’s online calculator at www.bptargetneutral.com to find out your car’s CO2 footprint and the cost needed to offset it with the aid of your service mileage and registration number. Once your total emissions have been worked out, you can then also offset them with a payment that supports BP Target Neutral projects.
To find out more about Essex Auto Group, their commitment to carbon offsetting, the projects they are supporting, and fuel efficient vehicles visit EssexAutoGroup.com.