Enterprise Fleet Management was recognized this week with the 2009 American Business Award (the “Stevie”) for Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.
Owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis – which also owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Enterprise Fleet Management offers businesses with medium-sized fleets services to efficiently manage their vehicle fleet.
The award comes as no real surprise for this blogger, as Enterprise Rent-A-Car has come to our attention on several occasions for their work expanding their low emissions rental fleet, providing van pool services throughout various cities across the U.S., funding alternative fuel research, and acting generally as a good corporate citizen.
Offset, analyze, optimize, embrace
Enterprise Fleet Management received the Stevie for its aggressive implementation of programs and initiatives designed to reduce the carbon footprint of its customer’s vehicles. Important elements of these initiatives include:
- Offsetting Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Enterprise helps customers purchase verifiable greenhouse gas emissions through TerraPass. Enterprise Fleet Management also matched a portion of each customer’s carbon offset purchase, for a total of $1 million dollars.
- Fleet Emission Footprint Analysis – Enterprise helps businesses analyze options to balance or mitigate emissions by measuring the carbon footprint of individual vehicles in a company’s fleet.
- Vehicle Cycling/Fleet Optimization – Enterprise provides comprehensive data for measuring fleet emissions, project improvements in fuel efficiency and direct and indirect remediation costs.
- Embrace emerging Fuel and Engine Technologies – With the largest fleet of FlexFuel and thousands of gas-electric hybrids, Enterprise helps customers make smart decisions about new engine technologies.
As a result of these efforts, customers in the program offset an average of 15,000 pounds of CO2 per vehicle in 2008 from their fleets comprised of cars, light and medium trucks, and service vehicles.
Keys to Green
Enterprise Fleet Management has developed a sister website to Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s consumer oriented Keys to Green to help educate business fleet owners and operators on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Walking the talk
I first wrote about Enterprise last summer after speaking with Pat Farrell, now VP of Marketing and Communications, who told me at the time that “we are not environmentalists.” Indeed not, and this is an important point. Enterprise comes at their various efforts of corporate and environmental responsibility from both a pragmatic and fundamental level. Enterprise has remained a privately held company since its inception in 1957. When I spoke earlier this year with Lee Broughton, Director of Corporate Sustainability, he told me that keeping Enterprise essentially a “family” business (CEO Andy Taylor is the son of founder Jack Taylor), has helped the company hold fast to its founding principals and values.
The Taylor family has laid a foundation, according to Broughton and Farrell, of sustainability through core values of customer and employee satisfaction and community involvement: “Take care of your customers and employees first, and growth and profits will follow”.
This primary value has led the company into a new century, facing new challenges. These challenges, combined with its fundamental corporate philosophy, helps Enterprise find innovative ways to address the needs and desires of customers wanting to drive more low emissions cars, commuters seeking an affordable, low footprint ride to work, and businesses wishing to maintain an efficient and cost effective vehicle fleet. From there to the wider global community, insuring a sustainable business, say Broughton, means taking care, as best you can, of the world in which you operate.
To be sure, Enterprise progresses on its path not without mistakes, setbacks, and detractors. No business can realistically expect to function without them. The point, I think, is how mainstream companies like Enterprise can help lead by example to create a sustainable economy.
We may not all be environmentalists or philanthropists, but it is to the environment and to those with whom we interact daily that we will eventually answer.
Image Credit: StevieAwards.com