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2021 Fleet Forum Conference: Here’s what you missed on Day 1

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

The 2021 Annual Fleet Forum Conference 2021 is a 2-day virtual event packed with sessions facilitated by fleet experts, showcasing their best practices and lessons learned. Hosted by Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS), the theme of this year’s conference is “The Road Ahead: Engage, Share & Learn”, with an emphasis on how fleets are becoming greener to better safeguard their impact on the environment. Over 300 participants joined our sessions this year.

Paul Jansen (Executive Director for Fleet Forum), with Conference Host Kevin Jones (Group Executive Chairman for Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings) and Rob McConnell (Senior Fleet Management Expert for Fleet Forum) opened the virtual conference. Over 50% of this year’s conference sessions are dedicated to topics related to the greening of fleets. This is reflective of the sector’s growing commitment to sustainability as well as supporting changes in the external environment.

Next to the plenary sessions, conference attendees could sign up for one of the four concurrent 40-minute break out sessions, hosted by Fleet Forum member organisations.

What is true? What are myths? Rob De Jong challenged our assumptions. The switch to low and zero emission fleets in Africa is challenging, but possible. The aid and development sector holding on to reasons why electric vehicle won’t work, yet the external environment is changing rapidly and our agencies are committed. Rob de Jong (UNEP) encouraged us to be ambitious roll out EVs; “hybrid vehicles are a transition technology and do not deliver on the full benefits of EVs” Those who question the source of energy should consider that “If you want to make a fair comparison between petrol and electric vehicle, we should not look at the past, but rather at the future”.

UNHCR and WFP together presented Share a Car, Share a Ride. The Future of Passenger Transport in the Humanitarian Sector. They shared with us implemented pilots in which they pooled (shared) their vehicles and drivers to provide UN staff mobility services (also known as vehicle sharing). They also discussed supporting factors required for ideal implementation like the importance of organisational enablers, i.e. inter-agency agreements, a robust governing structure, as well as technological tools such as vehicle tracking and booking platforms.

Implementing A Green Fleet: Do’s and Don’ts. ICRC is operating a small electric vehicle fleet in Nairobi, they discussed the steps taken to prepare for the piloting and roll-out of EVs. They conclude that EV implementation is feasible, and tout benefits such as lower maintenance rate and costs, and overall lower operation costs at scale. They do note for all interested in purchasing EVs to be aware of the onboard charging system, which will affect charge rates and thus daily planning.

Organisations capture more and more data and that of a better quality as well. They are all eager to learn more about their own performance and that of other organisations. Michael Bieger (CRS Global Fleet Manager), organised a Working Group that was attended by 5 other organisations. During the session Benchmarking, How Can We Learn From Each Other?, Working Group participants are keen to start benchmarking, with a focus on road safety and cost efficiency. They also recognised that data sharing is a pre-requesite for a benchmarking exercise and brainstormed how this must be done. Fleet Forum will start the first road safety benchmarking exercise just after the conference. Interested in learning more? Check out

In the session ‘Where Does Your Workshop Waste End Up?ICRC explained their ambition to manage their workshop waste. Their Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance Project Manager reminded conference participants “Cleaning up our workshop waste is not an enjoyable activity, but it is a must. 99% of a lead battery can be recycled.“ ICRC is conducting a project with the support of Fleet Forum, which includes creating a standard operating procedure per type of workshop waste (reduction, recycle options, safety transport, etc).

Conference host, Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS) shared Toyota’s vision for the environment and what steps they are taking towards carbon neutrality. Humanitarian organisations have committed to sustainability, including targets related to the use of electric vehicles. Fred Burgod, TGS’ Commercial Director outlined three key steps Toyota will be taking to meet the ambitions of the aid and development sector. Toyota plans the introduction of Hybrid Electric Vehicles by 2023 and is also embarking on enhancements to its small car line-up. In some organisations, the Land Cruiser has become a symbol of field operations, therefore many conference participants were keen to hear Toyota’s plans. During the live Q&A, TGS representatives explained that “The Land Cruiser is a unique vehicle widely used as a working tool in harsh environments. Our aim is to provide a choice as wide as possible to cope with the relevant conditions users face. This is why today we introduced wider options with small city vehicles and HEV models, to assist in selecting the most appropriate vehicle for the intended environment”.

Rounding up the day, Robert Swan, Polar Pioneer and founder of the 2041 Foundation, led the keynote address, speaking about his experiences on being the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. Robert Swan reminded participants that success does not come in the first try, you must keep trying and persevere. Sometimes you have to keep repeating your message, make a strong business case and keep disciplined. Click here to view the full keynote address.

Covered here are some of the stimulating sessions held on Day 1 of the conference. For full coverage, we invite you to the Fleet Forum Knowledge Platform where all sessions will be uploaded in the coming week.



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