The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) presented leaders of the Japanese company with the accolade 2004 Greenest Automaker for pushing the market forwards with its environmentally friendly technologies.

“Honda is in a class of its own when it comes to producing clean cars and trucks,” research director of UCS’s clean vehicles programme, David Friedman said.

The company raced ahead to take the overall lead after building vehicles that reduced the amount of smog-forming pollutants produced by its vehicles by over half that of the industry average, as well as lowering heat trapping emissions by 18%.

Coming in at second place was Nissan, by reducing global warming emissions per vehicle more than any other automaker at around 6% per model since 2001.

In last place, earning the title Public Polluter No. 1 for the levels of greenhouse emissions emitted by their cars and trucks was General Motors (GM), which topped the least polluting vehicles list just six years ago.

“General Motors is stuck in reverse,” Mr Friedman commented. “It has spent countless dollars in advertising trying to create a green image, but as the only automaker to move backwards on both smog and carbon dioxide, its rhetoric doesn’t match reality.”

Toyota also slipped back into third place on the list due to Nissan’s pollution progress, as well as what the report called a “lackadaisical effort” on smog reduction.

A spokesman from Honda UK told edie that the company was “absolutely thrilled” with the result. Attempts to conduct business in a more environmentally sustainable way at Honda were underpinned by news about the award arriving on the same day the company was piloting an office waste minimisation scheme.

The company also runs incentives for staff to receive a free lunch in exchange for coming to work in a carbon-neutral way such as walking or cycling, and is currently investigating the possibility of installing intelligent lighting that switches off in an empty room, as well as powering offices on renewable energy.

“Nothing is off the Agenda,” environmental manager for Honda UK Faye Burton insisted. “If it is viable and will make a difference Honda will do it. We are the only manufacturer with two IMA petrol electric vehicles on the road and we are committed to a cleaner future.”

To compile the report, the UCS analysed the six biggest automakers in the US market, which together account for nine out of every ten vehicles sold in the States. Data on smog-forming pollution and heat-trapping emissions was then evaluated.

“Spurred by regulations, Honda, Nissan and Ford cut smog-forming pollution ahead of schedule and the other automakers should follow suit,” Mr Friedman concluded.

“A similar approach is now needed to address global warming. Automakers must tap into the variety of existing technologies that can cut heat-trapping emissions while saving consumers money at the gas pump.”

By Jane Kettle

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