Moorlands are a source of fascination not only for biologists and conservationists, but also for climate experts, given their ability to store huge amounts of carbon. Volkswagen Financial Services helps to protect these valuable climate stabilizers by offering attractive leasing deals for environmentally and cost-conscious companies.
A GREEN INVESTMENT – The Theikenmeer moorland is one of the oldest nature reserves in Germany. Volkswagen is helping to revitalize this unique environment.
Visitors to the Theikenmeer nature reserve in Lower Saxony may, with a bit of luck, have the chance to observe seldomly-seen hunters going about their work: marsh harriers sailing over the moors in search of prey, or short-eared owls scanning the dusk for small mammals from just a few meters above the ground. Both types of birds are rare in Germany. They live in marshes and wetlands, a type of habitat that is slowly disappearing there. In the 1980s, the Theikenmeer moorlands were also in danger of drying out until conservation groups began to renature them. In doing so, they not only help to protect endangered species but, given the ability of moors to absorb and store carbon dioxide, also make an important contribution towards protecting the environment. Volkswagen Leasing GmbH – a subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG – helps to finance this project with a new fleet concept that also includes active support for projects aiming to reduce CO2 emissions.
SUSTAINABILITY AND COST MINIMIZING
“FleetCompetence eCO2” is a sales and marketing program offered by Volkswagen Leasing which allows fleet operators and managers to protect the environment while reducing costs at the same time. The FleetCompetence eCO2 solution consists of three components developed by the company together with cooperation partner NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union). First of all, Volkswagen Leasing ensures that only the most efficient models from each Volkswagen series are selected for its fleets. Since 2009, the CO2 emission limit for these models has been 145 grams per kilometer, a figure that is set to fall to 120 grams by 2012. “In the segments that are relevant for the fleet business, our specifications are currently primarily met by diesel vehicles with BlueMotion technology and by natural gas-powered EcoFuel models,” explains Dr. Frank Woesthoff, Head of Fleet Management at Volkswagen Leasing.
For drivers to be able to use the cars’ fuel-saving potential to full effect, the package also includes special offers on fuel efficiency training. When driving styles are appropriately adapted, fuel consumption can fall by up to 20 percent. Using the online analysis tool called fleetCARS, fleet managers can compare the mileage and fuel consumption of their cars and drivers, thereby pinpointing the need for fuel efficiency training.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS
The third component of the program consists of the environmental projects on which Volkswagen works together with partner NABU: “FleetCompetence eCO2 ensures that exceptionally fuel-efficient vehicle models arrive on the market more quickly,” explains traffic expert Dietmar Oeliger, who is overseeing the project for NABU, “and Volkswagen also provides us with financial support to help us preserve natural carbon reservoirs.” A prime example of this is the 240-hectare Theikenmeer project which is co-financed by Volkswagen. NABU currently owns 45 hectares of moorland and is in the process of renaturing it. The moors dried out over decades, having been harvested for peat and drained in part for use as farmland. Without renaturing, the moors would dry up completely over the next century, releasing 430,000 tons of CO2 that had previously been stored in the ground. This is roughly equivalent to the emissions that would be caused by driving three billion kilometers with cars emitting 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Volkswagen Leasing contributes a fixed amount per vehicle in its eCO2 leasing fleet every month to the protection of the Theikenmeer moorlands – for instance €6.50 for a Passat BlueMotion or €4.50 for a Golf BlueMotion1.
When it comes to promoting fuel efficiency, company fleets are an excellent place to start. This is because Volkswagen already sells 40 percent of new cars to business customers – in Germany, more than half are used in fleets. As well as this, company cars generally have very high mileage: “If we persuade fleet owners to switch to ‘green’ cars, it will have a far greater impact than targeting individual private customers,” says fleet expert Woesthoff.