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Car/Limo Rentals

 April 18, 2002
Avis Europe Offers World's First Carbon Neutral Car Rentals

 Avis Europe has announced a major initiative with environment business Future Forests to offset the carbon dioxide emissions of its operations, and will run a programme aimed at balancing the carbon emissions of cars hired online. The company has signed up to a three-point "green plan", reducing the environmental impact of both its own operations and car rentals. Avis Europe will:

* Provide the world's first Carbon Neutral car rentals for online customers
* Roll out its successful UK Carbon Neutral initiative across European operations
* Reduce operational CO2 emissions annually from 2003

Avis Europe will run a promotional online offer for two months from 18 April to offset carbon emissions for customers. After this period customers will be encouraged to offset their car rental emissions as part of the online booking process. It will only cost on average [£1] for a customer to make their Avis car rental Carbon Neutral, based on a five day rental period and 765km travelled.

Since May 1999, Avis UK has been working with Future Forests to offset all operational CO2 emissions with the help of Future Forests' gold standard tree planting programmes. The partnership has proved successful, winning approval and sparking interest among staff, customers and business partners. In the light of this success, Avis Europe is extending carbon offset programmes to all European business operations.

Mark McCafferty, CEO at Avis Europe, said: "Having worked with Future Forests for three years, we have seen the value of tackling global warming. We are the first in the travel industry to make these commitments and hope that between our own behaviour and our customer and staff programmes that we can make an impact on global warming, and encourage others to follow suit."

Jonathan Shopley, CEO of Future Forests, said: "I commend Avis Europe for taking ownership of its greenhouse gas emissions, and inviting its staff, suppliers, and customers to do the same. Mass action on this scale can make a significant difference to the issue of global warming. Automotive manufacturers will accelerate their plans to develop low/no carbon technologies; staff motivation to improve energy efficiency will increase because people are empowered when they can take positive action; and customers have the choice of choosing a responsible supplier, and of aligning their own lifestyles with a Carbon Neutral future. In this way, small meaningful actions by many add up to serious progress towards a more sustainable transport sector."

The initiative was welcomed by both EU Commissioner for Environment, Ms Margot Wallstrom and Forestry Minister, Elliot Morley MP.

Mr. Morley, said: "The Government's approach and commitment to sustainable forest management was set out in the 1998 UK Forestry Standard. Our aim is to ensure that all of our woodlands are sustainably managed.

"The England Forestry Strategy sets out our vision for a re-expansion of England's woodlands, and trees and woodlands play a critical role in our Environment. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, and they filter pollution and noise."

The partnership between Avis Europe and Future Forests will lead to the planting of indigenous trees in sites across Europe. These new forests will re-absorb an equivalent of 32,510 tonnes of carbon dioxide over their growing lifetime.