DES PLAINES, IL – NovoNordisk and SimplexGrinnell have signed up to participate in Wheels Inc.’s EcoWheels Green Driver Challenge, in which corporate fleet drivers and employees will learn about and pledge to adopt sustainable practices that minimize the environmental impact of their driving.

Last year more than 40 U.S. companies, such as AstraZeneca, Roche Diagnostics, DPR Construction and Deluxe Corporation, participated in the challenge. You can read about last year's challenge here.  

Diabetes care company Novo Nordisk manages a fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles and has made sustainability a part of the culture. The company is committed to a triple bottom line of financial, social and environmental responsibility.

SimplexGrinnell, a Tyco International company in the fire and life-safety markets, manages a fleet of 7,000 vehicles and has publicly committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water consumption by 25 percent over the next four years.

“Climate change and rising energy costs are dual challenges facing businesses today,” said Dan Frank, president of Wheels Services. “These challenges are particularly salient as companies experience pressure from stakeholders to help solve the global environmental problems. However, there are easy, cost-effective ways for fleets to ‘go green’ and reduce their environmental impact, as well as operating costs.”

By registering at a special website and pledging sustainable actions during the program, participating drivers will learn the environmental impact of their commitment. The website calculates the carbon dioxide (CO2) output, in pounds, that each pledge will save and the impact of that CO2 reduction in equivalent number of trees planted.

“A big part of green driving is awareness about the small changes in driving habits that have a big impact on fuel efficiency and, intrinsically, the environment,” added Frank. “With transportation as the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the Challenge is another opportunity for Wheels and our clients to commit to the most sustainable driving practices.”

In recent years, companies have placed strategic focus on creating “greener” fleets, as a part of the larger trend toward improving their overall environmental accountability. Wheels said many of its clients have already taken proactive steps in this arena.

Companies have been actively prioritizing and seeking ways they can partner with Wheels to improve sustainability efforts and encourage eco-driving behaviors, such as adjusting their fleets to incorporate smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been advocating for companies to move toward more efficient corporate fleets and is encouraging corporations to reduce 20 percent of greenhouse gas emission from vehicles by 2016.
“At EDF, one of our goals is to accelerate environmental innovation by challenging companies to make green business the new business as usual,” said Jason Mathers, project manager for the Environmental Defense Fund. “The fleet leasing industry is uniquely positioned to deliver value to its clients by providing services that cuts costs and emissions. By engaging thousands of drivers on the simple changes they can make to reduce fuel consumption, the EcoWheels Green Driver Challenge is an example of such a service.”

The EcoWheels program, developed in 2007, is dedicated to helping corporate fleets reach environmental goals. By partnering with clients to educate drivers on practices that improve fuel efficiency, advising on best utilization of fleet assets and implementing best practices for fleet vehicle selection, the EcoWheels program has helped clients to decrease CO2 emissions by 250,000 metric tons.