ECO Stars founder member Clipper Logistics was on hand last week (21 February) to mark the fifth anniversary of the emissions scheme.

ECO Stars launched in South Yorkshire in 2009 in a bid to tackle road transport’s contribution to air-quality issues in the region.

Now in operation at 11 UK locations, as well as six regions in mainland Europe, ECO Stars has 300 members and around 20,000 vehicles signed up.

ECO Stars manager Ann Beddoes said: "What started as a simple idea to help tackle air pollution has really taken off. It's a testament to the willingness of the freight industry to reduce their impact on the environment that ECO Stars has been embraced and endorsed by so many businesses."

An operator's view

Clipper Logistics operations director Nigel Hinds said the operator is very conscious of environmental issues, although it is easier to show tangible improvements within its warehouse operation where it has an extensive recycling processes, than on the road.

"It [ECO Stars] is giving our customers real comfort. We are a five-star member, and it is something tangible that existing customers can see, but also when we are tendering for business, people can see the environmental credentials we have too," said Hinds.

Clipper, which has six DCs across Yorkshire, has introduced a number of initiatives through working with ECO Stars, boosting its rating in the process from four-stars to the top-rated five-star status.

One of the main issues the company looked to improve upon joining ECO Stars was regular renewal of its 300-plus mixed-use fleet to improve efficiency; all vehicles are currently less than five years old and changed according to number of kms travelled.

Clipper has also invested heavily in its Safed training, combining on-the-road and in-cab simulations,  training drivers how to respond in the event of situations such as a high-speed tyre blowout.

Clipper's parent company recently revealed an increase in profit and a strong pipeline of new business.