Sustainability, consumption, hybrid cars and milk floats

Our climate change champion, Richard Hagan, managing director of Crystal Doors, considers the many benefits of investing in electric
cars and vans

In 1978, I spent the summer holidays in the seaside resort of Harlech. I remember being woken up every morning by a hand-rung bell announcing the daily milk delivery from an electric milk float. If it wasn’t for the bell, you would never have known they were there. Forty years on and I’m now experiencing the same smooth silence of electric transport myself.

Three years ago, I purchased a 100% electric Nissan Leaf 2, built right here in England. It’s capable of 130 real-world miles in one charge and has now driven over 30,000 miles. It’s a car I will keep for life, capable of doing all my short trips with almost no maintenance required since purchase.

I now have a second-hand 2017 Tesla P100D, which is simply amazing. It can go from Manchester to Glasgow or London on a single charge, and a 15-minute charge is enough for over 100 miles.

For anyone looking at new vans or cars for their business, last year was a turning point for electric and hybrid vehicles. Car manufacturers now have to meet average CO2 emissions of 95g/km across their fleet or face heavy EU fines.

In the UK, electric cars became exempt from benefit- in-kind tax, saving company car users thousands of pounds. Then the Prime Minister announced that all new cars and vans will have to be electric or hybrid to be sold in the UK from 2030.

While new car sales dropped in 2020, sales of electric vehicles continued to accelerate. At the moment, going 100% electric can still be costly and the market for electric vans is still young, but there are many hybrid models that provide the best of both worlds. Our next vans atCrystal Doors will be hybrids.

There’s something else we can learn from the milkman. Forty years ago, the milkman knew every household and delivered their product in recyclable glass bottles that were then taken away as part of the service. This is something independent KBB retailers can learn from. Close relationships with customers present opportunities for a lifetime of aftercare to extend the life of their kitchen and replace it when the time is right.

Sustainability isn’t just about what people buy, it’s about consumption – buying quality products that are longer-lasting and can be upgraded, repaired and taken away for recycling at end of life.

At Crystal Doors, we’re researching and developing new products and services for the circular economy of tomorrow and working towards B Corp certification this year. By 2022, we’ll be a carbon-neutral company across all scopes and boundaries.

Small to medium-sized businesses can be leaders in sustainable environmental practice, offering consumers a choice of real action and better value for money. You can start by pledging to be carbon neutral and engaging with your suppliers and customers.

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