12 June 2015

Winners announced for the 2015 Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel

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/

Notes to editors
About Ashden
  1. The Ashden Awards were set up in 2001 to champion practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. Since then they have rewarded and supported more than 170 winners across the UK and the developing world. www.ashden.org   
  2. The 2014 Ashden Award winners were announced on 22 May last year. Find case studies, photos and videos of the winners here: www.ashden.org/awards/2014
About Eurostar
  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  2. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph.  Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 150 million passengers between London and the Continent.  Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new e320 will carry around 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.
  3. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. LCR’s holding was transferred to the Treasury in 2014, and sold by the UK government to a consortium comprising Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure on 28th May 2015.
  4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.