Capegemini wins award for green travel

IT consulting and professional services firm, Capegemini, has won an award for its green travel initiatives.

The firm won the award for its eco-friendly corporate travel programme, which is to include personal carbon budgets from next year, and which is called TravelWell.

The award was presented to the winner by BusinessGreen, a website that offers news, information and advice on environmental responsibility. The firm won the Green Transport Project of the Year award.

The website also stated that next year, in the region of 400 Capgemini employees in the United Kingdom would, ‘find out if they can stay within their new carbon budgets as part of the latest phase of the company’s pioneering, TravelWell programme.’

The IT firm won the award for its travel disclosures and its eco-consciousness. It already reports individual business travellers’ carbon emissions. About 6,000 of such reports have been made available through an intranet site. The company is also planning to include more workers under its current plan, and if everything falls into place, then 7,500 of the firm’s employees will come under the programme in 2014. According to Capgemini, business travel accounts for 30 percent of the firm’s total carbon footprint.

In its website, the firm said, ‘A key assumption of the business model has always been that the right skills and experience of employees are matched with clients’ business challenges, regardless of location. So, it was a particular challenge to introduce initiatives that support employees in reducing the carbon emissions from their business travel.’


Enterprise Rent-A-Car to Offer Electric Vehicles in 2011

American car rental firm Enterprise Rent-A-Car will soon have some new additions to its primary fleet. The large car rental company has ordered five-hundred Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, aiming to improve its carbon footprint and contribute to a green commerce record. The company is one of the largest rental firms in the United States, and the first of its kind to offer electric rental cars.

Environmental groups have praised the company’s decision, claiming that it is likely to reduce the firm’s carbon emissions and encourage other rental car operators to update their fleet. The change isn’t permanent yet – merely an experiment for the rental company – although if it is successful the company plans to add more electric automobiles to its collection.

The switch to electric vehicles also has some clear commercial benefits. Enterprise will receive a tax credit from the United States government of almost $8,000 for each vehicle, bringing the cost down to just $25,280 per car. While the car’s rental price is likely to be higher than that of regular petrol-driven cars, the company will benefit from the vehicle’s minimal running expenses.

The Leaf is a new offering from Nissan, one of few commercially viable electric car projects. The company has reported over 17,000 orders for the vehicle before its United States release. Advance customers will receive their cars towards the end of December, with the vehicle being pushed into domestic showrooms throughout 2011. An estimated ten major cities will receive the car first.

Enterprise currently has a large fleet of hybrid rental vehicles, which have earned the company one of the best environmental records in its industry. The environmentally friendly vehicles command a slightly higher price than their petrol-driven alternatives – a policy which is likely to continue as the company acquires more electric vehicles.

‘Green’ Charges Attract Criticism from Travel Regulators, Tourists

Overseas travel operators are tricking tourists into paying unnecessary ‘green travel’ fees, only to pocked their extra spending to increase profits. A series of recent exposes have covered one of the travel industry’s largest and most widespread scams – the addition of environmental service fees, ‘green’ recycling taxes, and other bogus charges to tourists’ hotel bills in an effort to boost income.

Service fees and booking charges have attracted criticism from travellers, particularly those that discover the extra charges without being aware that they are being added to their bill. The service charges, however, at least maintain a basis in reality and provided service, having contributed to experiences, facilities, and customer services used while travelling.

Regulators have criticised travel providers that apply additional ‘carbon’ fees to hotel and flight bills, despite a lack of official policy regarding the taxes and charges involved. The fees tend to be levied against holidayers after their departure from the hotel in question, leading many to believe that the fees are simply a re-branded version of a decades-old credit card direct access scam.

Travellers that encounter unexpected fees on their hotel bill are advised to take them up with the company in question. When a company has fraudulently charged your account, as is often the case in travel scams and remote credit card usage, it’s best to contact your credit card provider and ask for a ‘charge-back.’ The provider will then hold the funds from the hotel until the cost is resolved.

Environmental groups suggest that the elimination of bogus green charges will pave the way for greater consumer acceptance of legitimate ‘green’ taxes, particularly those that contribute to park and air quality improvement efforts. For travellers, the hidden fees remain an annoyance, costing Britain’s independent tourists anywhere from £5 to £50 per occurrence.