This week I had the opportunity to participate in a couple of low carbon transport events. The first was at an event called Green Monday run by 2Degrees. Then on Wednesday, I had the opportunity of participating in Mobility 2020 which was run by the Sustainable Development Commission. I thought it would be good to mention some of the items that were discussed. Part of both discussions focused around barries and problems to achieve reduced carbon emissions in the UK Carbon Sector. Some of the comments that arose from these discussions were as follows:
· Incentivising customers: There continues to be a lack of broad consumer awareness about environmental issues, which can also be hampered by a feeling that there is little that an individual can do to improve the situation. The environment is not sufficient of a motivator to get wide spread support – other incentives are needed, particularly financial and status.
· There is a need to provide solutions that are safe, reliable and meet the convenience requirements of customers.
· There are a range of potentially complimentary service offerings and technologies that can advance the cause of sustainability, but they are somewhat fragmented – potentially this is something that can be quite rapidly overcome.
· There are a lack of common standards across IT systems – can telematic devices invalidate warranties; is it possible to share information across systems?
· Difficult to get long term government commitments when franchise operations (eg. rail franchises) have a limited life span – where is the incentive for companies to develop long term sustainability goals when they run the risk of loosing the franchises.
· Is there a fundamental issue around reporting of grams per vehicle per kilometre – shouldn’t it incorporate the number of people actually travelling?
· Is there an aspirational goal for low income groups to own cars? If so, does this conflict with sustainability efforts?
· There will continue to be a percentage of people that are structurally dependent on cars – eg. people in rural areas.
· Do the costs of public transport or potentially bad experiences reduce people’s willingness to use more sustainable forms of transport?
· It was also highlighted that there are some transport services that may have significant structural issues with becoming more sustainable due to security reasons or energy requirements.
In other news, I got to meet with the guys from AMEE today (Against Mass Extinction Engine) – very cool business that they are working on; and hopefully GoLow will do something with them when the time is right. And now to send in a submission to Greenbang for the piece they are doing on startups!