With environmental issues rising ever higher up the public and political agenda, enhancing sustainability and curbing carbon emissions are increasingly important priorities for businesses across a wide range of sectors. Technological advances are delivering notable improvements in the effort to reduce businesses' carbon footprint - and telematics tech, in particular, is having a positive effect.
Key to reducing carbon emissions is, of course, reducing fuel consumption. But rather than just being a matter of driving less - which is particularly difficult for businesses with a mobile workforce to achieve in any event - it's a matter of driving smarter and maximising efficiency wherever possible. This is where telematics technology is already playing a particularly important role.
The rise of 'green telematics'
In recent years, telematics has been adopted enthusiastically. This has partly been spurred by the tougher economic climate which firms have faced, but also because it's now widely recognised that the technology could be crucial to a greener future. So-called 'green telematics' has been key to the rapid growth of the last few years, with the global vehicle telematics sector forecast to expand to $13.5bn (£11bn) by next year.
Of course, enhanced efficiency isn't just in the interests of business from an environmental perspective. With profit margins squeezed amid continued global economic uncertainty - and with the impending impact of Brexit to consider - the need to cut fuel costs is paramount. Some firms may be hoping for a reprieve from environmental regulations upon Britain's departure from the European Union, but they shouldn't bank on it.
Monitoring and managing a fleet of vehicles is challenging at the best of times. But telematics systems now provide unprecedented amounts of data, enabling firms to streamline and simplify their fleet management processes. This also ensures that these businesses are able to make their fleets more efficient and sustainable.
A Sustainable future
While telematics shouldn't be seen as an environmental miracle cure, it is proving highly effective at cutting carbon emissions as part of broader strategies. As part of these strategies, firms are also looking to adopt greener vehicles and train drivers to use them in the most efficient manner - for example, avoiding harsh acceleration and braking. Data from Telematics can assist here as well, by providing new insights into driver conduct on the roads.
There are numerous specialist telematics services which help to enhance fuel efficiency and boost sustainability as a result. These include real-time data reporting which allows for a rapid response, engine diagnostics (allowing for early detection of mechanical problems which could potentially hamper performance and efficiency) and location tracking as well as improved delivery management and communication.
The importance of corporate social responsibility
Firms are becoming ever more aware of the need for an effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. This focus is increasingly visible at industry events such as Freight in the City, which takes place in London next month. Climate change is a particularly sensitive topic, and woe betide businesses which fail to green up their image. Given its effectiveness at boosting efficiency and sustainability, green telematics is rapidly becoming one of the pillars of many firms' CSR framework.
The government's introduction of Low Emissions Zones (LEZs) in some major UK cities has met with some controversy, as SMEs in particular talk of being hard hit by the increased emissions regulations. Green telematics could, however, empower these firms to take a proactive approach to cutting emissions and thereby do their own bit for the environment. It's also worth noting that this could earn them valuable goodwill as they lobby government for some regulatory leeway.
If you're looking to bolster your company's green credentials, telematics offers an effective and easy-to-implement method for reducing carbon emissions. Businesses which aren't already making use of it in this way should look into doing so as a matter of urgency.