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Avis expands its carbon neutral program with local South African project

10 October 2011 |

Avis, the leading car rental company in South Africa, today announced that it has renewed its position on carbon neutrality through The CarbonNeutral Company.

Johannesburg, South Africa, 1 October 2011]
Avis, the leading car rental company in South Africa, today announced that it has renewed its position on carbon neutrality through The CarbonNeutral Company. Following three years of internal energy efficiency, carbon reduction and carbon offsetting to reduce its carbon footprint to net zero, Avis is the first car rental company in South Africa to achieve CarbonNeutral® certification. Avis is well known for its environmental focus and the renewal of its carbon neutral status for the next two years is indicative of its commitment to make a real difference to the environment.

“Our past relationship with The CarbonNeutral Company has been strong and for this next period, we tasked it to find a South African registered project that would complement our internal reduction efforts, and enable us to offset some of our unavoidable GHG emissions” says Wayne Duvenage, Chief Executive of Avis Rent a Car. “We also wanted to expand our carbon management to include Scope 3 category, thereby earning us a CarbonNeutral® Company accreditation for Scopes 1, 2 & 3 for the next two years, over which period Avis will increase internal energy efficiencies as well as offset approximately 12,500 tonnes of CO2 per annum.”

Scopes 1, 2 & 3 GHG emissions consists of all emissions relating to the company (Rent a Car, Zeda Car Sales and Luxury Division), including energy consumption, fuel usage, waste and business travel. Each of these were independently measured and are being reduced through a combination of internal business process changes (for example increasing recycling and reducing energy consumption) with carbon offsetting through the purchase of carbon credits which matches every tonne of CO2 emitted by Avis, with an equivalent amount saved by a project in its portfolio.

The two projects Avis selected for its new two-year portfolio is the Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture project in China and the highly awaited Basa Magogo “Light it up” Improved Cooking Technique in South Africa.

The Tieling project, which is VCS accredited, captures coal mine methane (CMM) to prevent this potent greenhouse gas being released in to the atmosphere. Support from Avis enables this captured gas to be converted to an energy source to supply gas to homes and local industry, increasing energy sustainability in the local area as well as benefiting the local economy with jobs. The South African Basa Magogo project is the first Gold Standard project of its kind in the world. Support from Avis enables the teaching of local communities in South Africa to burn coal differently in order to be more fuel efficient, thereby saving money and reducing carbon emissions.

“We are very excited about the local project, because not only does it reduce GHG emissions, but it also goes a long way to creating a less polluted environment which will deliver immense health benefits for our local communities who use coal as their main energy source for cooking and heating purposes. If it takes carbon offset funding to give excellent projects of this nature momentum, then we are delighted that we could assist in this regard”, says Duvenage.

Jonathan Shopley, Managing Director, The CarbonNeutral Company says, “It is a pleasure for The CarbonNeutral Company to work with a company like Avis in South Africa as it leads the way in managing and reducing its carbon footprint, and we were very pleased to enhance the programme with an innovative South African carbon reduction project this year. The team at Avis has developed a comprehensive programme of offsets and other environmental activities which set a powerful example of how a business can grow and develop sustainably.”

Duvenage says, “Offsetting is merely an additional way to address our emissions, as we have reduced our electricity consumption by over 300,000 kWh per annum through switching off high energy consuming devices and changing our behaviour at Avis. In addition, we continue to work with our motor manufacturer suppliers to introduce lower carbon emission products for use in our fleet, such as the Toyota Prius since 2007 and more recently the new Honda Jazz Hybrid.”

Notes to editors:

Avis South Africa environmental initiatives:

Avis also works closely with a host of development and conservation partners, in most instances providing them with much-needed transport to organisations such as WWF, the Peace Parks Foundation, The Wilderness Leadership School and many others. In 2007, Avis was the first car rental company to introduce ultra low emission vehicle technology onto its fleet in the form of the Toyota Prius at cost to the renter to give exposure to this new and exciting development. Furthermore, Avis also agreed to plant a tree for every Toyota Prius rented over the initial period resulting in the planting of more than 300 indigenous trees at Thuthuka Primary School, Masisebenze Secondary School, Nyiko Primary School and Enxiweni Primary School in and around Gauteng. In 2011 Avis introduced the new Honda Jazz Hybrid to its rental fleet.

Basa Magogo “Light it up” Improved Cooking Method, South Africa

The first Gold Standard project of its kind in the world, this innovative behaviour-change programme teaches local communities in South Africa to burn coal differently in order to be more fuel efficient, thereby reducing carbon emissions. The technique, called Basa Magogo, means ‘Light it up! Grandmother’ In Zulu. In addition to the emission reductions, the Basa Magogo technique also improves visibility and reduces health risks by producing less smoke.

Importantly, the new technique does not require any change of household equipment and is entirely implemented through local training sessions on improving use of stoves or braziers which people already own. It is validated and verified to the Gold Standard and will run for 10 years, at the end of which time the project hopes to have entirely replaced old techniques with Basa Magogo.

In addition to emission reductions, Basa Magogo leads to a reduction in indoor and ambient air pollution, better visibility and reduced health risk.

Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture, China

Located across six coal mines in the Northeastern province of Liaoning in China, this project prevents the potent greenhouse gas, methane, from being released into the atmosphere. Methane is a by-product of coal formation which is released during mining. At each of the project sites, technology has been installed to capture the CMM and blend it to a concentration suitable for use as a fuel source. This innovative initiative was the first project in China to use CMM as fuel for gas supply.

Over half of China’s energy is derived from coal, making it the world’s largest global consumer of this fossil fuel. As a result, approximately 10.6 billion metres3 of CMM is released annually and less than 10% of this is currently piped as gas or used to generate electricity.

The CarbonNeutral Company is a world leading carbon offset and carbon management business, working with over 400 businesses in 40 countries. Since 1997, it has purchased carbon credits from over 240 projects across 30 countries.

CarbonNeutral® is the registered trademark of The CarbonNeutral Company and is the leading brand mark and quality standard for action on climate change. Permission to display the CarbonNeutral® mark is only given to clients when CO2 emissions have been measured and reduced to net zero through a programme implemented in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. This Protocol assures quality of offset projects, carbon footprint assessments and communication and is regularly reviewed by an Independent Advisory Group. The audit trail includes an annual independent verification of CarbonNeutral programs from contracts with carbon offset partners through to contracts with clients and everything in between.

The CarbonNeutral Company has two regional operating headquarters in New York and London, and a network of affiliates in Japan, Canada, France and UAE.

The CarbonNeutral Company is a founding member of The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA), which provides leadership and a unified voice advocating for rigorous industry standards www.icroa.org

This release was issued by Ogilvy PR on behalf of Avis

For more information please contact:
Ogilvy Press Office
Email: michelle.lowe@ogilvypr.co.za