Carbon Trust

Carbon Trust

Motor industry teams up with Carbon Trust to cut energy use in dealerships


Source: Carbon Trust

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) have joined forces with the Carbon Trust to encourage greater energy efficiency within the automotive retail network.

The project aims to help motor retailers reduce their carbon emissions by 50,000 tonnes each year and reduce their annual energy bills by more than £6 million.

The Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company that provides specialist support to help businesses and public sector bodies cut their carbon emissions and save energy, will visit 30 dealers to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency across the sector. The dealerships, representing all major car brands in the UK marketplace, will be of various sizes and types with differing energy spends and occupying buildings of different ages in order to be representative of the industry as a whole.

The Carbon Trust’s findings will be collated to form a report that will be available to the whole sector, giving top tips and best practice guidance on cutting energy use and saving money. It will also provide dealers with information on the business case for action as well as case study examples.

“This is an important step in cutting the sector’s environmental footprint and demonstrating our commitment to lifetime sustainability,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt. “Vehicle manufacturers have focussed heavily on improving the efficiency of their production facilities and cutting the emissions of their products, making increasingly significant progress. This project will ensure the same attention is paid to retail sites, improving the overall environmental performance of the industry.”

Keith Horgan, Partnership Development Manager at the Carbon Trust said, “Current carbon emissions from UK motor dealerships are around one million tonnes a year. We are confident that this carbon footprint could soon be reduced by at least five per cent through our partnership with SMMT and RMI.

“We also expect to find many more opportunities for the retail motor sector to reduce its energy use in the longer term and estimate that dealers could ultimately save £25 million or more on their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.”

The Carbon Trust – which has saved its customers more than £2.5 billion on their energy bills since 2001 – is already working with Toyota to achieve significant reductions in energy use and carbon emissions across its network of more than 200 Toyota and Lexus centres.

Steve Latham, operations manager for the RMI said, “These days our customers expect us to be energy efficient and to set a green and clean standard. Today we sell and promote many new cars with very efficient engines, producing lower CO2 emissions, therefore it is imperative we do everything possible to reduce energy consumption in our dealerships and reduce our costs in these difficult trading conditions.”

The Carbon Trust Automotive Dealer Energy Efficiency Project

Energy efficiency assessments will be carried out at 30 dealerships during October and November 2010 in order to produce the sector-wide report which is due for publication in January 2011. These dealerships were selected from a representative sample of over 80 based on dealer activity, size, energy spend, age of premises and location.

The Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies.  By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.

We help to cut carbon emissions now by:

  • Providing specialist advice and finance to help organisations cut carbon
  • Setting standards for carbon reduction

We reduce potential future carbon emissions by:

  • Opening markets for low carbon technologies
  • Leading industry collaborations to commercialise technologies
  • Investing in early stage low carbon companies

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.

SMMT figures show that the UK motor industry has already made significant improvements in reducing the environmental impact of its vehicles through the production, driving and recycling phases:

  • CO2 equivalents per vehicle produced in the UK are 0.9 tonnes.
  • Waste to landfill has fallen 9.2% in the last year alone to 10.8kg per vehicle.
  • 85% of a vehicle’s lifetime CO2 emissions come from the driving phase.
  • The average CO2 emissions for a new car registered in the UK in 2009 was 149.5g/km dropping to 145g/km to September 2010.
  • 94% of dealers in the UK now use the voluntary colour-coded label to inform consumer choice.
  • In line with EU targets, 85% of a vehicle can be recovered and recycled at the end of its life.

For more information on the UK motor industry’s environmental performance, please download a full copy of the SMMT annual sustainability report from

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy with £51 billion turnover and £10 billion value added. With over 800,000 jobs dependent on the industry, it accounts for 10% of total UK exports and invests £1 billion each year in R&D. In the last ten years, huge strides have been made to reduce the environmental impact of its products throughout the life cycle.  Improvements in production processes mean energy used to produce cars is down 24%, water use is down 45% and 57% less waste enters landfill sites. Average car tailpipe CO2 emissions have also been slashed and are down 20% compared to 1999 levels.  For more details, download SMMT’s tenth annual Sustainability Report or annual facts booklet from the SMMT website

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