A recent study conducted by Europcar Mobility Group has revealed a significant gap between employee expectations and the sustainable transport offerings provided by UK corporates. The findings highlight a prevalent reliance on what is commonly known as the ‘grey fleet’—employees using their personal vehicles for business travel—underscoring a need for more environmentally friendly alternatives.
According to the study:
Widespread Dependence on Grey Fleet:
- A staggering 81% of UK businesses rely on their employees’ personal vehicles for business travel.
- Over half of the 250 employees surveyed disclosed using their private vehicles for business purposes every week, with 25% utilising them on a daily basis.
Pandemic’s Influence on Grey Fleet Usage:
- Forty percent of surveyed employees believe that their employers increasingly depend on grey fleets, a trend attributed to inflated vehicle prices and evolving work patterns.
Employee Calls for Greener Mobility Solutions:
- A notable 32% of employees indicate that their employers lack green travel options.
- Twenty-seven percent express a desire for access to zero-emissions vehicles through initiatives like car-sharing or pool fleet schemes to curtail personal vehicle usage and reduce emissions.
Europcar Mobility Group UK’s Commercial Director, Mark Newberry, responded to the findings, emphasising the importance of flexibility in addressing economic challenges while meeting environmental targets. Newberry suggests that transitioning to a more sustainable business fleet does not necessarily mandate the immediate adoption of electric vehicles for all employees. Instead, he proposes a phased approach, starting with the rental of a younger, more fuel-efficient fleet. This strategy includes incorporating hybrid or fully electric vehicles where feasible. Such a transition, according to Newberry, can help businesses navigate the increasing number of low-emission and clean air zones across the country, simultaneously reducing emissions and fuel costs compared to the typically older grey fleet.
The study highlights a pressing need for businesses to reassess their current approaches to employee mobility, taking into account both economic viability and environmental sustainability. As employees express a growing preference for greener alternatives, companies that proactively address these concerns are likely to enhance their attractiveness to current and prospective employees, all while contributing to broader environmental goals.