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The road to sustainability

It is no secret that the environment is under immense strain especially with the current drought in South Africa. Carbon emissions and greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere continue to pollute the air.

It is the responsibility of all citizens, government and corporate South Africa to play their role in reducing its carbon footprint and embark on a green journey. Avis Rent a Car, South Africa’s leading car rental company is focused on preserving the country’s most precious resources and has been working to do so for decades with its effective environmental sustainability programme.

Avis has a 40-year commitment to environmental sustainability and preserving the environment for future generations. It has been supporting wildlife preservation by growing partnerships with various wildlife conservation organisations in South Africa.

To continue on the journey to make a positive environmental difference the brand introduced hybrid vehicles to its fleet in 2007. Avis became the first car rental company to introduce the environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles, namely the Toyota Prius followed by the introduction of the Honda Hybrid Jazz in 2011. To expand on the introduction of the hybrid vehicles, Avis planted a tree for every Toyota Prius that was rented over a one-year period. Keeping up with the latest technologies and efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Avis introduced the BMWi3 and BMWi8 to its Avis Point 2 Point and Avis Luxury Cars fleet. The BMW i3 is an electric vehicle and BMWi8 a hybrid, and releases zero and 49% emissions, respectively.

To expand on efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, Avis in 2008/2009 became South Africa’s first car rental company to get its Carbon Neutral accreditation in line with the United Nations protocol for the offset of its carbon emissions in 2009.

Avis Rent a Car, South Africa, in partnership with Nedbank Capital supports the Joburg Landfill Gas to Energy Project. Through supporting this project, Avis has offset its scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint for it’s 2014 - 2017 financial year.

Since 2007, Avis embarked on a journey to save one of the world’s most precious resources; water. Avis has managed to save over 149 million litres of water per annum.

The car rental company invested R2.6 million into infrastructure that would help them recycle water effectively in their six main depots – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth East London and Nelspruit Downtown. Avis introduced water recycling and water harvesting systems in its vehicle cleaning processes. The state-of-the-art drive through machines they had installed washes a vehicle in approximately 45 seconds, and to minimise water wastage, the machines have auto-water shut off. The used ‘grey’ water from the car wash is then channelled and filtered until it is over 90% clean and reused to wash more cars, therefore, offering an effective recycle ration of 85%. Avis has recently installed water recycling and rainwater harvesting system in East London. In 2017, Avis harvested 658 000 litres of water and recycled 146 million litres of water.

With the current water shortages, Avis has taken further steps to saving water by introducing car washing technologies, such as waterless wash facilities that are being tested and rolled out in some of the locations.

Regarding waste management, Avis is in the process of rolling out a waste recycling initiative at their branches in Port Elizabeth, East London, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein and Kimberley. The project has collected more than 333 000 items of recyclable waste since 2013 from Isando, KwaZulu- Natal, Cape Town, Pretoria and Chloorkop.  

In 2009 Avis began to include customers in its green journey by reflecting carbon emissions on rental invoices. This expanded to Avis offering corporate customers with an account that tracked their carbon emissions on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

“At Avis, we are committed to making positive strides in our sustainable journey. The direction, momentum and energy we have gained over the years has grown and we will continue to nurture the environment so it can return the favour to us in generations to come. The steps we have taken and will continue to take will have a positive impact on the environment as a whole, from wildlife preservation, waste management, reduction of our carbon footprint and the saving of water, which all life to us all.” concludes Rainer Gottschick, Chief Executive at Avis southern Africa.

Avis' road to sustainability