Carbon offset strategies that could help your green image

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Two new carbon offset programs offering to improve your standing with environmentally conscious customers are about to hit the Canadian dealer market

You just need to figure out which program to run in your store to position your business at the front of this future “trillion dollar global industry.”

Carbon offsetting is a reduction in carbon emissions in one area to balance or compensate the emissions produced elsewhere – driving a car, flying in a plane, etc.

Sources of carbon offsets can include investments in renewable energy, destruction of methane gas, composting or sustainable land use.

The first program is being piloted now in Canadian dealerships and comes from F&I training company TeamOne.

Called EcoDrive, the plan gives dealers a structured system of providing carbon offsets for every vehicle sold for “about the cost of a tank of gas.”

“Dealers can tell their customers they have offset the carbon emissions of their vehicle for their first year of driving; the cost comes out of their marketing budget or may be rolled into their administration fee. There will be appropriate signage and advertising to showcase the dealership’s green initiative,” said Lindsey Brooker of TeamOne.  

“This is an opportunity for dealers to truly make a difference in the environment and gain customers respect for taking a unique stand.  It is a win/win situation for all.”

Handling the carbon offsets is Mississauga, Ont.-based LivClean Carbon Offsets. All offsets meet international standards, are ISO 14064‐2 compliant, independently verified to ISO 14064‐3 and are registered on CSA GHG CleanProjects Registry.

LivClean is recognized as a “strong performer” for carbon offsetting by both the David Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute.

The second program, set to launch in December, is Global Warranty’s Drive Canada Green program.

Dave Norwood of London, Ont.-based Global Warranty says 100 per cent of the CSA registered ISO 14064 certified quality carbon offsets would support Canadian projects “benefitting Canada’s environment directly.”

“Dealers are given exclusive access to the Drive Canada Green and Global Warranty websites for all transactions to allow them to calculate a vehicle’s carbon footprint and the number of carbon offsets the customer may require from one year up to the full term of their financing.”

EcoDrive starts as more of a goodwill program where the dealership itself buys an offset for the first year of driving – something Amanda Mungal, co-dealer principal at the Winston Auto Group, a used-car operation in New Westminster, B.C., and part of the current pilot project said would cost about $60 per vehicle.

F&I managers may have the chance to upsell customers on addition offsets.

Drive Canada Green will roll the first year of offsets into in the dealer’s administration fee. The business office will have a chance to upsell additional carbon offsets to the customer for, as an example, the term of the lease.

“This is going to make them money,” Norwood said. “Dealers are about profit and were offering them a way to attract younger customers and green their image. It’s versatile.”

Both programs come with associated dealer marketing materials, signs, brochures, and vehicle stickers.

For more information on Global Warranty’s Drive Canada Green, call at 1-800-265-1519 or 519-672-9356. For more information on TeamOne’s EcoDrive, call Lindsey Brooker at 905-510-1520 or check out www.ecodriveprogram.ca