Woolwich taxes staff who choose company cars that emit more CO2

Employees of Woolwich Bank who are eligible for a company car are given details about the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for each car they can choose. Those who opt for a car with a higher than average CO2 emission level are charged a monthly supplement.

The Company Car Emissions Supplement was introduced in April1999. Woolwich worked with its fleet supplier to add CO2 emissions to the information employees are given when they decide which car to order. “We don’t want to limit people’s individual choice,” a Woolwich spokesperson told edie. “We simply wanted to find a practical way to encourage people to choose smaller cars.”

Thus far, the Emissions Supplement has proven a resounding success – most employees are avoiding the higher emissions cars and opting for company cars that have average or below average CO2 emissions for their ‘band’. “If we were raising a lot of money we would be worried,” says Woolwich’s spokesperson.

Thus far only a handful of employees have chosen cars for which they must pay a £10 or £20 emissions supplement. The money raised is added to the amount Woolwich donates to the Woodland Trust. Woolwich admits that it hasn’t tried to measure how many employees are choosing cars with lower CO2 emissions specifically in order to avoid paying the supplement, but “looking in the car park, there are a lot more 1.6l engines where there used to be 2l engines,” says the spokesperson.

UK Chancellor Gordon Brown announced changes to company car taxation in this year’s budget (see separate story in this section of edie news). From 2002, the tax on company cars will be based on CO2 emissions.

Woolwich’s Environmental Report 1999 – its second annual environmental report – has been awarded Business in the Environment’s (BiE) highest ranking for the financial services sector and is third overall in BiE’s rating of FTSE 100 companies’ environmental reports (see separate story on BiE in this section of edie news).

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