The plant hire industry needs to step up in the battle against global warming

Date: 22/12/20

Despite the postponement of this year’s Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15), there was still a flurry of activity among the world’s leading figures on the environment as it became clear that the state of our planet has never been more urgent. In March, reports emerged with details of the link between our destruction of nature and Covid-19 – and the warnings continued.


In September, world leaders at the UN vowed to clamp down on pollution, embrace sustainable economies and eliminate the dumping of plastic waste in oceans by the middle of the century as part of “meaningful action”. The leaders’ pledge for nature was preceded by weeks of damning reports and studies about the environmental state of the Earth, including the Living Planet Report 2020, which found global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles plunged by 68% on average between 1970 and 2016. In June, scientists warned that the sixth mass extinction of the planet’s wildlife was accelerating.


Global warming is a key contributor to the accelerating demise of our planet and although 2020 has shown that our diverse, beautiful world is under threat, there is still time to save it.


Ardent is playing its role in countering the global warming threat. Like other plant providers we are investigating the gradual emergence of electric equipment and investing where it makes sense. However, electric machines are just a tiny proportion of our fleet, as they are for all other equipment providers. As electric technology continues to evolve some customers will be prepared to pay the significantly higher rental costs that will be needed for hirers to make a return on their capital. Others will be willing to suffer the inconvenience of limited capacity batteries and on-site charging. However, the majority will find the costs and restrictions overly limiting which will thwart adoption and change. Some manufacturers are already seeing electric as a niche market and are investing in other alternatives, with hydrogen being the current favourite. Strong headwinds still lie ahead that are only likely to be lessened by regulation. Over time, carbon neutral alternatives will almost certainly become mainstream, however, this will take time, maybe even years.


We haven’t got years; we need to be doing something now. Ardent’s short-term solution helps customers to reduce their carbon emissions by efficient use of their hired-in equipment. This is done using Ardent’s multi-award-winning Site Manager system which has a proven track record of delivering bottom line benefits for customers. Customers then offset their residual emissions through Ardent’s not-for-profit gold standard, carbon offsetting programme in conjunction with ClimateCare, a leading carbon developer. As a first step, Ardent has offset the emissions from its 55 x HGV fleet meaning that all customer deliveries and collections are carbon neutral in 2020. Ardent will be repeating the initiative in 2021.


Carbon offsetting is not the panacea to global warming. However, it’s a positive first step while technology catches up. And offsetting costs just a few pence extra a week. We encourage all our customers and industry peers to act responsibly and offset their residual carbon emissions.  Full details are on Ardent’s website at https://www.ardenthire.com/sustainability/carbon-offsetting/


Jeremy Fish

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