New car dealers contributing to sustainability

December 27, 2023

Being “green” means more than just selling more EVs.

In many respects, British Columbia is leading the country in green energy innovation and sustainability initiatives — and new car dealers are playing an increasing role.

As the face of BC’s electric vehicle rebate program, our members have an active part in transitioning consumers to zero emission vehicles, but what may not be as apparent is the number of additional ways in which we are demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

For car and truck dealerships, sustainability is more than a buzzword; across British Columbia, as individual dealerships invest in renovating or developing new operations, we are seeing an increasing ‘greening’ of our dealerships — and it is occurring across all brands.

A perfect example is the Dilawri Group and Volvo Car Canada, recently opening North America’s first Volvo Retail Sustainable Experience (VRSE) facility in Richmond. The entire facility is powered by renewable energy sources, including hydro-electric energy and on-site solar energy generation and is LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) — the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Following environmentally-friendly practices makes sense from a number of perspectives; it can improve efficiency and be a wise business decision over the long term. Leadership in this area can impact attracting and retaining a new generation of staff who are increasingly conscious about the environment. And because dealerships are in many cases, pillars of the community, the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices sends a strong message to consumers.

A July poll conducted by Forum Research found that more Canadians identified the environment as the most important issue facing the country. It stands to reason that many consumers might place an emphasis on a store’s business practices when deciding where to buy a vehicle, just as they do with other retail purchases.

On a broader level, BMO recently surveyed more than 130 dealer principals and C-suite leaders across Canada and the U.S. to explore how they were tackling a reduction in their carbon footprint. Findings revealed that 39 per cent of dealerships have plans in place to reduce their carbon footprint over the next 18 months, by taking steps to optimize service bays to support electric vehicle repairs and/or installing charging stations.

In other cases, it may involve energy saving upgrades such as solar panels, LED lighting or high-efficiency heating to their operations.

With the future of the automotive industry looking more electric every day, new car dealers are showing an unwavering commitment to a more sustainable, eco-friendly automotive industry.

Clearly there is work we can all do to shape a cleaner, more sustainable future — but new car dealers are making progress, one innovation and one dealership at a time.

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