Long shifts at the wheel on rutted tracks or through the mud are all in a day’s work for a WFP driver. Whether transporting staff or supplies in the field, trawling through city traffic, or crossing deserts to visit remote project sites, WFP’s drivers are crucial. Mindful of this important role, WFP is investing in a driver training programme that incorporates road safety, security, first aid and vehicle maintenance, as well as instruction on “eco-driving” to increase fuel efficiency, cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to WFP’s latest greenhouse gas footprint survey, more than 12.3 million litres of fuel was used in WFP vehicles in 2009, so the potential to make savings is substantial. It is expected that adopting more fuel efficient driving techniques and improving preventative maintenance of vehicles could result in at least a 10% saving in fuel consumption and related emissions. In a similar driver scheme implemented at WFP’s strategic partner TNT, savings up to 20% were realised by some drivers.
The driver training programme was piloted by WFP’s Dubai-based Global Vehicle Leasing Programme (GVLP), before rolling it out to country programs late in 2009. At the close of 2010 the program had trained 563 drivers (including women drivers) from 13 countries—108 of whom have completed “Train the Trainer” courses, teaching them how to replicate the training to new WFP drivers and to conduct refresher courses.
All training participants receive a Drivers Handbook to reinforce key messages from the course. It includes a “green” section, developed by the Climate Neutral team, which aims to help drivers reduce emissions at work and at home. Work-oriented advice focuses on issues such as fuel economy and the importance of proper vehicle servicing. Messages the drivers can use to green their home environment and help improve the communities they live in include tips on more sustainable use of water and electricity, and how to minimise and recycle waste.
Chief trainer, Allen Rooke says, “The drivers’ response to the environmental tips has been very positive. They can see the benefits in their own homes through paying less for things such as electricity, which in turn gives them more incentive to continue these practices at work.”
The programme steadily gained both momentum and reputation throughout 2010, with the Tanzania training course opening its doors to 43 drivers from seven UN agencies, in addition to the 26 WFP trainees. Drivers from a further 18 countries are scheduled to receive training during 2011.