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Green news

2 Jun 2009 by Sara Turner

Europcar to go electric

NissanEuropcar has announced plans to start offering zero-emission cars by the end of next year. The car hire company, in a partnership with Nissan, will offer electric vehicles for hire in the UK, as well as France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.

Rafael Girona, Europcar Groupe’s chief operating officer, said: “We will give our customers the option of exploring a new means of mobility through the experience of using an electric vehicle in order to encourage them to become better eco-citizens.”

Eric Nicolas, senior vice president, administration and finance, Nissan International SA, said: “Nissan and Europcar share the same belief that the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles is one of the best solutions to sustain the growing need for mobility across the globe.”

Details of the exact Nissan model and number of cars to join Europcar’s fleet have not yet been released, but Business Traveller can confirm that the electric vehicles will be available from main airports, train stations and urban locations.

Visit europcar.com, nissan.co.uk

Tighter budgets mean greener travel

The economy, not the environment, is making travellers more waste conscious, according to a recent survey by Element Hotels.

While nearly 78 per cent of survey respondents said they are paying more attention to wasteful habits such as leaving lights or television on and the tap running, more than 41 per cent said this is due to the economy, compared with only 28 percent stating it was due to the environment.

Eco-conscious habits slip during trips, however, with nearly half (46 per cent) of frequent travellers saying they always recycle glass and plastic at home, but that number dips to 36 percent on the road. Only about one-third of travelers surveyed consider themselves “outstanding” in their personal “green programmes,” with most feeling more like “green beginners.”

Element, Starwood Hotels’ extended stay brand, is launching the Element Eco-Travel Index, an annual survey to measure the green travel habits of frequent travellers.

Visit elementhotels.com

Gold award for London hotel

The Cavendish Hotel in central London is the first to be awarded a Gold Accreditation for its environmental policies, by Green Tourism for London.

The Green Tourism for London scheme was launched in 2007 by the London Development Agency and aims to improve the environmental performance and green credentials of hotels, guesthouses, venues and attractions across the capital. Assessors looked at energy and resource management, as well as efforts to actively promote public transport, local cultural activities and London’s open spaces.

The Cavendish Hotel has introduced a number of initiatives, including green meetings (see Green News April 1), energy efficient lighting, an in-house water bottling system, the use of Fairtrade products throughout the hotel, and restaurant menus featuring sustainable fish sources and local produce where possible.  

Ciaran Fahy, general manager at The Cavendish Hotel, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the Gold Accreditation as recognition for the time and effort we have put into our environmental policies. The Cavendish is committed to reducing its impact on the environment.  Our Green Team operates throughout the hotel to ensure that every team member is working towards building a sustainable future.”  

Visit thecavendishlondon.com

BA funds wind farm in China

A new wind farm in China has been opened with funding from British Airways’ carbon offsetting scheme.

Bayin’aobao wind farm in Inner Mongolia has 33 wind turbines. Their use will mean the equivalent of 222,000 passenger cars not driven per year and 15,910 households worth of electricity not used per year.

British Airways was the first airline to launch carbon offsetting, in 2005, allowing passengers to make their booking and buy their offsetting in the same transaction at ba.com.

Sara Turner

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