12 June 2015
Belgium peer-to-peer car hire network, Tapazz, and French bicycle collective, Les Boîtes à Vélo, have beaten off strong competition from sustainable travel initiatives across the UK, France and Belgium to win the 2015 Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel.
The two winners were chosen for their innovative sustainable travel projects, and will share £30,000 in prize money to invest in their schemes and expand in other networks.
Tapazz was chosen for its success in revving up the community-led car rental network in Belgium. The Antwerp-based business is taking the sharing economy to the next level with its peer-to-peer car hire scheme. Its user-friendly website allows car owners to hire out their vehicles to those who want to use a car for occasional journeys. The initiative enables people to loan a car from a member of the local community, reducing the need for everyone to own their own car and helping cut carbon emissions.
Les Boîtes à Vélo, based in Nantes, impressed the judges with its unique business model for sustainable delivery methods. In 2012 the business decided to move away from using gas delivery vans to a more environmentally friendly alternative; a simple bicycle with a box attached to it. Rather than slowing down sales, the ‘bicycle boxes’ enable flexible and fast delivery of goods and services, while members of the collective, from couriers to caterers, support each other by acting as a cross-referral network.
Les Boîtes à Vélo has made a solid impact, taking 21 trade vehicles off the streets of Nantes, helping demonstrate the true potential of cycling in the city. And with their business growing, members of the collective are also taking their message to other towns and cities in France.
Now in their fourth year, the Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel celebrate the achievements of pioneering travel initiatives in the UK, France and Belgium, which encourage people to adopt more sustainable ways of travelling, helping improve quality of life whilst reducing congestion, pollution, and CO₂ emissions.
In addition to prize money, winners are offered a package of benefits including a platform to promote their work; a short film showcasing their sustainable travel scheme, introductions to policymakers, potential funders and investors, as well as access to the prestigious Ashden Alumni network.
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said; “Yet again we have been very impressed by the high calibre of entries. We’re delighted to crown Tapazz and Les Boîtes à Vélo as joint winners for their pioneering initiatives which pave the way for sustainable travel.
“We hope that by celebrating the most innovative sustainable travel initiatives across the markets we operate in, we encourage more people to adopt environmentally friendly modes of transport, and really put sustainable travel in the spotlight.”
The Ashden judging panel said; “Les Boîtes à Vélo is showing that there is an alternative to the white van. With huge potential for replication across Europe, Les Boîtes à Vélo offers a real solution to cutting congestion and pollution in our cities.
“Tapazz is taking the sharing economy on a new journey. Making it easy, affordable and safe to hire a car from your neighbour could help break people's addiction to car ownership for good.”
The Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel is part of Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme to reduce the business’ impact on the environment and encourage people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport. Since 2007, Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme has made substantial progress towards a ‘ten point plan’ to reduce consumption, source responsibly and recycle, and has successfully reduced CO₂ emissions per traveller journey by 15%.
For high-resolution imagery from the ceremony, a short video and more information about each winner, please visit www.ashden.org/winners/BoitesAVelo15 and www.ashden.org/winners/Tapazz15.
To discover more about Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme, visit http://www.eurostar-csr.com/en/