Social enterprise, Liftshare.com, triumphed at this weeks Kyocera GreenLight awards winning the Private sector (under 50 employees) category for their national online route matching system. Presented at a ceremony at Earls Court on 12th June, the annual awards recognise individuals and organisations that have been instrumental in identifying and meeting an environmental challenge associated with their business and/or promoting public awareness, understanding and active concern for the enhancement and protection of the environment.
The innovative system, www.Liftshare.com seeks to encourage and enable the more efficient use of the car and introduces individuals travelling in the same direction at the same times and often by the same mode of transport. Liftshare calculates that a typical carsharer will save themselves approximately Â£1000 and 1 tonne of CO2 each year by sharing their daily journey! Carsharing not only brings financial and environmental gain but cuts congestion, time spent travelling, reduces parking problems considerably and provides a real answer to transport problems in rural areas.
Based in rural Norfolk, the UK's largest car share network, Liftshare.com is a successful social enterprise focused on helping people rather than financial gain. Entrepreneur and Liftshare's founder, Ali Clabburn, developed www.Liftshare.com in 1997 whilst still at university. Now he drives a small team of 11 who are making a massive impact. Currently the scheme has over 172,000 members, increasing by 300 per day, who contribute to a reduction of C02 emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes per year.
In addition to the public access, Liftshare has evolved to put carsharing firmly on the business agenda providing car-sharing schemes to more than 800 clients. The commercial service Liftshare provides to local authorities, universities, hospitals, businesses and community groups in setting up restricted community or branded car share schemes forms a vital part of many Travel Plans. Car sharing has also been introduced by many employers as an effective way of widening recruitment catchment area. Car sharing is not only helping employers to find the best staff and develop their organisations but is helping members of the public to apply for posts that they would otherwise not have been able to. The attacks on London in July 2005 also highlighted how necessary car sharing can be when other forms of transport are not available. Many organisations are now looking to implement a car share scheme to aid them in their Business Continuity Planning.
The judges were impressed with the efficiency of the scheme and the impact that one company has managed to make on public awareness of the benefits of car-sharing. Pat Pascoe, CSR Manager at Kyocera, commented: "Education is the most important aspect of environmental activity. When this company was founded, awareness of car-sharing in the UK was very low. Thanks to the efforts of Liftshare Ltd the issue has risen to the level of general public awareness, and for this we're delighted to present Liftshare.com with the GreenLight award in recognition of their success."
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