London-based commercial cleaning company and holder of The Planet Mark™, GreenZone Cleaning & Support Services, has taken another major step in reducing its environmental impact by committing to replace its entire diesel fleet of cars and vans with fully electric vehicles (EVs).

GreenZone has just taken delivery of its first EVs – four zero emission Renault Zoes and one zero emission Nissan ENV 200 (pictured). The company has also purchased a Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to join its fleet of company cars and installed four charging pods outside its head offices in West London. It said it planned to replace the rest of its vehicles in the fleet that are non-compliant with the emissions standards with EVs by April 8th 2019, the date of the introduction of the Mayor of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The ULEZ is being introduced to help improve air quality in London. It means most vehicles, including cars and vans, will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to travel within the area of the ULEZ.

The investment means GreenZone, alongside helping to cut air pollution in the capital, will be saving itself £22.50 per vehicle per day in ULEZ and congestion charge costs come next April, as well as in parking costs, the company said. Significantly, the move also means GreenZone will see its carbon footprint reduce dramatically over its next two annual reporting periods. Fleet emissions made up nearly 90% of GreenZone’s carbon footprint in its last reporting period (year ending December 2017), and emissions from the company’s fleet saw an increase of 7% due to business growth and an increase in staff numbers.

“This investment is going to be hugely impactful for us as a business,” said GreenZone’s Operations Director Guy Travers, who has been leading the company’s drive to switch to EVs. “Not only is it going to save us money, but it’s going to make a huge improvement in our environmental impact going forward. It’s absolutely the right thing to do and our EVs are going to be a great way for us to send out a clear message to our customers and beyond that we are committed to being leaders in sustainability.”

Flavia Tavares, Sustainability Consultant for The Planet Mark™, commented: “The carbon emissions of driving 10,000 miles on an average EV’s emissions result in 68% and 66% lower emissions than petrol and diesel vehicles, respectively. Considering that GreenZone’s carbon footprint is largely attributed to fleet-related emissions, a move from fuel-powered vehicles to EVs will not only decrease the business impact on the environment but also result in a much lower carbon footprint.”

As well as GreenZone’s company branding and “100% electric” and “zero emissions” messaging emblazoned across the sides, the EVs will also, for the first time, carry The Planet Mark™ logo.

“This is the biggest visible action we’ve taken to date in terms of promoting our green credentials,” said GreenZone’s Project Manager Linda Bell, who said she was grateful to the Mayor of London for having implemented the new policy. “Sadiq Khan has given us a clear timeline well in advance so we can prepare for this switch and we would encourage other companies in London to do the same.”

Around 9,400 deaths in London a year are attributed to illnesses related to air quality and more than 440 schools in the capital are in areas that exceed safe legal pollution levels, according to latest research.

GreenZone is already committed to greening the capital through its corporate partnership with the charity Trees for Cities, which it has supported for the last five years.

The company has been reporting its carbon footprint for the last six years, and in 2017 reduced its carbon footprint per employee by 10.5% compared to 2016.

GreenZone’s sustainability initiatives during the reporting period included:

  • Committing to an annual donation to conserve 83 acres of rainforest in Peru (in partnership with Cool Earth) enabling the local communities to grow crops like cacao that can give them an income and save the forest from loggers
  • Energy retrofit – LED lights fitted in May 2017 with an energy saving of 1.386 kw/hr.

The ULEZ will replace the T-Charge. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year within the same area as the current Congestion Charging Zone.

The Government is currently offering grants to reduce the cost of EV charging points.

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