Business Studies Case Study 2010 Cars

Shortly before he began studying at Harvard Business School, Shelby Thomas Clark decided to buy a car. While looking round, he joined Zipcar which hired out its car fleet in various cities, including San Francisco where Clark lived. "I never did end up buying the car," says the 29-year old. "I saved a lot of money. I walked more, biked, lived a really healthy lifestyle. I had mobility and flexibility. I loved the concept of car-sharing."

When he then transferred to Boston to study at Harvard, he came up with the idea of RelayRides. This differs to Zipcar in that car owners offer out their vehicles for hire. They set their own hire price, give the car a name (which is useful to market it to users), try to make it available in the peak hours (weekends and evenings) and have a little GPS box fitted, which allows the car to be locked and unlocked automatically and records mileage. Following in the footsteps of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Clark knew where his future lay before he finished his studies.

RelayRides was launched in June 2010 and now has 200 cars and 3,000 members the two cities: San Francisco and Boston. Car-owners typically earn $150 a month, after deductions for the RelayRides charges and the compulsory insurance.

The company is set on growth to other cities, rural areas and possibly overseas. Clark hopes to take the company to India and China but, if he does not manage it, he hopes that someone else does. "You have an emerging middle class there," he says. "It could be a disaster for everybody if the middle class in India and China adopt an American model of car ownership."

Research from the University of California suggests that city-based car sharing cuts both the number of vehicles on the road and the level of emissions. In one study, the researchers found that the proportion of car-free households jumped 29 per cent after drivers signed up to car-sharing.

RelayRides has flourished in the downturn, but what has surprised Clark is that users like the idea of helping drivers living nearby. "The concept of borrowing from your neighbours has gone from many cities," he says. "But borrowers here feel like they are helping their neighbours. It's like using the local store."

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Abbott Laboratories Cuts Emissions and Fuel Use

Abbott, one of the world's leading health care companies, is the first to test drive our PHH GreenFleet program to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

Corporate goal

Reduce CO2 emissions to 10 percent below 2004 levels by 2010, normalized by sales.

Results to date

Abbott established a greenhouse gas baseline and incorporated more efficient vehicles into its fleet.

To encourage the switch to more environmentally friendly vehicles, Abbott offered upgrade incentives such as satellite radios and sunroofs. The company also clearly communicated with drivers about the environmental impacts of their choices. As a result, the most recent fleet selection saw about 20 percent of drivers opting for more fuel-efficient vehicles, improving fuel economy, reducing per vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing projected per vehicle operating costs.

Carrier Cuts Emissions with Telematics

Since 2006, Carrier’s fleet has been looking for opportunities to increase efficiency. Through a variety of strategies, including right-sizing vehicles, gathering data from telematics equipment and reducing vehicle weights, Carrier has reduced its fleet emissions by 30% and is saving $1 million each year in fuel costs

Carrier Case Study

Infinity Fleet goes Carbon neutral

Infinity, a leading nonstandard personal auto insurer, becomes the first vehicle fleet to go carbon neutral.

Results to date

Infinity has developed a greenhouse gas baseline and replaced its entire fleet of approximately 400 sport utility vehicles with more fuel efficient Jeep Compasses. Infinity expects this change to:

  • reduce annual fleet operating costs by approximately 10 percent,
  • improve fuel economy by 25 percent, and
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 16 percent.

Infinity purchased greenhouse gas offsets from a project in Chino, California for the remaining emissions and made its entire fleet "climate neutral" before the new vehicles hit the road in 2007. The offset project reduces methane emissions from a local dairy farm.

Novo Nordisk drivers help cut fuel use

Novo Nordisk has met the challenge of reducing fleet emissions while keeping drivers happy. By offering incentives for fuel-smart choices and training drivers to operate vehicles more efficiently, Novo Nordisk has reduced its fleet emissions by more than 20%.

Novo Nordisk Case Study

PHH Arval: Greening Fleets

The Opportunity

Climate change is widely acknowledged as the most pressing environmental challenge facing the world today. Controlling carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks is vital to addressing climate change, yet remains a largely unmet challenge. However, there are opportunities for companies to reduce their fleets' environmental impacts now, while improving the bottom line.Corporate fleets operate over 9 million cars and light trucks in the U.S. These fleets are major consumers of oil and gasoline, sources of air pollution, and contributors to climate change. Fleet vehicles are driven an average of 25,000 miles per year, twice as much as personal vehicles, leading to nearly double the fuel consumption and emissions. Nearly half of fleet vehicles are leased from fleet management companies.

Our Strategy

In July 2006, Environmental Defense announced a first-of-its-kind venture with PHH Arval, one of the world's largest fleet management companies, to improve the environmental performance of commercial fleets and significantly curb global warming emissions. PHH clients include nearly one-third of the Fortune 500 companies.

The project, PHH GreenFleet, will help neutralize the climate impacts of fleet operations by improving efficiency, purchasing carbon offsets and using other innovative pollution reducing tools. The GreenFleet program is designed to help companies cost-effectively measure, reduce, and offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Participation includes: in-depth analysis and recommendations to improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; quarterly measurement and reporting of emissions; and resources to offset remaining emissions.

Environmental Defense and PHH set the following objectives for the partnership:

  • Develop a model climate-neutral fleet management service that achieves significant, measurable greenhouse gas emissions reductions while increasing PHH market share and improving profitability for PHH and its clients
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of implementing climate-neutral fleet management strategies and improving environmental performance throughout the fleet management industry


  • PHH has offset its own fleet greenhouse gas emissions, making it the first North American fleet management company to deploy a carbon neutral fleet.
  • Over 60,000 vehicles managed by PHH Arval have utilized PHH GreenFleet's tools. Fleets that have fully implemented the program have reduced emissions on average by 14 percent and lifecycle operating costs by 4 percent.
  • Fleets in the program include:
    • Abbott
    • Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation
    • Owens Corning
    • The Co-operators

Poland Springs reduces idling to curb emissions

Poland Spring takes its commitment to the communities that supply its water seriously. To reduce its truck fleet emissions, Poland Spring uses non-food-based biofuels, and reduced top speeds by two miles per hour and idling time by 70% from 2007 to 2009.

Poland Spring Case Study

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