Your road transport business, whatever its size, costs money and can impact on the environment. But you can take practical steps to manage your environmental performance and save money.

Managing your environmental performance can help you to enhance your reputation and win new business. You can tell your customers and staff that you comply with legislation and that you care about your impact on the environment.

Good practice

Use an environmental management system

Your business can use an environmental management system (EMS) to reduce its environmental impact. An EMS helps you to identify your business' impact on the environment and then manage your activities to reduce your impact, for example by reducing the energy or water you use or the waste you produce. This can help you to improve your environmental performance.

Your EMS should be appropriate to the type and size of your activities.

For more information about how an EMS can help your business, see our EMS guidance.

What is an environmental management system?

Report on your environmental performance

Your business can benefit from improving its environmental performance and reporting on this to both staff and your customers.

Reporting will:

  • give you information about your current performance, and whether you are complying with legislation
  • identify where you could improve your activities and use resources more efficiently, saving you money
  • involve your staff and help increase their environmental awareness
  • help you compare your performance with similar businesses or industry standards
  • demonstrate to your staff, customers and the public your commitment to improving your environmental performance.

You should focus on how you manage your key environmental impacts, for example your vehicle carbon emissions, using fuel and oils safely and waste management. Document the progress you are making. This will help you involve and motivate your staff.

To find out how you can measure and report on your business' environmental performance see:

What is an environmental report?

The NIEA and SEPA have also developed a toolkit that will help you comply with your Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit or waste management licence and manage your environmental performance.

Manage your purchases

The goods and services you buy, such as parts and components to service and maintain your vehicles, office supplies, and cleaning and utility services, all have an environmental impact.

You can reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services you buy and could reduce your costs by following green or sustainable procurement principles.

Consider the environmental impacts during the full life cycle of a product or service when buying, including:

  • what raw materials are used to manufacture the product or provide the service
  • how the product is produced and the energy used
  • how the product or service will perform in use, e.g. will it use energy or water or produce waste
  • how much it will cost to dispose of the product and the environmental impacts of disposal
  • the potential for reuse or recycling the product
  • the environmental performance of your suppliers.

Before buying any goods, consider first whether the product or service needs to be bought at all.

Making Green Claims

The UK government has published guidance for businesses. You should read before making any claims about environmental benefits from your goods or services.

GOV.UK: Green claims code

Communicate with your staff

Encourage all your staff to work together to improve your environmental performance. The day-to-day actions of your staff can reduce your environmental impact significantly. Ask someone to volunteer at your site as the environmental champion.

Engage with senior management to gain their support for environmental policies.

Raise awareness among staff about your policies and update them regularly on your progress and what you've achieved.

You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff  have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.

  • Preventing pollution – a general guide
  • Duty of care
  • Sinks, drains and sewers
  • WEEE
  • Generating renewable energy

All are available at: NetRegs: e-learning tools:

Further information on managing environmental performance of road transport businesses

Both the Fleet Best Practice and the Van Best Practice programmes offer free advice and information on how road transport businesses should manage their vehicle fleets.

Transport Scotland: Freight Best Practice Programme

  The Energy Saving Trust has produced a smart phone app that can save you money and track your fuel use. You can find out about the app at:

SEE ALSO: Biofuels for transport, Cutting your carbon emissions

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